Small progress on a tiny layout. It’s still progress though!

It’s been entirely too long since the last time I did anything on my layout and that was really bugging me so I decided it was time to get things moving again. All the track is built and the thing is wired. The next steps are painting and weathering the track and starting to ballast the track.

I decided I’d start with painting the track. While some of the things I’ve done on this layout are new to me I knew that I was pretty happy with the way I used to paint track in the past and wanted to pretty much follow that same course. I had always started with a primer colour of sorts, an oily-brown similar to Floquil’s Roof Brown or Humbrol’s aptly named (and my preferred choice): Track Colour. The ties and rail all got this same uniform colour. Once it had dried I would wash and drybrush the ties and rails separately to bring out their characteristics – that brown serving as an undertone to really tie everything together. Thinking further ahead, I also used the same base colour on my trucks and wheels reasoning that the things that turned the track those colours would also be on the passing trains so they should probably share some of the same colour references.

My little Humbrol tin of Track Colour had completely dried so off to Great Hobbies I went to replace it. Instead of Humbrol I purchased a jar of Tamiya Red Brown #XF-64. Same colour, same finish but acrylic so easier to clean up and a nicer on the nose too. The Tamiya paint is still an absoloute joy to work with. Man, it’s nice paint! As with every layout though this activity did cause me to reflect that I’d do things differently next time and I would make sure I painted all the ties before I put down the rails. Working paint around the ties, in and around the rails was a pain and quickly went from doing it right to just getting it done. Perhaps if I had some way to spray paint I could have tried that instead and things might have been a lot more fun. Boy, I sure was glad I only had the tiny bit of track I did to paint.

This kind of hindsight rarely comes in one instance and tonight I started working on another unenjoyable, to me, task from my layout’s punch list: filling the gaps in the PC board ties. I’ve never found a method to fill in those insulating gaps easily and in a way that minimizes the mess so once again I started with a tube of Squadron Green putty thinned with some plastic solvent cement and filled each groove carefully. Tomorrow I’ll sand the little filler bumps down and hopefully this task is “good enough” to call done.

So that’s two more parts of the layout completed and I have that great feeling of accomplishment. Even though filling in the ties is a task I’d really rather avoid and the painting was done too late during the construction process, I’m still really proud of what I did and it feels nice to look at the layout and it’s that much easier to imagine how much greater trains are going to look on it next time I operate on it.

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