I stole away to the train room this afternoon (not really, just sounds more dramatic that way). I started just spending some time weathering and distressing ties with my Xacto #11. I had heard of doing this before, but usually in bigger scales. A recent post by Hunter Hughson (Weather Ties – Test Shots) provided some good motivation to try it myself.
Basically I just took my #11 to ties in different ways to add cracks, gouges, etc. Then I painted them with a paint marker (it’s what I had on hand, but Hunter has another blog post on using acrylics that I want to try in the future). Here are some examples:
I did this for quite a while building up my supply.
Eventually I had enough to glue some down, my original plan was to hand lay just the bits leading up to the trestle and use the flex that came with the trestle kit. However, it occurred to me that my pieces of rail are 18″ and this whole module is only 18 inches and that it would be a lot easier to make sure the track is properly lined up across all three sections so my plan now is to run the rail all the way across.
I used un-weathered ties to work out spacing:
Then I used some masking tape to hold them in formation:
With them still taped I carefully removed the un-weathered ties to glue down:
I used some wood glue because it’s what I had on hand, it’s a little slow drying but makes a pretty good bond in the long run:
With the ties still on the masking tape I put them down properly spaced and lined up:
The glue ended up being a bit thicker than I had intended but ballast will end up covering it up anyway. Since the wood glue is such a slow dry I ended up leaving the tape on while the glue dries. Next time I’ll do the other side and then start spiking on either end. Once I get the supports and scenic structure in for the trestle I’ll spike down ties to the trestle as well. It’ll be a squeeze but if I can make it work the operational benefits of having no joints will pay off in the long run. If that doesn’t work I’ll just have to cut the rails to drop in the trestle.