To Paint or Not To Paint?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by kf4jqd, Oct 17, 2006.


Should I paint or should I not to paint the rails?

Poll closed Nov 15, 2006.
  1. Yes to paint

    0 vote(s)
  2. No not to paint

    0 vote(s)
  1. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    I was thinking about painting the rails on my N scale layout. The question is: Should I or should I not? I painted some of my HO scale layout in Wisconsin. It looked good but never finished it. Do you have pictures for me to see yours? What is your oppion?

  2. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member might want to change "yes to pain" to "Paint"... :rolleyes:
  3. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Hey Miles:
    I can't find button for the poll area. How do I fix it? :(

  4. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    umm...lemme look
  5. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    hm. I can't change it on one of my polls...PM an administrator!
  6. alexander

    alexander Member

    ahhhhh, the pain, the pain, the pain of it all
  7. alexander

    alexander Member

    seriously, i ay go for it if you want, but try it on a peice of steel track first
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Taken care of...:D :wave: :D
  9. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Painting rails can be a pain but worth it! :)
  10. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    I think it matters what you're modeling. Seems to me a bigger railroad's mainline area might not get as nasty looking, staying fairly fresh. Where-as a branchline or shortline railroad's rails might get seriously rusty.
  11. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I say go for it man, I no I am when I get my N scale track down
  12. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member


    Attached Files:

  13. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member


    I was in this quandary for some time...Having gone through 3 layouts and never painted my rails, I wasn't really sure I needed/wanted it. Then I read Shaygetz's comment about "slathering" it on (See the "Painting/Weathering" thread)...So last Saturday night I thought I'd give it a try. I started out with a small siding I'd just put in so if I didn't like/want it, I could just replace the track and leave it at that. I finished the siding...went on to the siding next to it...painted the turnout at the base of these two sidings....and got to the mainline....There's just no comparison between painted & unpainted rails. It is a pain in the...back (literally), but there's a world of difference. Go for it...!!!
  14. ejen34

    ejen34 Member

    The areas that I model are greasy, so for realism it is necessary that they be painted :thumb:
  15. John Hubbard

    John Hubbard New Member


    I had never painted rails before and always thought they looked too big and shiny. I recently got Floquil paint pens with rust, rail brown, and tie brown colors. They make it really easy to paint the rails. Just do it!
  16. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    Whenever I get that far on my layout, I will be painting the rails too. Just looks so much better
  17. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    It's probably the easiest and cheapest improvement that you can make to the appearance of your track. I used PollyScale, and applied it with a brush. Make sure that your trackwork is sound and that it's not the cause of derailments or other operating problems. Switches (turnouts) take a little more time but plain track is a breeze. Use a good quality brush at least 1/4" wide, with firm, but not stiff, bristles. As mentioned, just slather it on; don't worry about getting it on the tops of the rails or on the ties, but do make sure to work it around the moulded spike heads. After I've done a switch, or 12' or 15' of plain track, I use a dry rag over my finger tip to wipe the railtops. The paint, while dry, is not hardened, and wipes off in a couple of passes. Any excess on the ties won't be noticeable after you ballast. (My ties are brown, the same colour as I used on the rails, more-or-less). Even if you're using a rusty colour on black ties, the spike heads, tieplates, and the adjacent area of the ties all get discoloured on the prototype.

    This area was done with the brown, then I later went back and did the spike heads and tieplates in a rusty colour: wasn't really worth the effort of the extra step.


    Some of the rails here got the brown, while others were painted with an oily black. Either one is a big improvement over shiny.


  18. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member


    Thanks for fixing my mispelled word! Thanks for the advice. I will be modeling a winter scene. So almost everything is going to be white. I thought it would be nice to add a little color! What do you think? I'm going to Walmart tonight and getting some iron rustic paint. I used this on my Wisconsin layour. It looked very nice.:thumb:

  19. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Just voted "yes".
    That's my 1st layout and I wanted it to be reliable and nice looking. That's why I soldered all the railjoiners ( N scale ) and "lost" more than one month painting the tracks.
    I'll finish the paintjob next weekend and then the "fun" part can start, like gluing the styrofoam, laying the roadbed, making mountains etc..

    Track painting is what separate the toys from the real layouts :)
  20. Doug

    Doug New Member

    Here is a question; should a guy paint the rails before laying them down? Could you not spray them? I would think you could do thousands of feet of track in minutes.

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