Painted track


I’m unsettled about how this sample turned out but think it’s best to park the work for a moment until I figure out what I’d like to try next. I think I wanted the rails a bit more reddish there’s something with the ties that I’m not settled with. Perhaps a wash of colour this evening?

Coffee’s just about done and it’s really past time to get out the door and off to work.

Track Atlas HO scale code 83 flex track; base colour is Tremclad “Leather Brown” aerosol; rail and ties are dry brushed acrylics.

Coffee Kicking Horse beans I ground and made as an Americano; milk, sugar.

Categories: How I think

5 replies

  1. I’m wondering if I need to consider the season (i.e. time of year) and how rust and rot look then as opposed to a more generic impression I have in mind?

  2. Well, I often use one of the recent versions of “Light Earth” in a spray can from Model Master or whoever is making it these days, then do the ties in a taupe gray latex before ballasting with sifted back yard dirt. These latter two make it sort of self-weathering. I am not a good modeler, and I am a fairly lousy track layer, but my track generally looks great.

    That said, when I really look at track it is very seldom a ruddy brown-rust color, at least in New England. Model Master used to have a “Dark Earth” spray in their line that would have been perfect for a lot of track I see, less green than Rail Brown, though perhaps a bit dark before weathering. Alas.

    Track comes in all sorts of colors from almost flat back+dirt to rust+dirt. When you are laying track for a small layout of the British exhibition type — something I am experimenting with right now — color matters a lot. Once you get beyond anything more than two tracks wide or eight feet long, it doesn’t matter as much in my experience because the eye can only take in so much.

    I’m not quite ready to go to Camo Colors from Walmart — fortunately, the nearest Walmart is three hours away — but I am trying not to overthink this. Over-thinking in the past means I have some track color that I need to go back and correct.

    On another topic, l loved your Foamcore spline roadbed experiments yesterday. I’ll be away from home for three weeks, but I can’t wait to get back and give it a shot. Such experiments are why layouts don’t get built, but the challenge is irresistible.

    • This is such a terrific comment. Thank you.

      I look forward to hearing how you get along with foamcore if you try it. I’m hooked.

      This layout is narrow and mounted close to my eyes. I will see the track colour and in terms of the area that the track occupies, a lot of space is allocated to it. I’d like to get it right but that sense of “right” is governed more by my intent to model what I’d like to see as opposed to what I should actually see. I’d like the ties to show a very bleached out grey-ivory hue and the rails in the brown-red family. In terms of evaluating my sample, I feel I’m close to right on the rails but far from where I wanted to go on the ties.

      Thank you again


  3. Hi guys;
    Late to the party as always, but here are my thoughts on your track sample. Ties too brown, rail is pretty much spot on. Depending of course on where in the world you live. Here are some links that might help you understand the differences (even within Aus).
    Australian outback track – concrete ties:
    Australian (Victoria) lightly used rail:
    Australian (Vic Regional) heavy use rail:
    Australian (Melbourne City) heavy use rail:
    Australia (Suburban): Close up of the track:
    Australia (Melbourne City):
    Australia (Sydney City):
    US Rail (poss Az):

    Notice that there are no two images (in fact in most images with multiple track where) no two rails are the same.

    Hope this helps the conversation along.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: