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When considering to weather your track, it is important to first consider what era/time frame you are attempting to model/represent. For the steam era, i.e. prior to about 1958, main line rails tended to take on a drab green appearance, due to all the oil lubricated freight car journal bearings (prior to sealed cartridge  roller bearings) which used a green colored Car Oil.

The current "modern" era has no more oil discharges from rolling stock, plus cast iron brake shoes are no longer used. Thus, the coating on the rails is a lighter, dry looking, "weathering" as shown in your photos.

@NJCJOE posted:

Good shots to work from. I think a lot of modelers go too heavy with a rust color, especially on main lines. Dirtier (Rail Brown, Grimy Black) seem to bring more realistic results. Looking forward to your ideas and progress.

I just ordered these permanent markers from Amazon (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CV23G2L).  I'm interested in the first 7 colors only.  I'm actually thinking about pulling out the tips and transferring the liquid to lab vials.  Hopefully there will be enough liquid present that I can use a micro pipette to mix the colors of interest to create my base color and top color.  I may also try using a colorless thinner for the top color.

I've also developed ideas on creating the streak effects using big haired small paint brushes with most of the hairs pulled out but I'm sure that will require several iterations of testing and refinement.

I plan to use different shades for the inner parts of the rails and outer parts of the rails per the photos.

In previous threads on this forum, several people were using paint mixtures of acrylics to paint the rails.  I found the final look (in my opinion) to be somewhat exaggerated/unrealistic and you could see the build-up on the rails.  That was one of the reasons I chose permanent markers.  The other reason was I wanted to let some of the metallic surface to "shine" through.

Anthony

@A. Wells posted:

Those Just for Men Goatee brushes might be good for that streak effect as well.

Will you REALLY be spending THAT much time & effort on your track? Our layout was fairly large, and I thus sprayed all the track with a Rustolum olive green paint (wiping off the rail tops with a rag moistened with lacquer thinner), doing 20 to 30 feet of track at a time (double track main line). Even at that it took a couple of weeks to spray paint everything (yard tracks, engine terminal and passing siding/yard lead). I modeled in the late steam era (late 1940s thru mid 1950s) so I wanted that "greenish" color on the rails.

It will only be an exploratory exercise in this initial phase.  Albeit I do plan to make continuous refinements until I satisfied with the final result.  I already have a stack of Bachmann EZ Track and Atlas used 40in straight track here just for this purpose.  Then all the notes will go into the appropriate binder.

To fully answer the question...in the long run, yes, I do plan to spend that much time on the track.  (And, I'll be doing it before I put it in place.)  Why bother creating a layout that I'm not going to be satisfied with.

Anthony

@Paul Kallus posted:

FWIW: I tried the Woodland Scenics Track marker pens, the results were less than satisfying. From what I've seen others do, a spray gun gives awesome results (referencing Rich Battista's Black Diamond videos).

Interesting you should bring those up, Paul.  I was going to buy all three colors earlier in the week until I read comments and saw the final results.  I think if the colors weren't super saturated, they'd give better results.  I do have a small nozzled, hand held spray gun but my skills with such devices leave much to be desired, so I hesitate to even try to use it on rails.

Anthony

Growing up beside of a railroad track in the sixties and a seventies:  Hopping trains and walking the tracks to the nearest small town in WV in the Charleston area I remember the rails as rusty on the sides. I’m trying to go with the fifties to promote Steam, Electric, and Diesel. So therefore, should I be looking at the green thing.  By the way, I could walk the rails without falling off for about a mile. The you’re a big boy now was being able to jump from one side to the other without falling off.

When I weathered my track, I did it before  mounting and ballasting. I used primarily flex 1/48 track and removed the rails from the flex track and painted the tie strips grey and used Rustoleum brown, black and some grey on the rails. I stained the grey ties with some watered down india ink. I did the same with turnouts, but could not remove the rails, of course. I used N scale rail as the center rail on up front visible rails as it is a shelf railroad. 4294 cab forwardIMG_2372IMG_2373 [1)I%20H%200

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Last edited by Ron H

Jack's comment on greenish rails has me going in another direction (again). 

If green colored rails was discussed before, I either missed it or forgot it.  Since my layout is late 40s, what color of green do forum members, those who use green, use?  Either in a spray can our use in an airbrush/spay gun.

