Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Preparations for ballast and backdrops.

With the session behind me, I started getting an itch to do something other trackwork. 

So I picked an area that I knew was pretty much ready for scenery and started prepping the tracks to paint and then ballast.  Man it's been awhile since I've done this last and had to stop and think of the process.

The first thing I did was to trim the excess cork back to the edges of the ties.  I've always trimmed it back as I'm not a fan of a wide roadbed, especially since this isn't going to be a well maintained and manicured line. 

Then I grabbed some old flex track and started cutting sections of ties to fill in the joints where they were missing.  It's amazing how much better this makes things look.

Next will come the painting of the track.  Again since this will be an older less maintained track, I didn't want to use a darker brown paint for the tracks.  I want it to have more of a look like sun faded rather than a fresh look.  So I found can of  Rust-Oleum Bronze.  It's actually not far off from Floquil Rail Brown, but it is a bit lighter.

I'm also going to use a custom blended ballast starting with a light gray.  So I don't want the track to be too dark so it stands out in the lighter ballast.  If this winds up being too light I can always tone it down with washes or powders.

Once I get the track painted and ready for ballast, I also want to continue working on the back drops.  I want to replace the screws with countersunk ones, putty over them and fill in the seams, then I can continue painting the hills. I'm also itching to try a different technique for making clouds that I've been researching.  


  1. That's super Allen,

    I agree about how much adding the missing ties adds to the layout. For awhile I was part of a club with a large layout and they had never done that so I made it my project. I've always enjoyed seeing your scenery work and look forward to more scenery posts.

    1. Thanks Brad.
      I never paid it much attention to the missing ties either until I was at a show one time and I seen a guy doing this and couldn't believe the difference it made! This was years ago and I was still learning a lot.
      It adds a lot to the scene, more than one thinks.

      Thanks again Brad, I'm looking forward getting my hands dirty again.
      Just today I got the backdrop ready to paint the background hills and trees, then I can play with the clouds again.

  2. Now we are talking. One thing I started to do on the older siding was to paint the ties a range of different colours to make it look like a really old bit of RR. Light and dark greys with a wash of diluted black to bring out the grain might be worth a try Allen.
    My clouds were done using New England cloud stencils. They come in two different types and are very effective if not overdone and too in your face. Remember clouds are flat at the bottom and the lower they are the further away they are.
    Have fun

    1. I plan to do something similar to the sidings Rod. Also I'm dying to try using finger paint powders mixed with plaster and sprinkle it on the tracks after the ballast is done to add that oily or drier look. I'll post the video I seen of this method later.

      I made some stencils for my clouds and am eagerly awaiting the chance to use them. I practiced on some cardboard already, I hope they turnout? Thanks Rod!