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Improving Peco Track – Part 1

Improving Peco Track – Part 1
Join me in this mini-series as I attempt to improve the look of Peco Track, with painting, ballasting and weathering!

During the Christmas break I was trialing the Lifecolor Weathered Wood acrylic paint set on the door of the Brick Hut that came free with the January edition of Railway modeller. I was quite surprised with how well it came out, and I wondered if painting the sleepers of some old Peco Track with these paints would improve the look of them?

In the set made by Lifecolor, you get 6 acrylic paints in varying shades, ranging from a milky white to a warm dark wood shade. I used all 6 in this episode, but admittedly you can probably get away with using 2 or 3.

 

I started off with a base layer. I mixed paint UA718 ‘Wood Cold light shade’ to a runny texture, around the same consistency as skimmed milk. I then gave the sleepers a coat then left it to dry for a few minutes. I found that since this is such a thin mix, 3 layers were necessary. I discovered that a few practice attempts were required to find the perfect mix of paint and water
Next, I painted the sleepers in a thinned down UA 717 Cold Base. I found that using less water as the colours got darker gave a better result that was more varied. For each layer I have omitted one sleeper to create a colour gradient, so you can see how I have layered the paints.
Then came paint UA716 Warm Light Shade 2. Same method applies here, I used a higher paint-water ratio. It’s at this point where I started to put different amounts on each sleeper in order to give a more varied and different effect on each one
Next up is UA715 Warm Base Colour. Same applies as before, I used a stronger mix of paint and pulled it around a bit to vary the texture.
The penultimate shade, UA714 Warm Base Colour! I found out the hard way that with UA714 and UA715, if you use too much paint it can look like a fake tan gone wrong, looking too orange and garish. I found with these two shades, less was more. I had to really work the paint in to get the result I was after! Use a dry brush to take some off if you think you’ve over cooked it, you can always put more on later.
Finally… the last coat! UA713 Dark Shade. I used no thinners with this one, just a tiny bit on the end of a damp brush. I found that if you play around with this one, you can create different levels of weathered-ness simply with more or less paint.
There we have it folks, weathered sleepers! It takes a while, but I think that once you’ve messed around with it and found your rhythm, it can make some nice improvements to your layout/diorama. Join me next time when I paint the chairs, lay the track and start weathering the rails!
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