Boxomise: Painting the Track

The track on Boxomise is new, nickel silver and rather shiny.

This week I painted it to make it dull, rusty and dirty.

Some modellers hate this job. I don’t mind it. I put on some music and do small sections of track at a time.

Plus, I cheated. I only painted the forward facing side of each rail.This halved the amount of work. The rear will never be seen so it can stay shiny šŸ™‚

Regular readers will know I am not a big fan of enamel paint but I do use it to paint rails. It seems to stick to the metal better than acrylics and it’s not easily washed off when adding diluted PVA to stick down the ballast.

On First I used a red-brown rust colour. Here I’ve opted for a rather muddy brown because I want the rails to blend into the scenery, Dark Earth (Matt 29) by Humbrol.

Where I had connected the wiring and joined the track there were some gaps in the sleepers. I filled these in.

I covered the holes for the wiring with small pieces of paper so the ballast won’t fall through.

Then I diluted some acrylic Burnt Umber paint.

I painted this onto the sleepers. When it dried this created a nice weathered wood effect. It’s not totally even, you can see I applied more paint on the right than the left.

I am hoping this will look quite good when it’s ballasted.

On reflection this was quite a lot of work. While I like ‘pottering about’ doing this type of thing I think it would have been quicker and easier to spray the track with one of the track dirt products, then dry brush the sleepers with grey paint.

I might try that next time!


  1. That does look realistic Steve. If we look at real sleepers, especially on open track, they do all weather slightly differently. With a small layout the track is more prominent so that extra work in painting the sleepers realistically pays dividends. Like your view point on rusty rails that if you can’t see it don’t paint it. At least you don’t have to paint the underside of the sleepers! Woody.


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