Armed with new paints from Lifecolor, we weather a selection of laser-cut sleepers for greater realism.
ScaleModelScenery has a range of laser-cut wooden sleepers in OO gauge with a choice of two-, three- and four-hole patterns. The hole pattern was made by the type of chair used, and this depended on the railway operator who laid the track. After doing some research, and to clarify and help those trying to decide which ones to go for, we discovered that (LX080) four-hole sleepers are suitable for the Midland, GER and certain companies in Scotland, (LX085) three-hole sleepers are suitable for LMS, LNER and BR regions and (LX084) two-hole sleepers are suitable for the GWR. This gives a good idea of who used what, but, as ever, there will be instances where there are exceptions to the rule.
First, remove the sleepers and clean the minimal amount of fret excess used for joining the sleepers, which needed a sharp knife and a little filing. There is nothing else of note because these are beautifully crisp and well-cut.
We used the Weathered Wood and Rail Weathering sets from Lifecolor. At first glance the sets appear expensive, but they seem to keep going, making them cost-effective. The following set of photographs illustrate how we made these detailed sleepers even more realistic, but the techniques can be applied to other scales, too.
Dry-brushing is a useful technique that can be used to highlight areas by using a stiff brush that has had most of its paint removed by brushing excess onto a paper towel. The small amount of paint left behind can be worked over the surface, without covering it totally. Its main aim is to lightly cover raised areas - the application can vary in amount and you’ll need to keep refreshing the brush as the paint disappears quickly by drying and with use.
Now you’ve weathered your track, take a read of our step-by-step guide to weathering a locomotive using paint washes and powders here. Or if you’d like more general tips on weathering a locomotive, see our article here.
Over the coming months, we’ll be adding more step-by-step weathering articles to our ‘Techniques’ area of this website. Keep an eye out for these and follow the guides to further improve your model railway weathering.