Monday, April 23, 2012

Track painting

[ Here's what it looked like before I got started - basic black track.]
In Dave Fray’s How to build Realistic Model Railroad Scenery (2nd ed) Mr. Fray spends a few paragraphs talking about ‘active’ areas of the layout. These are areas that are designed so that scenes can be easily changed. Nothing in these areas - buildings, trees, vehicles, figures and so on - are permanently placed. That’s what the rural area on this layout is meant to be. It’s a place that I can easily change. So, it’s going to remain flat with some rudimentary ground cover.
[Saturday was rainy, good for Debra's daffodils, and also good for inside work on the layout.]
Last fall when I was starting construction on this layout I thought I’d have all the basic scenery in place by Christmas. No such luck. Things took much longer than I thought. It’s only now that I’m getting around to scenicking the rural part. Well, better late than never!
[The mixing palette. The colour differences between the various wells isn't too clear in photos, but it's a good tool for mixing paint.]
First thing was to paint the track. I used Atlas code 100 track and a Peco code 100 curved switch in this area. It’s by no means fine-scale, super-detailed track, but it is robust and reliable. My goal was just to tone down the track’s black molding to make it a little more natural looking.
[After a bit of painting. No drastic changes, but the basic black colour is toned down.]
I mixed a thin slurry of Polyscale L & N Gray and Tamiya Flat Earth along with a generous amount of thinner on a palette. I used this as the base colour and supplemented it with thin washes of Tamiya Flat Black, Flat Brown, Neutral Gray, and Light Grey. These washes were painted on the track in a very sloppy manner until I got an uneven gray-brown tone on the ties that I was happy with. As I mentioned, the goal wasn’t complete coverage of the black, just a naturalistic toning down. Once the ground cover and ballast is installed the track colour will blend better into the scene and won’t draw as much attention to itself as the raw black would.

[The paint stuck the switches, so unfortunately the switch stands broke off as I got things unstuck. No big deal. They're easy to glue back into place now that the track is working again.]

After it dried I cleaned up the rails and made sure things ran fine again - some paint got on the rails, but it was easily removed with a Peco track eraser and some IPA. Next up, adding ground cover.

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