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Weathering track

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Weathering track
Posted by DSteckler on Monday, May 3, 2021 3:45 PM

There is a modeler in England - Paul Owens - who developed a method for modeling gunk between the tracks in engine terminals and yards. I've spent the past few months experimenting on scrap pieces of track to replicate his techniques.  Here's how my latest test worked out. I've described the work on each step in the photo captions.

Track was initially spray painted with Krylon Cammo Brown to initially weather the track. This is HO Peco Code 83. The top track is a siding and the bottom track is another siding where engines are stored. Woodland Scenics dirt/earth was applied throughout.

 

Next step was to apply Pan Pastel black to the ties on both tracks.

 

Das modeling clay was spread between the ties. This is the 'gunk" between the rails. I used my finger moistened with water to spread the clay but that typically spread it rail to rail. Next time I'm going to use a popsicle stick that's narrower than the gauge to spread the clay.

 

Once dried overnight the clay was painted with the following acrylics mixed with talcum powder: talcum powder; black; metallic black; burnt umber; and a drop of Vallejo gunmetal blue. After the paint dried I lightly brushed on some Monroe Models grimy black powder.

 

Added a bumper stop, some figures, a little WS vegetation, a Pennsy coal hopper and a LIRR RS-3.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, May 3, 2021 5:15 PM

Thank you for good pictures that open, bigger, in a separate window.

Honestly I'm not a fan of the gunk look.  It looks like some sort of tar or plastic spill occurred.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by DSteckler on Monday, May 3, 2021 6:01 PM

Henry, this is the look I'm trying to replicate

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, May 3, 2021 6:22 PM

You present evidence of goop.  I had to look at my pictures, which mostly are packed away.   I see goop

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by DSteckler on Monday, May 3, 2021 6:46 PM

Pretty gross looking when you think about it.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, May 3, 2021 10:08 PM

BigDaddy
Honestly I'm not a fan of the gunk look. It looks like some sort of tar or plastic spill occurred.

I have to agree...the mounding of the material looks artificial.  Most of the black stuff I've seen, especially around fueling areas, is cinders mixed with fuel or oil, and it settles between and/or on the ties...it's seldom heaped.

While I haven't done more than a small test, I think that ballasting with very fine Woodland Scenics cinders, along with some unsanded black tile grout will give better results:  once the area is pre-wetted, using water with a little dish detergent added, simply spraying it with water should make it settle, then harden on its own...no glue needed.
You could then add applications of clear gloss, or perhaps gloss black or brown paint, depending if you want pools of spilled fuel or oil, or perhaps merely some mooshy-looking gunk between the ties.

Here's the original tests...(click on the photos for a larger view)

...and a few minutes ago, I added some unsanded black grout to the darkest test sample, then sprayed it with some "wet" water.  While it's not yet solidified, I think that it shows some promise...

I'll see if it can be improved over the next little while.

Wayne

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Posted by kasskaboose on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 6:15 AM

Those photos are great.  I too agree with others that too much of the black gunk makes the track look like an oil spill.  Perhaps adding some different colors to make the effort less overdone?  My wife reminds me often that less is more.   

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 6:45 AM

BigDaddy
Honestly I'm not a fan of the gunk look.  It looks like some sort of tar or plastic spill occurred.

Same here.  Maybe a small or short section, but most of it should not look like that.  Usually it's going to be a grayish brown or brownish gray color.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by DSteckler on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 7:03 AM

The last one looks good, Wayne.  I've tried that before using a mix of black aquarium sand and black art sand.  It looked okay but didn't have that greasy look I wanted.  I'll try painting it using the paint mix I put on the clay and see how that looks.

 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 8:29 AM

It's your railroad; you should do what you want to do.  Thumbs Up

Mine is not going to have all the litter and trash that is obvious in both of our pictures, graffiti,  car wrecks or graveyards. 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 9:05 AM

The thing about a lot of this stuff is it dosen't scale well in HO. Was trying to replacate a siding with overgrowth etc. I had seen in am article.  A lot of the effects just get washed away visually unless veiwed from 6" or less or about 1/2 the distance of my 12" closest veiwing standard and way closer than manys 3' rule. Looking back at the artical the pics were blown up to twice the size of normal which means in photography the effeort might be worth it but not in regular veiwing and the idea of different color ties look fine untill ballasted and then much of the effect disapeared at normal veiwsing distances.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 2:30 PM

As promised last night, I did some experimenting with the unsanded black grout, applying it to the tracks at the Lowbanks Shops, and coaling tower, and also at the roundhouse in Mount Forest...all of these areas were originally ballasted using Woodland Scenics Cinders.  The grout was applied from a paper cup, then spread using a reasonably-stiff brush.

As usual, click on the photos for a larger view, especially important if you want to see the smaller details, as that's really the topic of this thread...

Here's the applied grout at the Lowbanks coaling tower, thoroughly sprayed with "wet water"...

 

...and today, after it had dried...

The shop tracks, not surprisingly, turned out the same...

...and likewise at the Mount Forest roundhouse...

I had forgotten that I had performed this method several months ago, with similar results, so no points for innovation for me.

