Friday, January 22, 2016

Time for Track on the Mascoutin Valley


  1. Paint the Track.
  2. Spike the Track.
  3. After Spiking 3 feet of track, run rolling stock back and forth on the track for two hours and imagine trains running on your railroad.
  4. Over analyze the size of the spikes.
  5. Trim the spikes.
  6. Spike more track.

Paint the track

I needed to paint the rails before I spiked them down.  I had this big idea of hand painting the rails.  So the first thing I tried was painting Model Master Rail Tie Brown on shiny, new Micro Engineering Code 70 Rail.  It didn't stick.  Next I tried good ol' craft store paint!  Burnt Sienna.  That worked OK but after a half an hour I only had 4 rails that rate I'd have my railroad done by 2047.  So I needed to switch to another paint...a spray paint.  So I chose this, Krylon Camouflage Brown Ultra Flat.  You can see the rail against the red Krylon Logo.  I also painted 16 rails in about 20 seconds.  One last thing about the rail.  I do intend on touching it up with Pan Pastels and other weathering techniques.
I really like this color.  Looks like real rail in the north woods.

Spiking down the Rail

Easy, right?  Kind of.  First the tools.  Two Code 70 Triangle gauges, one NMRA standards gauge and a good pair of needle nose pliers.  I took the rail stood it up on the ties, put my two triangle gauges on top of the rails in the area I wanted to work.  Next I grabbed a spike (Micro Engineering Medium Spikes) and put over half of the spike in the pliers before I pushed it into the railroad tie.  I made sure to spike straight up and down.  Its important to "choke down" on the spikes and go straight up and down if you don't, you will bend the spikes and start swearing! And I only spiked in every 6 ties or so.  I got the first 3 feet of rail done and this is what it looked like.

Spike heads are a little bigger than expected.  Not too bad though.  I like the contrast of rail to tie color!

Trimming the Spike Heads

Since I thought my spike heads were a bit big, I took to crowd sourcing (model rail radio facebook page) to get some advice on what to do with my over sized spikes.  Matt Newman (a facebook buddy - check out his blog!) and a couple other model rail radio chums chimed and mentioned to give them a trim.  So I took a side cutters and started trimming the spike heads.  This wasn't a precise process.  Put the spike head in the side cutters and snip.  The heads go flying if you don't shoot them into something so put your hand behind the cutter head to prevent them from flying everywhere. So WATCH OUT!  Here's my technique.  Its not the most exciting thing to do so I put on a podcast, A Modelers Life is a good podcast to listen to while doing this side project.  Just be sure not to stick your finger in the side cutter!
The Rail closest to the camera has the trimmed spikes.  Nice to have rolling stock on the rails!

Next time I'll be showing you how I create a turnout (switch) using Fast Tracks tools.

I want to thank everyone for reading! If you're on Facebook be sure to check out the Mascoutin Valley Railroad Page.  I put pictures on there and have discussions with anyone who posts!

Post any you comments or questions you have!

Till next time keep 'er in Notch 8!

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