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Paladin
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Talking in chat last week, one of the topics discussed was Weathering Flex Track.

This is something I am about to try, I have about 300 feet of PECO Flex Track in On30, which I purchased before I knew better  The ties appear oversized and far to thick for my liking, the plastic is to dark in colour and the rail is Code 100. A couple of months back I was thinking of selling it and going with ME Flex Code 70. But, and there is always a but, the exchange rate for the AUST$ to the US$ is not in my favour

During chat several members offered suggestion or said they had used such and such a method.

Suggestions are most welcome, better still get out a small section of Flex and join me in trying out ideas, the more the better.

Post pictures and a description of what you did showing all results even if they stuff ups. That is all part of the learning curve.

So here we go, a small section of track to experiment with. This is PECO Code 100 in On30.  straight from the box.




Herb Kephart
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Don

Looking at the sample, I see what you are up against. IMHO, the most glaring thing is that the ties are too short- and, naturally, that's going to be near impossible to "fix" easily. I would not worry about the ties being too thick, as the ballast, or dirt, will bury them. Giving the whole works a spray of grungy brown paint will go a long way in hiding the rail height.

But the length, ah yes the length-------


Herbie:old dude:

Trebor
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I just spray them dark brown then dry brush them with a light grey and fill them with ballast or dirt. Go look at Pine Creek especially near the turntable.

Last edited on Tue Oct 21st, 2008 07:29 pm by Trebor

Paladin
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Herb :-

You are right, the length of the ties is a problem.  Strange, I have looked at this track many many times and it never occurred to me that they are to short.  Hopefully the ballast will help to disguise this shortcoming. (Pun).
As you have stated there is not much can be done about it. So I will concentrate on the other issues and pretend they cut the ties from short trees.

Bob :-

Your method appears to work very well, sounds simple and quick to apply. I note that the ties are all the same length, whose flex are you using ?
You have also used a variety of ground covers which tends to build the whole scene to the extent that one looks at the big picture rather than focusing on any one thing.
I will be happy if I can get it to look that good.

Don

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Thanks, it is just cheepo Atlas flex track.

Paladin
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Stage 2

I decided to give a method given to me by Woodie a go.

Firstly I painted the rails with Rust thinned 50/50
Then painted the ties with a mixture of 1 part Rail Brown - 1 part Harbor Mist - with 3 parts thinners.  Did not want to fill the detail in the ties.
Went over the rails with full strength Rail brown, not being fussy about getting a smooth layer of paint.
Now using Harbor Mist diluted 1 part to 3 parts thinners. This was spotted onto the ties in a random pattern, just touching the brush to them and allowing the colour to wick across them as it pleased.
Then went over the railheads with a folded tissue dampened with thinners to clean things up, this also removed excess paint from the spikes.

I used Floquil paints.  This may sound time consuming but it was really quick and easy to do. I spent more time deciding which colours to use than actually doing

Sorry Woodie this may not be as you told me, but it looks like it may work.


Paladin
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This is stage 3

This I thought was a little gem from Woodie.

Simply spray with Dullcote , allow to dry then randomly apply Iso-Prophynol with a brush allowing it to wick where it wants. this gives it the aged silvery grey look.

Unfortunately I can not get the aged effect to show up very well in the picture.


Dave D
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Looks good Don.

Next time try using a sponge brush dampened with some household oil.

Lightly drag that across the tops of the rail before you paint. ( Careful not to get it anywhere else cause it will keep the paint from adhering....that's the point.)

When you are done and the paint is dry you can just wipe the paint off the rails top easy as pie.

loggeron30
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Don,

This looks very good!  I wanted to a part of chat last Sunday, but as fate would have it, a close friend and musician buddy of mine had a fatel heart attack and dies Sunday morning.  Sad to see as he was so young!

Anyhow, like you I have a boat load of flex (MI code 83) and at one point I was going to use it on this project but I think I'm going to hand lay again.  I'm still very interested in what you are continuing to do with this!!!!!

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Don,

Maybe one thing to keep in mind is, the way flex track slides in the "spikes" once you start using it on the layout.  I have previously pre-weathered a batch of track before laying in, thinking it would make the job easier.  Good in theory if I had a layout of all straight sections.  Once the track is flexed, the rail slides in the spikes, and you can end up with small spots of masked out clean rail, meaning you have to go back and retouch the whole lot anyway! 

 For the latest project, we layed everything, airbrushed the sides of the rails in an aged brown rusty sort of colour, not too concerned about if paint got on the ties at this stage.  Then went back along the line and ran a greyish drybrush along the ties.  Came up quite well, and happened pretty quick (as I airbrushed, John followed me with the drybrush...did the 30' of layout in about 10 minutes!).  A lot of that effect has been lost now anyway once the ballast has been added in, with that mostly buried backwoods look.  Apart from the code 100 rails, it actually ends up being difficult to see much of the peco ties underneath.

Dan Pickard

Paladin
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Thanks gentlemen.

