Articles - Track: Handlaying Series: 5. Track Details
10/29/2014

Weeds

Before ballasting, I always try to add something to the track that needs to appear as if it growing out of the track, such as tall weeds or grasses at the ends of the track where few freight cars actually travel. These are grasses sold by Woodland Scenics. A set of different kinds of grasses are available. I use a pair of tweezers and glue them in place with superglue or Aleene's Tacky Glue.
Handlaying Series: 5. Track Details
This photo shows one such set of weeds on a N-scale module I built. They will be trimmed to the right length (about one to two scale feet in height) later on.
Handlaying Series: 5. Track Details

Wheel Stops

At the end of spurs I like to install Hayes Wheel Stops by Tomar Industries. I used those on my N-scale layout and I was glad to find that Tomar makes them in S-scale also. I believe that was actually my first S-scale-specific purchase!
Handlaying Series: 5. Track Details

Joint Bars

I decided to try making some S-scale joint bars. I used a strip of scale 2.5" wide and 2" thick styrene (the smallest I had in my inventory), and applied to that 7/8" Archer rivets. These are a thin film, identical to what is used for holding decals, to which tiny drops of resin are deposited to make the rivets. I sliced one row of those rivets off, soaked them in water for a minute, and then carefully applied it to the strip of styrene. This requires quite a bit of patience. Then I let it sit and dry for a while. Next, I cut the strips to where there were 4 rivets per joint bar (main line track typically uses 6 bolts per joint bar).
Handlaying Series: 5. Track Details
These I then glued to the inside webbing of the rail, using super-glue, tweezers, and patience. I have marked them in the photo below. I realized pretty quickly that they aren't really visible, so I only did the outsides and insides of the front track, and then only the visible ones on track #2 and #3. Each were spaced the prototypical 39 scale feet apart, and staggered between rails (and centered over a tie). I also tried cutting a thin groove in the rail to simulate the rail separation, but I don't have a metal cutting blade thin enough. This was all really just an experiment to see if I want to pursue this as my track standard.
Handlaying Series: 5. Track Details

Painting Rails

Next, I used Poly Scale "Rust" color to paint the rails and the tie plates. This left them a bit too orange-y for my taste, so I followed that up with a heavy dose of Bradgon weathering powders (dark gray and black). If you look closely, you can see one of the joint bars on the right-hand rail in the photo below. In general, they are not really visible, and so not really worth the effort in S-scale. At least, that's my opinion.
Handlaying Series: 5. Track Details