Rust-Oleum camouflage pray paint comes in deep forest green.  Krylon has a matt Spanish moss and a flat olive.  Has anyone used these?

@CAPPilot posted:

Jack's comment on greenish rails has me going in another direction (again).

If green colored rails was discussed before, I either missed it or forgot it.  Since my layout is late 40s, what color of green do forum members, those who use green, use?  Either in a spray can our use in an airbrush/spay gun.

Rust-Oleum camouflage pray paint comes in deep forest green.  Krylon has a matt Spanish moss and a flat olive.  Has anyone used these?

The Rust-Oleum color that I used some 10 years ago (Charcoal Green?) is no longer made. I understand that some folks are now using  a "Camo Green", but I don't recall the exact name, for weathering rail on a 1940s thru late 1950s era layout.

One other point to consider, remember the "3 foot rule" of modeling. That is, "If it looks good from 3 feet away, why make the effort to make something look good from 6 inches away?". That policy sure worked for our layout, which was featured in OGR's DVD "Great Layout Adventures #8".

Last edited by Hot Water
@Hot Water posted:

One other point to consider, remember the "3 foot rule" of modeling. That is, "If it looks good from 3 feet away, why make the effort to make something look good from 6 inches away?". That policy sure worked for our layout, which was featured in OGR's DVD "Great Layout Adventures #8".

Are you saying I should throw away my magnifying glass

I am going to the hardware store to see what they have, and experiment with them.

Thanks!

@Ron H posted:

I don't see any green on Norm's rail. Is it just me?

Well, if you are looking for "green", as in grass green, that is NOT the color I was referring to. Back in the days of steam, the rails tended to take on sort of an "olive drab/greenish" hue from all the oil spread out from the oil lubricated journal bearings. The lubricating oil used was named "Car Oil" and one of the largest suppliers was Texaco, their product number/name HD57 Car Journal Oil, and fresh out of the 55 gallon drum, it ws noticeably greenish.

For those who are interested in the Rust-Oleum Camo Spray Paint (https://smile.amazon.com/Rust-...Ounce/dp/B009ROI59I/).  @CAPPilot - I did not see this available at our Home Depot while I was out.

The Golden Transparent High Flow Acrylic paints were also recommended to me today (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K5F6PVI/) as an alternative to the permanent markers for rails.  My understanding is they provide a good basis set for mixing desired colors but the paint is difficult to apply evenly without using an air brush.  Thinning and mixing may require the Golden Transparent Medium but FloTrol for acrylics maybe substituted since the former can be difficult to find.

Anthony

@Hot Water posted:

Well, if you are looking for "green", as in grass green, that is NOT the color I was referring to. Back in the days of steam, the rails tended to take on sort of an "olive drab/greenish" hue from all the oil spread out from the oil lubricated journal bearings. The lubricating oil used was named "Car Oil" and one of the largest suppliers was Texaco, their product number/name HD57 Car Journal Oil, and fresh out of the 55 gallon drum, it ws noticeably greenish.

OK, got it!

Thanks, Ron H

Thanks, found this thread year later but good information!  I have experimented with the track markers of rust and steel but the coverage on Gar Graves rail is pretty poor.  Then I found a thread and a book that suggests Rustoleum cammo dirt brown spray paint.  This is convenient with map tape on top of rail and just a bit too brown versus rust (in my opinion).  I am comparing to current east coast track which I ride frequently from NC to DC.

Cheers!

@Robbin posted:

Thanks, found this thread year later but good information!  I have experimented with the track markers of rust and steel but the coverage on Gar Graves rail is pretty poor.  Then I found a thread and a book that suggests Rustoleum cammo dirt brown spray paint.  This is convenient with map tape on top of rail and just a bit too brown versus rust (in my opinion).  I am comparing to current east coast track which I ride frequently from NC to DC.

Cheers!

That's why you mist it with red oxide primer and flat black. All rust effects should be done this way.

Thanks this is helpful. Since my track is already laid and ballasted on the older portion of my layout, I am pretty well locked into hand painting to weather my rails. I have used a mixture of real brown and olive green and that seems to look OK to my eye. Dull rust colored but not too green or too brown. When I get home from work I'll try to add some pics if anyone is interested in another idea or look.

