Painting rails?

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santafewillie

Well-Known Member
#2
After I have my track in position and after thoroughly testing, and before any scenery/ballast is applied, I paint. My method is simple. I use a rattle can of Model Master "Light Earth" and spray 2-3 feet at a time, and immediately wipe off the top of the rail. I then proceed with the next few feet. For the most part I paint both sides of the rail and all of the ties as well. A day or two later I take several different shades of brown and gray paint and randomly paint several ties different colors. I will occasionally also swab a railside with a different color which could also be done with a paint pen. I have read that the Camouflage color works well also. Varying the color of the rail isn't really noticeable in my opinion but just painting makes a world of difference. I would think that this is more so in N scale that you model in.
That's my method, others may do it differently. I may test for 6-8 months before painting just because I have so many other projects and I am building my "point to point" layout in sections; as long as I can operate painted track doesn't matter.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
#4
I paint after it is installed. By hand. The idea is that the rail colour, whatever you choose, should bleed down onto the tie plates and nearby ballast at the rail foot. So, you won't need too steady a hand to do this. If some of the ballast gets a bit of paint on it...oh well.

The real deal (image mine):


My scale version:
 
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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#7
That is really my question I guess - before or after ballasting. The majority say it should be done prior to ballasting; however, there are also some who say after ballasting and let the rail color "bleed" with the ballast at the bottom of the rail foot. Personally, I think doing it before the ballast would make it easier, not to be confused with making it better.

So, regardless of when the painting is done, what color/s do you guys suggest or use? Willie has said what he does and that sounds great; but, as I have never done this before (with any seriousness) I think I'd prefer to keep it a little bit simplistic and use just one color to start with. On that, rail sides get rusty and there is rust colored paint; however, there is rust color and there is rust color.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#9
Crandell, thank you and that looks good to me. Is there any special preparation of the rails needed or do you paint straight on the rail sides as is?
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#10
One other thing, your "scale version" is incredible ... if someone didn't know they couldn't tell the difference. THIS is what I aspire to for my scenery.
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
#11
Once I had the track down and where I wanted it to stay, I used rattle cans of Floquil Roof Brown to spray the track. I shot from the sides and from directly down to cover all the rail and ties. I immediately cleaned off the tops of the rails with a Bright Boy, before the paint could dry. Since Floquil is no longer available you will need to find Rustoleum (or some such) Burnt Sienna/Camouflage type color to paint it with. Look at real rails to see what looks right. Also notice that for the most part the ties and rails look similar in color. After spraying, I then went over random ties with washes of acrylic gray and black to make some ties look old; or, new.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
#13
Tony, thank-you for your encouragement and kind words.

I have never treated the webbing of the rails or the foot in any way. Even when soldering, I don't clean the surfaces...but I think in this one case it's a better idea to actually attempt to remove any surface contamination. One way around that is to use an acid flux, but many would warn against that in our hobby. For painting, though, the Poly Scale "railroad tie brown" which I have used extensively and the Tamiya don't seem to mind adhering to the rails fresh out of the box, or even when lightly powered from the activities of applying scenery and ballast.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#14
Just ordered the following Tamiya Acrylic Paint:

  • Tamiya Acrylic XF-64 Red Brown 3/4 oz
  • Tamiya Acrylic XF-52 Flat Earth 3/4 oz
  • Tamiya Acrylic XF-2 Flat White 3/4 oz
 





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