Ok. So, before the world exploded my focus in Vernon River land was more or less on preparing for the laying of ties, ballast and track.
For a man who hasn’t even laid flex track before, you could imagine how deep of a daunting rabbit hole this could be.
It has been my full intent since Day 1 with not only this project it’s-self, but my modelling as a whole to hand lay my track. It just seems like the right thing to do and nothing looks exactly like wood, but actual wood.
Instead of just going in blind and starting to lay track on my actual bench work I figured it might be fun / a good idea to teach myself this group of skills by building a display / test track.
So that’s what I did.
I ordered a “Ultimate Track Sample Starter Pack” with Code 55 rail and 8ft ties from Proto87, snagged a 1×3 that a buddy of mine had from his old deck, got some 1/2in extruded foam left over from a different buddy’s garage build and got to work.
I’ll go over the actual test track it’s self another time. What I want to show off here are my ties.
Hunter Hughson has a great post on Weathering Ties with Acrylic paints over at his blog that I more or less followed to a tee, and man am I ever happy with how they turned out. The only thing I changed from his process was how I went about beating up the ties. Instead of a dental pick, chisel tip and #7 Exacto blades I used a dental pick and wire brush at the suggestion of Chris Mears.
I had the idea to perhaps switch it up and represent a later era with my test track; say the late 70s or early 80s, where tie plates would be more prevalent on the prototype [AKA a excuse to use more of the beautiful Proto87 tie plates that came with the sample pack]. However, I’m leaning back to sticking with the late 50s. I’d still perhaps throw a couple tie-plates down here and there on newer looking ties.
Next up will be ballasting. If I stay with the late 50s it’ll be cinders, if I go with the late 70s / early 80s it’ll be a mix of crushed rock.
I’ve seen your work on this blog. You’re a great modeller. You will be fine with building your own track. As with anything in this hobby, good results come from patience and the willingness to honestly assess one’s work and re-do anything that doesn’t measure up. Building track is the same as building anything else – measure, cut, file, check, adjust, solder. They’re all simple techniques: you’re just going to be using them in a different sequence, on different materials. But the principles remain constant: if you can file a piece of styrene to fit, you can file a piece of rail to fit.
I look forward to following your progress!
– Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)
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Thanks Trevor. I’ve had a lot of fun with it so far, hoping to have time to lay ballast this coming weekend. A new post awaits.
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