These pictures are my first attempts at painting track, I would first clean the track with mineral spirits and let it get completely dry. I would spray about 20' at a time at a very low angle moving the nozzle very quickly. Then go back and do a touch up pass. I did mask off Ross switch points and DZ 1000 actuators but not the top of the rails

Soon after spraying and using a 2x4 block and an old tee shirt stretched tight on the block. I would clean the top of the rails. I ended up doing about 200' of track in 90 minutes.

I missed a few spots and am looking for a bottle of paint to match that I can use with a brush to touch

I still need to do some more ballasting



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I had never considered weathering track back when I started 35 years ago. I just went with adding ballast. I always weathered my buildings. Then rolling stock and engines. It got to the point that nothing shined other than the rails.  I had no interest in brush painting rails on a large layout. I already owned an airbrush. I used a recommended Poly Scale color and had at it. No masking. Yes you will get some overspray. You may even want to hit the sides of the center rail to knock down the shine. But with ballast. It will look like it belongs. The top of the rails easily wipe off. I later switched to Micro Marks Rail Brown.
Recently I made some track changes and used the Camo Brown outside and then laid the track. I still had some areas to finish up. Climbing on the layout wasn’t as easy as it was years ago. It was now or never. An airbrush will make quick work of it. My best advice is to have a helper. Especially if you need to be on the layout to clean the rail tops. They can wipe the rails as you go and can keep your airbrush topped off as well as pass you the cleaning stuff. The best thing about an around the wall type layout. You only need to paint what is visible from the aisle.

The biggest pain in airbrushing. Has to be dragging the hose behind you. It will snag on anything and you are always moving the compressor. They now  have a battery powered airbrush. This looks like a game changer for weathering track. I follow an HO blogger who claims it’s his new favorite tool.

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Kevin nice job. I see you already had ballast down. How much did your spray effect it ? Also can you get smaller cans in that color? How did you vent area ? I have buildings and scenery would there be a over spray problem? Thinking of doing mine. oh and any tips to pass along ?

Bill, I am a little short on time.

First the tracks you see in my pictures are my lower-level yards that will be 10" below mainlines and barely visible and then only from one side, mostly they will have stored trains so only closest track will be visible. Good practice for me.

After laying Yard and Service tracks I painted the rails masking the switches and wiping the tops. I was not concerned much about overspray at that point, no ballast No scenery or buildings, in a couple of places I used a sheet of light weight plastic (Painter's cover) as a drop cloth. I believe the paint only comes in the size I had.

Then the stone you see between tracks is a product suggested by Don Sierakowski "Don" from Home Depot it is a polymeric sand grout for outside pavers, cheap. This stuff is fantastic very easy, quick and inexpensive.

I used a large old Parsley Flake jar to shake on the sand then a spray bottle of water and a few drops of detergent, and spray, to wet the sand. Six hours later it was hard as concrete and very little loose needed to be vacuumed away.

Drop me an email if you want to talk about it by phone.

kevin

Last edited by Fast Mail
@Fast Mail posted:

These pictures are my first attempts at painting track, I would first clean the track with mineral spirits and let it get completely dry. I would spray about 20' at a time at a very low angle moving the nozzle very quickly. Then go back and do a touch up pass. I did mask off Ross switch points and DZ 1000 actuators but not the top of the rails

Soon after spraying and using a 2x4 block and an old tee shirt stretched tight on the block. I would clean the top of the rails. I ended up doing about 200' of track in 90 minutes.

I missed a few spots and am looking for a bottle of paint to match that I can use with a brush to touch

I still need to do some more ballasting



upIMG_3432IMG_3431IMG_3430

I've had good success doing touch up work from using rattle cans by spraying a small amount of paint from the rattle can directly into a small plastic, disposable cup. It takes some practice and dexterity to keep the paint from blowing back, but you'll get it after a try or two. Keep the cup tilted so the paint stays in one small area of the cup. Stir with a toothpick to make sure the paint is thoroughly mixed up. Only spray enough to work for about 10-15 minutes as the paint tends to dry up by then, although you can continue the process with more shots from the spray can.

You can then use a small brush to manually dip into the paint in the plastic cup and apply to whatever needs touching up.

My track is already ballast so that sort of puts me in the brush on thing I would guess . I was wondering if anyone has tried to paint rails with a sponge type application rather than using a brush. I do have a new yard that I just got done laying the track. That would be easy to do overspay who cares. But the rest of layout would look out of place when it came to the track work. Thanks for all your input. I will give this more thought.

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