We are fortunate enough to be able to spend a couple of weeks as a family at a cottage near Parry Sound, ON. With that much free time ahead of me, I seized the opportunity for some major catch-up on track laying. Into the car went tie strips and switch kits from Proto 87 Stores, as well as a supply of paints and basic tools.
The first order of business was painting the tie strips. I followed the method Lance Mindheim outlined in his excellent book, How to Build a Shelf Layout. Before we left I had airbrushed the strips with Modelmaster light grey. At my outdoor cottage work table I tacked the strips to the sticky side of shelf cupboard liner and brought out a tube of raw umber oil paint and mineral spirits.
Lance's instructions are to thin the oil to the consistency of weak tea with the thinner. I washed the paint onto the strips, brushing in the long direction of the ties. To my eye the resulting color was far too light, so I applied another wash. Better, but still too light brown.
Referring to pictures I took of the trackage in Elmira, even though the tops of the ties are all different shades of brown and grey, the underlying dark creosote brown is evident on the exposed ends and sides of the ties. The question is, how do I duplicate that variety of color? I can try another coat of the raw umber, but I'm afraid that the details in the tie strips will be covered too much by the time I get a nice dark colour. And selectively painting the sides and ends will be difficult, or at the very least very time-consuming. Perhaps going dark and then dry-brushing the tops of the ties before gluing down the rail will be the way to go.
I'll have to figure I out, as I need the ties painted in order to be able to assemble the switches, which is the big goal to accomplish before going home.