Disappointed, I decided on a different approach, as the dried grout did fill-in around much of the WS cinders, making it a smoother surface - better for the LPBs who need to walk on the stuff - the same reason why most real cinders used in these areas were fairly fine, and, of course, became even finer as people walk over those areas.
I dumped some black craft paint into a small plastic container, then added some water, then use a fairly stiff brush to paint the ground cover at the Lowbanks shops.  I applied it fairly liberally on the areas where there were tracks, and then used the brush to stipple the paint in areas away from the rails.

Here it is, just painted and still wet in front of the shop...

 

...and in the area around the coaling tower, also still wet...

A few minutes later, the paint in front of the shop wasn't yet dry, but it was at least not visibly wet, and looks, at least to my eyes, promising...

I'm going to paint the cinders at the Mount Forest roundhouse, too, and then maybe later or tomorrow, see what else might be done to make it better.

Wayne

 

 

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 3:41 PM

I have noticed, that as the paint dries, the grey of the grout begins to show through, suggesting that I'm thinning the paint too much.

I do think that the grout serves a useful purpose by smoothing out the rough surface of the cinder ballast, so my next painting of these areas will be done using a less-watery version of the black craft paint.

The unsanded grout comes in a myriad of colours, so it might also be useful for making gravel roads less lumpy, too, due to the oversize "gravel" that's available.

If I recall correctly, a one pound bag of grout cost only a dollar, and I've used perhaps half a paper cupful of it to do several areas.

Wayne

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 4:09 PM

I recently turned my attention to a diesel fueling area that has been scenically dormant for a while. There's no escaping the fact that in the pre-EPA era there was a LOT of fuel and engine oil spilled around the grounds. Lots of sand, too.

 P-C_U25B by Edmund, on Flickr

 Fuel-rack1 by Edmund, on Flickr

I made up a mix of Durham's putty and added some tube acrylic Mars black to it. Then splotched a little more black paint of various shades. Then I went on a quest to find an irridescent-look that would replicate spilled oil with a little water.

I found it in a nail polish, of all places. I like the effect it has, just don't over do it.

 Fuel-rack_EL by Edmund, on Flickr

 

Good Luck, Ed

 

 

 Oil_Slick by Edmund, on Flickr

Since these photos were made I've also added some spilled sand, some of it spaced to match the sand pipe outlets on locomotives. Similar to this:

 IMG_7822 by Edmund, on Flickr

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Posted by DSteckler on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 4:19 PM

Love the nail polish idea, Edmund!

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 5:58 PM

What shade of nail polish do you wear use? Big Smile

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 7:04 PM

Clear nail polish might work fairly well, due to the solvents in it.  I tried creating small puddles using the same water-based clear acrylic that I used for my water features, but it simply soaked into the terrain and disappeared. 

Maybe I'll give it a try using Glosscote.

Wayne

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, May 7, 2021 1:06 PM

I re-painted the areas shown earlier, using a not-so-watery black craft paint, and it seems to have prevented the black grout from turning grey....

...and did use some Glosscote in an attempt to create spills...

....although I'm not totally satisfied with the results...yet...

 

Wayne

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 12:43 AM

I've done a little more experimenting, and I'm a little more satisfied with this scene, but would welcome suggestions and/or criticism...

...but I'm still not satisfied with this scene...

Wayne

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Posted by kasskaboose on Friday, May 14, 2021 6:54 PM

Wayne,

What is possibly wrong with your amazing work? The amount of detail and planning is outstanding. 

The only gentle suggestion is perhaps some junk between the tracks?

You could consider getting some inspiration from here: https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/40065

 

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Posted by KitbashOn30 on Friday, May 14, 2021 8:52 PM

There might be a lower limit to how much junk is left lying around a real life work area compared to the modeling norm; this Mo Pac roundhouse image on John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library's Flicker album enlarges to something like 6000 by 4700 pixels, https://flic.kr/p/2kYx639 

These images also might be a guide to how much junk to have around a roundhouse,

Date, 1900, https://www.shorpy.com/node/22674

Date, 1923, https://www.shorpy.com/node/11371

Date, 1942, https://www.shorpy.com/node/19923

Date, 1943, https://www.shorpy.com/node/6789

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, May 15, 2021 1:21 AM

kasskaboose
What is possibly wrong with your amazing work? The amount of detail and planning is outstanding. The only gentle suggestion is perhaps some junk between the tracks?

Thank for your kind words, kasskaboose. 
I do have some junk around the car- and locomotive-shops, but not much where it would be in the way of day-to-day work...

KitbashOn30

Thanks for posting that 1942 photo, as the ground there looks just about as lumpy as does mine in front of the Mount Forest roundhouse. 

What continued to bug me about its earlier appearance was that the "water" and "spilled oil" (a combination of several applications of Testor's Glosscote and several more applications of a clear, water-based gloss) was that its surface tension was such that it crept up the sides of the rails, which just didn't look right. 
Last night, I got out the not-too-watery black craft paint again, and applied it to the sides of the rails.  Once it had dried (dead flat) the whole scene looked a lot better to me...

Wayne

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Saturday, May 15, 2021 8:37 PM

In the last ten to fifteen years before the Soo Line tore up the yard in Ashland, WI, the entire yard looked to be floating in a sea of sticky black goo.  I wouldn't even walk there because I didn't want to ruin my shoes.

 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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