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Author Topic: wondering ways to make trackwork more appealing to the eye  (Read 1239 times)

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« on: February 22, 2011, 01:54:47 PM »

i got done with all my trackwork but ive done all there is to do   ballast and roadbed painting    etc    is there more to do with track and ballast work?

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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2011, 02:03:15 PM »

You weren't clear on what all you had painted.  One of the best things to do is paint the sides of the rails a medium brown (roof brown, tie brown, etc.)   Especially with code 100 rail, this has the effect of visually reducing the size of the rail.  You can use a small brush, or air brush, but make sure to clean the top of the rail very well so you don't lose electrical contact. 

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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 03:58:14 PM »


I'm not sure what you mean by "painting," but it is appropriate to irregularly airbrush some oil/grease droppings between the rails. There should be a pretty much continuous line, heaviest along the center and easing out towards the rails, with occasional larger spills or drips.

You can also add some delicate details like rusty spikes, fish plates and such like. Don't use the spikes you would use to actually spike rail (I'm assuming HO); use pieces cut from staples. You can either paint them a rusty color or set them on a damp cloth for a while so they actually rust. How well they show up is a function of the contrast between your ballast and the spikes. Light colored ballast shows them best, of course, but rusty spikes might disappear into brown ballast. You can paint them black for a little better visibility. Use tiny pieces from tin cans or painted brass for fish plates and rail joint plates, rusted naturally or painted. Other bits of hardware like teeny-tiny screws can also be used. Don't overdo it, however; many of these items get picked up by the railroads, railfans or kids playing along the tracks. And don't bother with this stuff at all on tracks more than 18" from your layout's edges. They'll be too small to be noticed.

You can also have occasional small piles of crossties or rail, indicating that some maintenance has occurred. You can actually make a little scene of this, with an area with fresh ballast, some ties painted to look new and new looking rails, with the discarded ties and old rail waiting for removal.
                                                                                                       -- D

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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 06:14:04 PM »

I always add some weeds here and there using very find turf and I glue it with the same technique used for gluing ballast, if it's a city scene don't forget the occasional broken pallet or boards laying along the tracks, and broken glass and litter...

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