Painting track

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ngresley
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Painting track

Postby ngresley » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:52 pm

Good news: I just finished brush painting the sides of the track on my branch-line terminus.

Bad news: it took ages, was fiddly and boring as hell, and... turns out I used the wrong colour so I have to do it again!

Just doing this small bit was enough. :shock: Any easier ways of doing this? I've seen suggestions for airbrushing the whole shebang (rails plus sleepers) but I'd have thought the sleepers would need a different colour (somewhat greyer). (The correct colour I now have is a rust brown).

A couple of thoughts I've had:

1. masking tape over the sleepers, then spray the rails from each side

2. no masking, spray the rails from each side, then spray another colour from the top which would catch the sleepers.

Obviously I rub paint off the top of the rails after finishing (as I did after brush painting).

Does anyone paint the chairs as well?

Ta!
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Brianetta
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Re: Painting track

Postby Brianetta » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:02 pm

I brush-painted the lot. Rails first, visible side then back side, then sleepers. The chairs got painted the same colour as rails, and I painted around them as best I could when doing the sleepers. My rails are grimy grey-brown (slightly greyer than the chocolate you see in real life, but I wanted a really filthy look) and the sleepers are burnt umber. My paints were matt acrylic (used without watering down) which stuck really well and dried good and dirty-looking.

My layout only has about six or seven metres of track (in just two metres' space), so it wasn't too much of a chore. Especially since I could prop the entire layout up like an easel.

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poliss
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Re: Painting track

Postby poliss » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:11 pm

You could use the Rusty Rails paint tool, available from Model Junction and other places. http://www.modeljunction.info/estore/pr ... s_id=11601
When painting the sleepers you could slit a plastic straw down the middle and put that over the rails, or you could use the zip part of a ziplock bag which would be more flexible.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Painting track

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:26 pm

There's no right or wrong colour for rails. They can vary from almost orange when first laid to grubby browny black in a busy terminus or yard. If you think the sleepers need painting I would paint the whole lot in the sleeper colour, then touch in the sides of the rails with whatever shade suits your location. Use matt acrylic as Brianetta suggests. It holds well enough, but comes off the running surface with a track cleaning block. If you need to remove it from the rail sides (eg. to add an extra dropper wire) use the end of a cocktail stick as a scraper. Don't forget that the chairs, older track, and bolts or clips, modern track will also become a similar colour to the rail. It does take a time, but unless you promised a layout for an exhibition, you are free to set your own deadlines. When it's all laid don't forget to add a mucky patch on the sleepers below where the loco or DMU engines stand.
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zarniwhoop
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Re: Painting track

Postby zarniwhoop » Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:24 am

What bugs me is that I do the rails (and oftentimes the sleepers, although I've been much less pleased by my results on those, and sometimes reverted to 'sleeper grime' or even brown / black over the top of the first paint), then the rails. After much experiment, Phoenix 'rusty rails' (much paler than the separate rust colours) is a good general-purpose rail colour (although dark colours are sometimes right, and rusts might be right for sidings. Then I ballast, because I don't like painting the details after ballasting, the paint gets on the ballast. And then I find that there are shiny patches on the rail sides, and covering those up usually takes at least two goes.

Chairs ? I don't use them, all my rail is flatbottom. Looking at the prototype, rust colours on the fixings might be appropriate on narrow gauge, and perhaps on lightly used standard gauge, but for anything busy I'd suggest leaving the clips holding the rails to the sleepers in their natural dark colour (unless you have concrete sleepers, dunno about those!).

ĸen

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Bufferstop
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Re: Painting track

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:01 am

Rails get rusty between manufacture and laying. They start off nearly orange and end up much darker. Take a look at the lengths dropped off prior to a relaying job. The ones they take out have usually dirtied down to the black/mucky brown colour. These will often get re-used in sidings etc. where the running surface will then go rusty due to less and slower moving traffic. What would be great is if someone could produce conductive rust coloured paint which could be used in sidings.
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b308
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Re: Painting track

Postby b308 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:26 am

Brianetta wrote:I brush-painted the lot. .


Which reminds me, I've done one board, I need to do the other!

The side colour of the rails can also vary depending on whether the rail is wet or dry as well, wet is darker!

I've sprayed the whole lot using that dark brown spray can that Railmatch (used to?) do, though this one I've just used a weak mix of dark brown Humbrol and thinners brushed on...

As said no real right or wrong.

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egroeg93
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Re: Painting track

Postby egroeg93 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:32 pm

I feel the same mate, really dont have time to brush the lot.

So what i do is airbrush the sleepers with sleeper grime, just to get rid of the black plasticy look of the sleepers. Not a lot more.

I then take use the rusty rails applicator thingy tool, and whip round the rail sides. Go careful with it! If the paint is too thick the finish is poor, too thin and too much paint comes out and goes on the sleepers! Then take a hornby track rubber and get rid of all the paint on the rail tops and at the rail ends. And we're there!!

It took me an hour to paint just a single hornby straight with a brush. But you can get atleast a dozen done in that time using those tools!!

Brianetta
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Re: Painting track

Postby Brianetta » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:39 am

egroeg93 wrote:It took me an hour to paint just a single hornby straight with a brush. But you can get atleast a dozen done in that time using those tools!!

An hour! I did my whole layout in two, both rail webs and sleepers. Photos are in my thread; perhaps I did a bad job?

noel
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Re: Painting track

Postby noel » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:36 am

+

poliss wrote:When painting the sleepers you could slit a plastic straw down the middle and put that over the rails, .........


Presumably after painting the rails.

Very Good!
I like it, I like it.

+

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bike2steam
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Re: Painting track

Postby bike2steam » Sun May 16, 2010 12:44 pm

I'm in the process of painting my rails,on the new layout, all 120 feet on the scenic boards, by hand. I've used air-brush before on previous layouts, but can get a better thicker finish by hand, and paint where I want it. As I paint by hand, I just wipe the rail tops as I go along. I use Humbrol matt brown (number 160), only new rails are rust colour.The sleepers will be blown over with the air-brush, a proprietory sleeper grime colour.

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ngresley
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Re: Painting track

Postby ngresley » Tue May 18, 2010 11:30 am

I found a technique on a US site (sorry, forgot URL) which works the way I want - quick and a reasonable result.

I just use a big brush and paint it all over, then rub off the paint from the top, which gets most of it off the top of the rails and leaves just enough on the sleepers to take the edge of the stark plastic.

I'll overspray the sleepers/ballast later using the straw trick to mask the rails, but this is enough for the time being.

BTW, any suggestions on a good sleeper colour, preferably Humbrol or Tamiya acrylics due to ready availability?
"I'd like to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, rather than screaming in terror like his passengers"

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Si_Donal
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Re: Painting track

Postby Si_Donal » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:22 pm

Hi,

Thought I'd add my tuppence worth......

Once laid, I spray the whole track (except points-very important!) with Railmatch Sleeper Grime aerosol or tamiya flat earth. Sleeper grime on running lines and flat earth on sidings.

I then rub the tops of the rails with a track rubber until they are shiny and clean again. I then "dry brush" the sleepers and chairs very lightly and randomly with a broad flat brush. I use two colours here too. I use a red oxide ( DIY Paint) on mainlines. Then I use a muddy brown humbrol colour on sidings.

Of course I brush paint the points and I do this very carefully because they are expensive. Ballasting can then take place afterwards.
Si

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sishades
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Re: Painting track

Postby sishades » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:01 am

For my layout I spent six hours a day for a week and a half painting the rails using a very thin brush and Humbrol 113 paint. I will most definitely use an air brush next time.
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David Bigcheeseplant
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Re: Painting track

Postby David Bigcheeseplant » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:54 am

I spray the sides of the rails with Phoenix rusty rails, if you have a decent airbrush you can get a spray width that will just do the area you need, I then spray down using Phoenix sleeper grime.

Also I build my track first then wire it, spray it then spread PVA on the track bed lay the track down in place, sprinkle ballast on a hoover, all very quick and easy.

Here is a photo of my Aylesbury station model, the area in the foreground is the locoshed where most of the ground surface is ash ballast the through main lines in the background have been done in the methord above.

David

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