Improving Peco Track – Part 1

Improving Peco Track – Part 1
Join me in this mini-series as I attempt to improve the look of Peco Track, with painting, ballasting and weathering!

During the Christmas break I was trialing the Lifecolor Weathered Wood acrylic paint set on the door of the Brick Hut that came free with the January edition of Railway modeller. I was quite surprised with how well it came out, and I wondered if painting the sleepers of some old Peco Track with these paints would improve the look of them?

In the set made by Lifecolor, you get 6 acrylic paints in varying shades, ranging from a milky white to a warm dark wood shade. I used all 6 in this episode, but admittedly you can probably get away with using 2 or 3.


I started off with a base layer. I mixed paint UA718 ‘Wood Cold light shade’ to a runny texture, around the same consistency as skimmed milk. I then gave the sleepers a coat then left it to dry for a few minutes. I found that since this is such a thin mix, 3 layers were necessary. I discovered that a few practice attempts were required to find the perfect mix of paint and water
Next, I painted the sleepers in a thinned down UA 717 Cold Base. I found that using less water as the colours got darker gave a better result that was more varied. For each layer I have omitted one sleeper to create a colour gradient, so you can see how I have layered the paints.
Then came paint UA716 Warm Light Shade 2. Same method applies here, I used a higher paint-water ratio. It’s at this point where I started to put different amounts on each sleeper in order to give a more varied and different effect on each one
Next up is UA715 Warm Base Colour. Same applies as before, I used a stronger mix of paint and pulled it around a bit to vary the texture.
The penultimate shade, UA714 Warm Base Colour! I found out the hard way that with UA714 and UA715, if you use too much paint it can look like a fake tan gone wrong, looking too orange and garish. I found with these two shades, less was more. I had to really work the paint in to get the result I was after! Use a dry brush to take some off if you think you’ve over cooked it, you can always put more on later.
Finally… the last coat! UA713 Dark Shade. I used no thinners with this one, just a tiny bit on the end of a damp brush. I found that if you play around with this one, you can create different levels of weathered-ness simply with more or less paint.
There we have it folks, weathered sleepers! It takes a while, but I think that once you’ve messed around with it and found your rhythm, it can make some nice improvements to your layout/diorama. Join me next time when I paint the chairs, lay the track and start weathering the rails!
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About The Author


  1. Raveninblack

    Dylan, im guessing you could go straight to step 7 and 8, as the first few layers prob dont have much effect on the final outcome. “Sleeper Grime” is my usual choice but always happy to try something else.

    • Dylan Sanderson

      Hi Raveninblack, yes I would say you are correct! Admittedly there is little evidence of the first few layers by the time you’re applying the darker shades. But the great thing about this hobby is that you can just have ago, and if you’re not happy with the result, try it again a different way until you find the way that suits you! I think next time I’ll do this I’m going to do it a slightly different method to try and bring out the lighter shades. This Hobby is just a big game of trial and error at the end of the day!

Leave a reply

Become A VIP Today!

Transfer Points