Thursday, 4 June 2015

Painted, stained and varnished


Painting or staining the fascia on a model railway is usually something of an afterthought on most layouts. However, I've always been a big fan of getting the messy stuff over with before I get to work on laying track and adding scenery. There's less chance of a finished model building being coated in dust from sanding, or worse still getting paint splatters on it from an over eager paintbrush. So, I started by sanding the entire layout surface with 240 grit sandpaper, wiping it clean with a damp cloth and flipping the layout upside down to begin painting the underside.

I completely painted the layout's underside black.

I used 2 coats of Satin Black in a water based enamel paint for the layout's underside. Black always does a good job of eliminating anything we don't want the viewer's attention drawn to. Once dry, I turned the layout right way up and set to work staining the timber that I wanted to draw the viewer's attention to.

I completely stained and varnished the perspex and backdrop channels. Don't worry too much about splattering the plywood base, this will all be covered in scenery anyway.

Next, the timber channel I built to hold the reversible backdrop and clear perspex panel needs to be given a coat of stain and varnish to blend it in with the layout fascia. Everything beyond this point will be covered in scenery so I didn't care too much about getting any dabs of varnish on the plywood base. I used Cabbotts Stain & Varnish in one and chose an Australian Jarrah Gloss finish. This requires a bare minimum 3 coat application with 8 hours drying time between re-coats so be prepared to do this step over a few days. They say to use this in a well ventilated area. Duh, what about the dust? So ignoring the precautionary warning, I locked myself in the garage for a couple of hours.... and came out seeing fairies.

After applying the first 2 coats of the stain & varnish, I next applied a coat of black around the train 'mouse hole'.

With the first 2 coats of Jarrah Gloss now on, I next painted around the train 'mouse hole' on the end panel. Remember those panels we cut for the book-end sections earlier? One will be glued in place at the non-escape end later, while the mouse hole will soon be concealed by the other panel once it is attached by a hinge to provide an escape door to my removable staging yard. The bath towels I used to protect the timber from the garage floor during my layout's construction also came in quite handy while painting. It's just a pity my wife didn't feel the same way. Apparently they weren't quite as old as I thought. Oops, my bad.

Next I gave the legs 2 coats of the same black paint I used on the layout's underside.

In-between daily visits to see the fairies in my garage, I also painted the legs for the layout with the same Satin Black water based enamel I used for the layout's underside. The legs will be concealed by a curtain when my model railway goes on show, but for the times when the curtain is open, it just removes any look of the layout being unfinished.

Painted, stained and varnished. The layout is now ready to be assembled and taken out of the garage.

Finally, 5 days and 5 coats of stain later, the painting is complete. Using an all-in-one stain and varnish to lacquer the layout frame will take longer than it did to actually build the thing, but I am extremely satisfied with the end results. The timber frame feels as good as running your hand along a piano. The 2 end panels are now ready to be positioned, as are the layout's legs. Next up, I'm going to get the layout off the ground, and add a little bit of railroad pizzazz to the layout. But as usual, that is a story for another day.

See also; Let's build some legs and Adding that WOW factor

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Thanks for taking the time to visit Philden. I hope you'll book a return ticket soon. Cheers, Phil