Sunday, 6 March 2016

Building Railway Tracks

Having recently completed the Signal Box from Charlie Foxtrot it was pretty obvious that I'd need to sort out some railway tracks. So this is a "how to" post with some suggestions for building railway tracks for your wargames table.

I started with some pieces of track from the bargain bin of my local model shop - don't ask what the scale is as I have no idea - I just bought track that looked about right. As the very helpful lady in the shop commented, brand new track can be pricey so see if they have any 'off cuts' or second hand track. For example, a brand new set of points might cost around £12 but mine cost only £6 :o)

I began by dry-brushing the black plastic sleepers with dark brown paint. It takes away the plastic look and makes them look more wooden and weathered. This picture shows the unpainted underside and a 'painted' section, so you can see the difference.

I decided to base the track on some strips of cork tile. It's cheap(ish) and easy to cut. Remember the strength will be provided by the metal rails.

The strips had the edges trimmed to about 45 degrees to give a neater join to table.

My plan had been to simply apply glue, place the track and sprinkle on the ballast (again from the model shop). But my test piece looked awful! You could see the cork 'grinning' through the ballast. So the solution was to spray the cork sections with a mid-grey primer. Then, apply the thinned PVA, place the track and sprinkle on the ballast.

The edges (with no ballast) were then given a quick coat of cheap earth brown paint - another tester pot from the local DIY store. The brown makes a better base for the next stage.

Apply flock or static grass to compliment your table and perhaps add the odd piece of foliage or flower tuft.

Yes, here is my very own version of the Island of Sodor ... ;o)

Or maybe somewhere in the Normandy countryside?

That's almost 9 feet of track including points for about £30. Now what I need to make is the signal itself. I also want to make a blown-up section of track. Then there are the sheds, a platform, a ticket office ... !?


JOHNBOND said...

Nice job on the finished tracks Matt, this info is handy, (when I eventually get around to building terrain) some of the scenarios in Chain of Command require rail tracks as part of the terrain.

Rodger said...

Brilliant! I will have to copy this one day.

DHC Wargames said...

A couple of years back I also did railroad embankments, but steeper ones (I wanted tanks to go hull down behind them). But I always wanted lower tracks as well. This should be a good solution to keep them from being too fragile. Thanks for giving me this idea!

Phil said...

Effactive and beautiful job on these tracks!

Matt said...

Thank you kindly chaps :o)