Dave :-   Have added that to the recipe.

Dan :-  A very good point that you make regarding the rails shifting within the spikes.

From the suggestions put forward I wonder if I am making more out of this than I should.  It appears there are many simpler methods being used, but I enjoy experimenting :Brilliant:

Don


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Stage #4

I have now added the Ballast,

I used fine Silica Sand which is the sand pavers use for gap filling outdoor paving.  it forms a stiff crust when damped, but I added a little white glue to water and sprayed it on with a little pump  pack. It set quite well after 12 hours.

To the naked eye it looks OK, but it does appear rather coarse when photographed up close.  Not sure if I like the colour, so I shall do ground cover around it to see if that helps with the overall look.


Paladin
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Stage #5

Base ground cover has been added, used a little dirt and some brown WS stuff. This was sprinkled onto a bed of white glue, then some dirty brown water that I had used to clean acrylic paint brushes, placed  here and there.

Two pictures herewith.   Up close and an overhead shot taken from about 2 feet away.




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Don,

as far as colour goes with the ballast, I've usually been more concerned about the texture.  Colouring can be done with acrylic washes at a later stage if neccessary.  That painted styrene almost looks a bit cobblestone...

Dan Pickard

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danpickard wrote: Don,

That painted styrene almost looks a bit cobblestone...

Dan Pickard


Precisely what I thought! That's a useful thing to know...

Track looks great by the way:bow:

Paladin
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Dan :-

I agree completely with your comments about texture being more important than colour.  The fine sand I used is not fine enough. if I choose to use this silica sand in the future I would need to come up with a method of crushing it before using.

Starting to sound like more work, it would be easier to source a finer substitute. To that end has anyone used Tile Grout ?. Maybe sifted dirt is a option.

I am open to all suggestions

Don

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Don,

I've used crusher fines for ballast and then sift that through a flour sifter.  You can get both color and texture.

Also, by fatr the best ballast I've ever seen or used is from Arizona Rock Company

http://www.rrscenery.com/index.html

Chhers,

Ken

Dave D
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I used tile grout to recolor the ground cover my HOn3 display dio if you remember that Don.

I used it like you would Bragdon powders.


Before grout





After grout



I have seen where others have used straight grout in smaller scales but learned it can be tricky.

It acts like flour so if you drop a drip onto it ....you get a mini moon crater.

I found if you get it down and shape it the way you want, you can then mist it from a distance with a fine spray of WW fluid until it's surface is moist. You can then drizzel diluted white glue on it without deforming it.

Don't beat yourself up over the texture I think it looks just fine for On30....I would just concentrate on the color.

BTW, I didn't do anything to color those ties on the diorama...the grout did all the weathering for me.

Carry on my good man!!! :Salute:

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Don,

I've certainly use the grout before, especially for a real backwoods look where there essentially wasnt ballast, just track sunken into the mud.  There is a good range of colours in the grout, and it is reasonably good to work with like a weathering chalk.  I have previously done the initial mudding in of the track (found it better to build up in several layer, fine mist of wet water to make each layer go off, and it can avoid the flour craters like Dave describes), and then go back with some alternate shades of grout for contrast which can be dusted on.  A final misting of the wet water should set off the last dusting of grout.  The quicker alternative to building up the first mud/dirt layers is start with what ever "ballast rock" stuff you have around, and then fill over with the grout technique once you are close to the ballast height you are after. I suppose it depends on the theme you are modelling still, as the grout/dirt is probably more typical of a logging scenario.  A mining operation would be more likely to use a rougher crushed rock ballast since they would have plenty on hand due to the nature of their operation. 

Dan

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Dan makes an excellent point Don.

Most of the old logging lines didn't even bother with rock ballast...they just used dirt and if near the end of the line they may not use anything at all!

Paladin
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Stage #6

I have darkened the colour of the ballast, This was done using a thin wash of acrylic grey. Have added some ground cover, this seems to drag the eye away from the tracks.

The grass and tussocks were done using a static grass unit ( First try for me )
Used 2 different colours and 2 different lengths. It took awhile to get the hang of it.




What did I learn from this little experiment.

#1  Its really not that hard
#2 Make sure you like the texture of the ballast
# Colour is something that can vary again be sure it suits you
#3The ground cover sets it up as a whole picture and will hide some of the things you are not really happy about
#4 Should apply the KISS principle, I went to a lot of trouble Getting the ties to show detail.  This gets buried to a large extent never to be seen again
#5 The Dullcote and Alchol works great to give the aged look to the ties
#6 I think Peco track can be made to look OK, Ties are still short but not as noticably once details are added


This test was about 6 square inches---- Only got another 400 square feet to go.

Please tell me what you think of the end result. I am a big boy and I can take it:boohoo

Don




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Don,

All looks satisfactory to me mate.  As you pointed out, might not look perfect as such a small piece of real estate, but when the other 400' is finished it should complete the picture, especially once the other distractions of shrubs, trees, terrain, structures etc enter the scene.  The acrylic wash sometimes need to be done a few times to build up its depth.  Its almost like the first wash puts a skin on the sand for additional coats to bind too.

