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Paint match to Kato Unitrack

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PED
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Paint match to Kato Unitrack
Posted by PED on Wednesday, July 04, 2018 9:52 AM

I am trying to match hobby acrylic paint (do not want laytex) to Kato Unitrack (N scale if that matters). Its a light gray color but I have not found the right color/brand yet. Has anyone found a good match straight from the bottle? If not, has anyone come up with their own paint mix that works well?

Everything I have tried or mixed up is too light/dark or the gray hue is too far off track. My intent is to mix it with a goop mixture and then apply thin layer in track area then apply a bit of the Kato ballast mixture to it. This would be used in a yard area or between parallel tracks. I realize a perfect match is not likely but I want it to be very close.

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa 1970's in south central Oklahoma

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, July 04, 2018 10:12 AM

I am not grasping exactly what your goal here is but I suspect an exact match is unlikely but coming close would involve trial and error mixing artist acrylic paints.  Part of the trial and error is that the color when applied is not always the same as the color when dried.  And of course even the Kato ballast "comes close" to the UniTrack color but is not exactly a match.

What I suggest is "coming close" with a gray, applying the Kato "ballast" and then misting a spray of isopropyl alcohol and india ink over everything to tone down the bright gray of the Kato roadbed and ballst and thus unify the general tone.  This is what I do when I apply blended ballast since it is improbable that I will get exactly the same blend time after time.  What you want to avoid is a polka dot effect and the india ink/alcohol mix unfies things.

Dave Nelson

PED
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Posted by PED on Wednesday, July 04, 2018 11:54 AM

Thanks Dave. My track is flat on foam thus adjacent tracks have a big valley between them. I want to fill in that valley a bit while leaving a shallow ditch between them. I am using a thin layer of a goop mixture to do the filling in and then I plan to cover it with a very thin layer of Kato ballast to make it look more like ballast between the tracks. I want to mix in some color to the goop to make it look close to the color of the Kato track. With a thin layer of the Kato ballast, some of the underlying color of the goop will probably show thru and I wanted that underlying color to match the ballast.

I will be doing the same to some surrounding work areas and I wanted to make it all blend together. 

The best match I have so far is Apple Barrel Acryllic "Pewter Gray". I have been playing with the concentration and then letting it dry to see the final effect. However, I wanted to find out if anyone else had a better match.

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa 1970's in south central Oklahoma

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Wednesday, July 04, 2018 12:12 PM

PED
With a thin layer of the Kato ballast, some of the underlying color of the goop will probably show thru and I wanted that underlying color to match the ballast. I will be doing the same to some surrounding work areas and I wanted to make it all blend together.

Simple question - why do you want it to match and all blend together? Uniformity does not add realism - on the contrary!

I used light colored, fine sand for the ground - see here:

 Yes, this is Kato Unitrack (N scale), with some effort to get rid of its plastic looks!

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, July 05, 2018 10:03 AM

I understand, I had to do that with my HO layout. First, if the gray underneath is pretty close, it's unlikely if a little of it shows through it's really going to be noticeable. Doing something like Dave suggested would work to even out the colors. In my case, I just used cheaper 'gray mix' ballast from IIRC Woodland Scenics, and added a dusting of snow over everything. In pictures (see link) you can see a little difference in the colors of the Kato track and the added ballast, but to the naked eye it's really not that apparent. (BTW, I paint some of the ties light or dark brown, and paint the rail sides with Neo-Lube to get a flat dark gray color.)

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/m/mrr-layouts/2290019.aspx

(Sorry if link isn't 'live', doesn't always work from this PC.)

Stix
PED
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Posted by PED on Thursday, July 05, 2018 10:50 AM

I mistated my intent when I said I wanted all the same color. I do plan to use the same color but but depending on the concentration you use, it changes the depth of the color. As a result, everything will not be exactly the same. Since I don't have a perfect match, the color I currently plan to use is called a Pewter Grey which is very slightly darker than the Unitrack

I wanted the area between the tracks to be close to the ballast color because that area is typically older ballast itself. Actually, not all my Kato track is exactly the same color because I used a mix of newer and older track and it varies in color.

For ballast to spread out between the tracks, I am using Kato ballast mix (24-039) which has a mix of colors that closely matchs the Unitrack.I plan to use a thin layer over the area between the tracks. Although thin, it should give that area a rock texture while blending in any underlying goop I laid down. I will probably run that ballast slightly up the edges of the Unitrack to help kill the plastic look.

I had not considered painting the ties to give them some variance but I like that idea. However, I will need to put that on my future list of things to do. Too many other higher priority items to deal with at this point.

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa 1970's in south central Oklahoma

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, July 06, 2018 11:06 AM

Apple Barrel brand "Granite" is a pretty close craft paint. It is what I used, then I stippled a little bit of lighter gray to give it some texture.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, July 06, 2018 1:34 PM

FWIW, into the 1950's railroads generally laid down black cinders (which they had a ready supply of from their coal burning steam engines) as the base when laying track, then laid the track and stone ballast on top of that. If you look at old pictures of well maintained mainlines, you'll see black cinders on each side of the ballasted track. Often, railroads just used cinders as ballast in yard areas.

Stix

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