I've made during these last few yars some track trials to test the different techniques and effects to depict a lightly used brancline tracks of the Santa Fe Los Angeles Division. I've gathered a lot of photos to sustain my efforts. At first, I planned to use wood ties, tie plates and spikes and dirt ballast from a german brand called ASOA (asoa.de). But after some attempts (one is shown below-2013/2014), I've tried anything for the spikes from staples cut in half (even some old Kadee ones), micro engineering spikes and Proto 87 spikes. All were to big except for a code 83 track except the Proto 87 but those were a pain to use and too slim. I don't obtained the effect needed with the ties, and last but not least, the ASOA dirt used (or was it the matte medium to glue everything in place?) made a messy result like a kind of gravy sauce. I was really disappointed and everything went to the trash bin! No wood ties for me...
The last attempt (2015) made was more encouraging, at least to me, even if these two years old photos below helped me realize that I still have
to improve the whole. But I'am on the way to what I want to obtain. So I've settled on Tomalco track code 83 wheathered flextrack (and code 70 for some sidings). The ties were painted with a Warm Grey acrylic paint and stained with Walnut and Sepia acrylic inks. The rails were treated mainly with MIG Productions P 411 Standard Rust Effects but also with AK 083 Track Wash. The "ballast" is a mix between a few of ASOA Mineralbeton 1209 and Monster Modelworks Diorama Dirt glued with another brand of matte medium (Liquitex) diluted with burning alcohol (no water in the mix).
Luckily, I've even found that Grandt Line dummy On3 spikes were a near perfect match to those on the Tomalco track and I could use them on my homemade ATSF standard turnouts.What else!?