Before I permanently install my tracks, I would like to paint the rails to make them much more realistic.  

I am using Gargraves with a mix of wood and plastic ties.  I will be masking the center rail and ties, and spraying the rails. I will wipe off the tops while the paint is still wet and then use a bright boy or fine grit sand paper after the top of the rails are dry. 

What color and brand of paint have you used?  Have any pics of the end result to share.   


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I second that recommendation, I believe that's the same stuff we used on a bunch of the club modules.  We just dusted the rail sides with it, and then cleaned the top of the rails.  As stated, if you do a quick light pass, you get a rust look and it doesn't really affect the ballast enough to be considered.

Let me caution you NOT to use an abrasive cleaner like a Bright Boy or sandpaper on Gargraves track.  The rails are steel with a tin plating on them.  The plating is not very thick.  If you sand it off, the bare steel will be prone to rust and be much harder to keep clean than the plated rails.  Use a rag with some mineral spirits instead.  The still damp paint will come off cleanly.

I used a combination of Rustoleum Red Oxide Primer and Rustoleum Camo Brown.   I agree with BOILERMAKER1, just spray over everything and wipe off the tops of the rails with Acetone or Lacquer Thinner before the paint has time to dry.  I know that I'm gonna get a bunch of "Po, Po" regarding the chemicals but I practice High Flow Ventilation, (several large fans) and I'm only using a small amount on cotton T-Shirt material wrapped around an appropriately sized piece of wood.   Have a Look.

DSCN0141

 

Chief Bob (Retired)

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Rust-Oleum Camo Green for main tracks.

Rust-Oleum Camo Brown for sidings, spurs, and yard tracks.

The "green" is more like a dusty gray earth tone, and looks great up close and from a distance.  It's your track, but I would advise against use of a rusty looking orange color.  Prototype rail is dirty more than rusty.  Shoot paint onto a section of track, wipe the top of the rail, and let it dry.  Take it inside and see how the color looks under the light you will use for your layout.  Then take it out onto dirt outside and see how it looks.

Another good advantage of both of the Rust-Oleum colors is that they make the ties look realistic too.

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Santa Fe, All the Way

I use rustoleum camo brown too on the rails and then tape the track off to spray the ties with rustoleum gray engine primer and then use a black wash on the rails and the ties to pick out detail and vary the tones. very effective.

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Rust-O-Leum or Krylon Camo brown; I spray the whole thing (switches, too, except the machines), then the next day I remove the paint from the rail tops with a fine foam sanding block. This sanding block has never caused any problems; been doing it on this layout for 30 years - I clean the track (when I do) with one, too.

Don't forget to spray the GG from the bottom to get the parts between the ties, then from the top. The "flanges" that slip into the ties on GG is the only thing I dislike about the track - that and the chrome-y tinplate finish.

Don't use "red oxide" (etc) paint; it's orange.

I use GG/Ross/Curtis track.

5344-15a

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I agree with everything one else, use Krylon or Rustoleum camouflage brown. If you want to mask the ties, use 1/2 inch cellophane tape between the rails.  Don't use red oxide primer, it's too orange. Paint everything then wipe the rail top clean with mineral spirits, I've read that it is better than acetone or lacquer thinner because it doesn't leave a film on the rail to attract dirt and  oxidation.

 

 

There's no scale but O scale

CEO Overbeider Iron and Steel Company,  Crapton division 

I'll add my two cents - drag a piece of cork roadbed or stiff foam over the rails immediately after spraying.  Wipe edge of foam/cork with paper towel.  I find I can spray about 3 feet and still easily get the paint off before it dries.  I dislike doing it after it dries.

Brendan

In my experience, I've always preferred the Rust-O-Leum product because it is removable with lacquer thinner. Thus, after spray painting the rails, wrap a soft cotton rag around a short piece of 1"X2" pine, moisten the rag with lacquer thinner, and clean the tops of the rails. No big deal.

I hope Neal Schorr (PRRMiddleDivision) responds. He has some of the best painted track I’ve seen. Looks exactly like current Norfolk Southern/ex-PRR mainline rails. 

That's not an insult, that is just a fact of life!

Brian

President, Chief Executive Officer

Penn American Railroad

"Serving the Basement"

 

Northern Central High Railers (Western Division)

 

Eat, Sleep, Run Trains, Repeat !

Color depends on the RR / ballast / region / era you are modeling. Any matte or flat spray paint will work.

Examples ERIE or PRR = Grey

Commuter lines = Brake dust red

Other roads = Tan

Steam era cinder ballast = Black

Grass sidings =Rust

So rail color depends on the ballast it is embedded in.

track color [1)

track color [2)

track color [3)

track color [4)

track color [5)

GRASS

PAINT

                        There is clean perfet world modeling and then there is real.

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I agree with Tom and TR18 and others. Mainline rails are not "rusty orange"!  Or anything that resembles rust.
Go out and see for yourself!
As you stand up on the grassy knoll and look out over the countryside, you will not see that conspicuous orange line dissecting your view! 

What about pulling the pins out of your track & switches before you paint ?  I threw a couple of pieces together - that I had painted- to test a loco & had one section of new track that was dead.  Yes , rookie that I am, had painted the pins too.  F.W.I.W.

Number 90 posted:

Rust-Oleum Camo Green for main tracks.

Rust-Oleum Camo Brown for sidings, spurs, and yard tracks.

The "green" is more like a dusty gray earth tone, and looks great up close and from a distance.  It's your track, but I would advise against use of a rusty looking orange color.  Prototype rail is dirty more than rusty.  Shoot paint onto a section of track, wipe the top of the rail, and let it dry.  Take it inside and see how the color looks under the light you will use for your layout.  Then take it out onto dirt outside and see how it looks.

Rustoleum makes Army Green and Deep Forest Green - which do you recommend? Any pictures?

Bob

I got derailed, but here's the photo, two weeks late.   The trains are on main tracks, painted Rust Oleum Camo Green.  The Buethe Spur and the end of the F. E. Judie Oil Company Spur are painted Rust Oleum Camo Brown.

IMG_2801

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Santa Fe, All the Way

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Fort Pitt Highrails used Testors  Acrylic (Floquil) Railroad tie brown.   Badger Air brush application.  Top of rail was cleaned with water and a soluble paint thinner.  Scotchbrite pads were used to clean top of rail.  

Before:  Remodel addition of two Ross three way switches. 

 

Thanks guys  for the suggestions and pics.  I picked up a can of Krylon Camo brown and a can of Krylon camo green.   I plan to test it out on several extra pieces of track to see what I like better.  I will post pictures soon.


Home of the Michigan and Great Lakes Rail Road.

See my Train Photography 3rd Coast Photography

Check out the Progress of my layout: M&GL RR

Forum member since: 8/25/04

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