Good test piece,

Dan Pickard

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Looks great from here Don!

Most importantly, you learned 6 important lessons....or was that 7? :Hmm:

The most important of them is #1. :bg:

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Don-

My previous comment about tie length, that is so evident when looking at the bare track is hereby canceled. Yes, they are still the same length, but when painted, ballasted, textured, etc., it all blends in and is noticed only if looked for. I say go with it- there is a lot to be said for "good enough"

The finished job looks just fine!

I'm Herb Kephart, and I approved this message:old dude:

(Might not ring any bells down under, but here in right side up land, we're sick of hearing that phrase)

Paladin
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We have a bloke down this way that says something along the same lines, very annoying.

And another legal bloke who always closes with  " And I, so, advise"

Don

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Who looked at the flextrack ????




And you even knew what this thread was about

Last edited on Sat Oct 25th, 2008 06:00 am by Paladin

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What flextrack? ;)

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Right you are Don!!

Only thing is that Forney looks way too new.

Ship that up to me so I can dirty it up for you.

I'll ahhh........ I'll have it back in no time......yeah that's it .........no time at all.    

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Paladin wrote: This is stage 3

This I thought was a little gem from Woodie.

Simply spray with Dullcote , allow to dry then randomly apply Iso-Prophynol with a brush allowing it to wick where it wants. this gives it the aged silvery grey look.

Unfortunately I can not get the aged effect to show up very well in the picture.




don, what woodie is explaining is what i have expressed more than a few times on this forum. That when you spray dullcote over something and then use a wash of alcohol and ink there is a chemical reaction between the dullcote lacquer with talc in it ( flattening agent )  and the alcohol giving a fuzzy grey look to what ever it is.

I usually use it for tar paper roofs to age the roof more to a faded look. You can spray the dullcote onto a alcohol wet surface or brusg alcohol over a dullcote surface, either way works.

 

For greater variety in your rail ties , try doing some of them floquil : grime, dust, mud, roof brown, railroad tie brown and a custom mix of multi browns.  After everything has dried drybrush the surface with antique or reefer white to hi-lite the surface.  Final painting should be to drag a brush full of thinned grimey or oily black down the center to simulate oil/grease dripping onto the surface.

Weathering rail can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Take your digital camera and find some track you like the look of and take some pics for reference. Anybody questions your track , show them the picture !!!

madmike3434

 

W C Greene
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Here's another "oldie but goodie" thread which should be followed closely. Almost every day I hear someone ask-"how do I weather my track?". Don shows how it is done in great detail and anybody can do this. Now, let's see some weathered rail...I will post a photo of mine.

Woodie

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I totally agree with Woodie it is a question that keeps being asked so it is good to bring this thread back.

I have used several ways to weather my track.

On my N Scale SFRSD  layout I have mostly used Micro Engineering Rail Weathering solution with very good results. It gives a nice grey black colour that I wanted.

This is a turnout on my Lost Creek RR


Around the turnouts I use flat black, rust and flat gull grey to make them look like they are well used and have been worked on by track gangs.

On my Lost Creek RR I have hand painted all of the rail with Tamiya Red/Brown, and Tamiya Tuscan Oxide Red and just blended them in all along the rail as I go.

For my Ties I painted them all by hand using a variety of colors. Tamiya Flat Gull Grey, Grey, Earth and mat light brown. I did them all at random intervals and thinned with alcohol so that the colors flowed and did not block out the detail cast into the ties.

The final coat was a diluted wash of India ink in alcohol.

Did I just say final well on some of the ties I went back with some furniture stain and just touched up some of the ties to make them look different and as if they have been replaced some time.

I also painted all of the tie plates rust before the wash of black.

Hope this helps some.
Rod.

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I am liking the ideas I am seeing here.  First, I spray the rails from the side with any red oxcide primer I have on hand, then spray the ties from the top and lightly on the sides with Model Master's Light Earth #FS 30140 spray.  After that I make up several acrylic washes from the yellows to brown to grays (Barnwood is a good one).  Each tie is hand painted (not too time consuming since I build shelf and mini layouts), and when dry with the tie colors alternated, it gives a good appearance.  I finish off with sifted decomposed granite and try to bury a lot of the track, but leave some exposed as well.  I am getting ready to trash the layout in the photos, so I thought I would share before it is gone.







Not sure if these photos will show or not.  One more:



 

on30rick
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No luck on the last photo. I have some learnin to do.

Rick

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on30rick wrote:  I am getting ready to trash the layout in the photos, so I thought I would share before it is gone.







 

Trash it???

:doh:

Now there is some trash I would certainly love to 'recycle'!

on30rick
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Hi Shawn

That's what I'm up to. I'm going to start a new mini or shelf layout, and I will need to recycle some of those turnouts and repurpose some of the structures as well. My budget does not allow for any new train purchases this year. :sad:


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