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Have any of you used the Tru-color Rail Brown? It looks to be a dark reddish brown, almost like a PRR Tuscan on the pics I am seeing on-line. If anyone has used the TC paint, please share your opinion of it.

I am looking for something to replace the Floquil and Model Master paints and would like something similar to those rail brown colors.


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@Hot Water posted:

OK, dumb question, are you attempting to paint/weather rail? Depending on the era you are modeling, rail should generally NOT be "red".

Yes. I want to paint the rails. I had some Floquil Rail brown that was a good color. It isn't made anymore, so I am looking for alternatives. I have another brand and lots of it that I bought years ago. It is too red, almost orange, so I don't want to use it on my new layout.

My era is 1940 thru 1970 roughly. U.P. is what most of my stuff is, so it is going to be a U.P./west/mid-west  themed freelanced layout.

Ron, thanks for the pics. I didn't know Tamiya made railroad colors. The Tamiya looks like the color I am looking for.

Here is the NS main from Harrisburg to Hagerstown.  Sure looks brown.  Maybe a shade of brown/gray.

This is the NS Main west of Enola Yard near Marysville.  Red / Brown?

Pictures are in the public domain from Google Maps Street View.

I think the takeaway is there are probably dozens of earth tone colors you could use and you would not be wrong.


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Last edited by Ron045

The trick I learned from Dave C is to use two colors. Use Rail Brown for the basecoat on the rail sides and then overspray  everything with Grimy Black. He showed his technique years ago and I tried it not long after. Back then I was running lighter colored ballast and I liked the look. You could probably use a rust overspray for modern track.

Good tip on the Micro Mark paints.

Last edited by Norm Charbonneau

Big Jim,

Exactly what color is it then?  (Which seems to be the second most important question in this thread next to the one that comes with the title.)


A lot depends on the era one is attempting to model. If you are attempting to duplicate the 1930s thru 1950s "steam era", then the mainline rails would have a noticeable greenish hue, due to the color of all the oil lubricated plain bearing equipped freight cars. That oil was Texaco HD57 "JournelTex", and was noticebly green. All that greenish journel oil tended to coat the sides of the rails over time.

Now, if you are attempting to model the more modern era, the side of the rails tend to be sort of a dull gray/brown, since there is no more oil from the car journal bearings. Also, in the modern era, the brake shoes are all composition, i.e. no more cast-iron brake shoe dust that turns rusty color.

Great thread. So valuable to see a variety of original source photos, different paint colors and application approaches in one place. Actual samples of rails stained by transition era bearing lubrication oil might be lost to antiquity. But at least they are under discussion here. I appreciate especially the photos indicating how time of day and sun angle can have a profound effect on color. There is a time to stop calibrating and reach peace with the colors on the rails. Where is it? So subjective.

@Patrick1544 posted:

For rail color, I use Micro Mark Airbrush paints.  I mix Roof brown with Rail brown for a good dark rust color.  About 60/40, Roof brown to Rail brown. I'm satisfied with the results.  

Micro-Mark web site shows Rail Brown, Roof Red, RR Tie Brown, and Rust in the Microlux line.  No Roof Brown.  So which do you mix with Rail Brown?

I have this hand-laid track that was salvaged in sections from a layout that I've left outside under my patio cover for a few years that I like to photograph my trains on.  It has a pretty realistic feel to it.  Sadly, I don't have a good way of reassembling all the pieces back into a layout so it will remain as display track for me. 

Granted, not paint, but a natural weathering method to be sure! 




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@KarlDL posted:

Micro-Mark web site shows Rail Brown, Roof Red, RR Tie Brown, and Rust in the Microlux line.  No Roof Brown.  So which do you mix with Rail Brown?


  You would have to experiment with Rust and Rail Brown, since the Roof Brown is not in stock as you say.  I think a 60/40 will still give nice results.  The Roof Brown is a little on the reddish side, which is what you want.  You could also try Oxide Red .

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