Detailing Track

Detailing Track

Masterclass Modeling Series™ No. 2

Softcover, 125 pages

Track is foundational to a layout. What story does your track tell? What kind of story do you want it to tell?

Track tells a story, one that can speak as clearly and eloquently as the choice of era and prototype. 

This is a book about modeling track for the pure joy of it. Most modelers see their track as a means to an end: something to simply run their trains on. For many folks, sectional track and turnouts, flextrack or even basic handlaid track without any details will do just fine, as long as the trains run without derailing. Others might take things a step further and paint the sides of the rails with brown paint, and maybe even weather the ties or the ballast. Again, as long as the trains run, they really won’t care too much what the track looks like. Which is fine. There is no one-size-fits-all way to do things in model railroading. I understand that few modelers will go to the degree of detailing and modeling of track that I have. For those who do however, the results often speak for themselves in terms of realism and personal satisfaction. 

Over the years, I've studied prototype track the way an artist studies the subject of a painting. To render a subject well involves learning to see beyond the surface of things to the essential qualities; those that distinguish one object from another. One comes to understand how the relationship between individual parts contributes to the whole.

In studying track I've looked beyond the simple mechanics to learn and see the characteristics that distinguish real track from the typical model renditions.

On the prototype, three things stand out: line, color and texture.

Real track has a graceful flow that we seldom model accurately, yet this quality alone will lift model track to another level. The color of the prototype is more complex than the simple “rail brown” or “grimy black” that we employ everywhere, and the greasy, gritty texture often found on real track is seldom visible in model form.

I won't kid you; modeling track as I have involves time and expense for materials. For me it was a sound investment that resulted in model track that has a satisfying resemblance to the prototype that inspired it.

Even though you may not have an interest in handlayinig track, the techniques described here are equally useful for commercial track in any scale. 

In this book, I discuss my observations of prototype track and the methods I use to model it. What I hope to demonstrate is how, with a bit of observation, model track can look as good as the prototype that we all enjoy.

Mike Cougill

Customers have also purchased TMC 07: Track Then And Now.


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