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HI Folks:

IM looking for suggestions of what colors to use for painting track for what some call 3 foot scale -- as in it looks good at 3 feet distance -- I want it to look "Good" but not take hours on each section of track. This railroad is designed for operation, and i want it to look decent but im not trying to win any awards for my artistry

Any input or suggestions or links to sites or threads is really REALLY appreciated

San Luis and Rio Grande


Well-Known Member
Here's what I do and it works for me. After fastening everything down and doing extensive testing forward and backward in both directions with all of my locomotives, I make sure that the track is clean. Then I use a rattle can of Model Master Light Earth (may not be available any longer as Testor's is eliminating that line), and spray about 2'-3' at a time. I spray rail and ties from both sides, although not as thoroughly on the back (non-visible) side. Before it dries, I wipe down the top of the rails with a paper towel or a lint-free cloth like an old tee shirt. Then I do the next three feet. If needed, I use an old pink school eraser to remove any residue if there is any. Tough spots that I may have missed with the wiping can be done with a Bright Boy. A day or two later, I randomly paint some ties with various shades of brown and gray, occasionally brushing the side of the rails with a rust color. I have read that some modelers use a camouflage color but I forget the manufacturer, same principle. If you paint before laying flex track, you end up with bare spots where the tie plates are when you curve it, which is why I fasten down first. Don't ask how I know this. Of course make sure you have good ventilation and maybe wear a paint mask as well.


Well-Known Member
I did similar to Willie, but used Rustoleum Camouflage paint earth brown. The color isn't too far off of a rusted rail, but a lot less expensive if you have a lot of track to do. It was available at my local hard ward store.

Like Willie said, make sure you have ventilation and mask if you need to get too close.

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