Track Detailing – Part I …

Hi all,

Just recently I have started painting the CV track in the Temple Court section.

The bare rails and plastic sleepers needed an undercoat prior to applying colour to them.  I decided to use some Killrust etch grey undercoat, as I had used the same when painting the track on Bowen Creek.  It was suitably thinned down to at least a 50:50 ratio and was applied by airbrush.

After the undercoat had dried, I decided to trial some colours in the short section leading off the staging yards.  I masked off the tieplates and played around with finding a colour to paint these and the rail.  Some time ago, I had gone to the local art supplies and purchased some acrylic paints that I thought would do the trick in painting the track.  I ended up getting some colours that I had noted people were using from various weathering sites. 

paint colours

The mix was applied very lightly using the dry-brush method where there is minimal paint on the brush.  I initially applied the Burnt Sienna straight, but it was too bright.

first trial of the rail colour - too orange


I then made a blend of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna, varying the mix until I got something that looked right.  I wanted to get a base coat of a weathered rusty look but not too rusty.

applying the paint to the rails and tieplates


The sleepers then needed a base colour, but at this point I was unsure of what to use.  In studying a lot of photos I have, it’s very hard to see sleeper colour and it doesn’t help that the ballast is covering the sleepers in most areas, but I decided just to dry brush the Burnt Umber over the sleepers.

finished result

At this stage, I’m happy with the result.  I think that once the ballast is applied and some weathering powders added, it will look OK.

I shall keep going like this in the Temple Court section, maybe slightly changing the rail colour as I go so as not to look too uniform.

After the track is painted, I’ll start on the scenery landforms.

Comments and feedback are most welcome.



Posted on May 19, 2014, in Temple Court, Trackwork and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. John

    Depending on the brand some of the acrylics will peel but I have found that if using on styrene its not a bad idea especially with some of them is to give a sanding just enough to remove the sheen, & I have had no problems using that method.

    When I am weathering goods R/S & want it to look very weathered, I use So Sonja’s Nimbus grey as the base coat, (see some results on my blog) then use soft pastel chaulks over the top.

    A response from Monte Marte to a question regarding getting some of the pastels to stick came with the advice to apply matt medium as a base & then add the pastels or powders while it was still damp, if it clags put the powders on first & then spray the matt medium over the top, water it down to go further.

    I am watching with interest what Ian is doing as I have never tried tube acrylics on track, usually look for house paint rejects at Bunnings & use that. The other aspect that can cause problems at times with PVA’s is that it will dry to a waxy look, this is especially when you use it for scenery, & do an overspray for a 2nd lot of flock on the branches.

    When buying the tube acrylics, check to cover to see if its a matte or other, some of them are brought out in different grades like Monte Marte, & one of them is definitely gloss in several of the colours, & having checked my range, they are in the silver range that are gloss.



  2. Hi Ian,

    Yes, I have experienced difficulties getting acrylic to stick to metal and styrene without peeling off over time. Recently I went to my local hardware and bought their general purpose undercoat and this seems to be providing a far more reliable base. I had also experimented with adding PVA glue to the paint as I mixed it. This works, and gives bulk to the paint, but as Col described, it gives a shiny finish – not necessarily what you want for the side of track, but great for tiles on the roof, as I discovered! Your work is inspiring – please keep blogging!


    • Hi John,

      Thanks for your comments. As I mentioned to Col, the paint ‘appears’ to have dried a matt finish, but will eventually get hit with Dullcote anyway after more weathering is applied once the ballast is down.


  3. Hi Ian

    That’s a relief that they dried to a matt finish, seems you have plenty to do with it all anyway.

    One other brand of the tube acrylics that is reasonably good is the Kaiser brand, although most brands using the common Sienna & Umbers seem ok. Look forward to the final result.

  4. Hi Ian

    Just a note of caution with the Monte Marte colours, while I find them very good in many of the colours & range, you need to watch which one of the series you use as many in the range are a gloss colour, & several of the silver series I purchased were gloss, ok for buildings if you want some shine on them but I personally would not use them for track or areas needing a dull weathered finish.

    The other aspect with the silver series is that the ones I used did not have the same depth with the paints themselves, & needed several coats, which often covered detail. For those areas I use the Sonja’s range of tube acrylic, & another one called Chroma (something) both available from Spotlight

    • Hi Col,

      Thanks for your comments. These paints seem to have dried to a matt finish, but in any case, I plan to go over the track with dusts and powders and probably then a coat of Dullcote. I will have a look for those other brands you mentioned.


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