by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Railway track (1520 mm,12500 mm) Full Kit
Introduction: The Project Armor35
Railroad modeling is being fortified with an ever expanding selection of models in the dominate military scale of 1/35. The Project Armor35 is an endeavor from Russia to create accurate 1/35 German and Soviet railway track circa the Great Patriotic War. Armor35 produces track and rail spikes in resin, wooden and resin sleepers (crossties), scale sand and stone ballast, coal, and now figures.
While there is not currently a 'model rail scale' for 1/35, it is very close to No. 1 Scale (also referred to as Gauge 1, Gauge One, 3/8", etc.) of 1/32. Regardless, it does afford some crossover to electric model railroading.
Currently Armor35 offers 12 1/35 models and accessories, including two figures. Resin, wood, and other natural materials are used to create these authentic products.
ARM35001 Railway Track (1520 mm,12500 mm) Full KitYour track is packaged in a zip-lock bag with smaller baggies of accessories. The bags are held in a cardboard one-piece top hinge self-locking box. Armor35 sandwiches the pieces between bubble wrap, providing good protection. The box features a photograph of the product.
The main component is a length of resin track glued onto a rectangular resin base. This surprised me as the website and box refers to this product as a kit, and I thought I would have scores of parts to attach to each other. Additional components are a bagged set of fishplates, bagged track spikes, and a small sampler of sand and stone ballast, and coal.
The length of track is attached to the tie plates (crutches) on crossties (sleepers). The sleepers appear to be glued to the plain base. The entire assembly has a slight bow to it although the resin is malleable enough to set down flat.
Measuring 14 ⅛ inches long the track model is a scale 12557 mm / 41-feet-long. I do not know if 41' was the standard rail length in the USSR c. 1930-50, although American standard rail length was 39'. The gauge is 1520 mm / 5 feet. I measured the gauge and it is 44 mm, which is almost spot-on for 5 feet in 1/35.
Armor35 casting is crisp. There are no air bubbles or other flaws in the resin. The only flash I found was a thin flap on the bottom of a rail between two sleepers. Each end of each rail has open holes molded for bolts for the rail joining fishplates (also known as a splice bar or joint bar).
Four fishplates are included and although they are attached to a resin pour block, the blocks snap off cleanly. Like the track, the fishplates are sharply cast without flaws. These plates are interesting as they have flanges that straddle each tie. They also have pins on the rail side which fit into the holes through the rail. The track can be connected to another section of track with these fishplates.
DetailCrisp scale bolt and nut detail is molded on the fishplates.
The rail is seated on double shoulder tie plates (crutch) on the sleepers. Track spikes (nails) are molded into the crutches / plates, two inside and one outside the rail. All plates and nails are to scale and crisply cast.
Sleepers have beveled edges and show faint wood grain on the tops; the ends lack detail.
There is nowhere to insert the separate track spikes so I think they are included to scatter around the track as extras and replacements.
Small packs of ballast and coal are included (Armor35 ballast has also been reviewed on this site). However, there is not enough to ballast the track. Even with all three sample packed mixed together I was not able to fill the voids between sleepers inside the rails.
Laying TrackFirst I scrubbed the track with soap and water to remove any mold release residue. Then I shot the model with a tan spray primer. After it dried, out came the paint brushes and bottles.
No painting guidance is offered with the kit. American ties are preserved with creosote and I made the assumption that Soviet sleepers were preserved with a similar product. Although rails are steel, they weather into a variety of gray, brown, and reddish rusts.
I started with the ties. Each was given a pass with a dark brown paint, in this case LifeColor UA 809 / RAL 8019 Brown from the set Danish Railway Originale DSB Farver Set 2, DSB Epoke IV. Solid coverage was not required because I later covered the ties with Winsor & Newton water mixable oil color, Burnt Umber and Raw Umber. For this I used an acrylic stiff bristle brush to 'scrub' the water-oil on. As it dried, I mixed up my brown iron rail color: superb Polly Scale acrylic Roof Brown, mixed with a hint of Polly Scale steel. The later gives it a slight metallic sheen. The spray primer dried was much smoother than I expected and this made painting the rail easier. The rail color went on the rails, tie plates, and rail joiners. As I work, I randomly mixed in small amounts of brown, steel, reds, orange, and gray. These tiny amounts were blended into the base rail color. Finally, I mixed up a thin brown-orange wash that was liberally applied across the rails.
Afterwards, I touched up the ties around the tie plates. When dry, I used the still brush to drybrush tans and grays upon the ties in different areas. Ties weather and and replaced at different rates and I subtly simulate that. I also used more water-oils to keep some parts of the ties looking oily.
More touch up, then I randomly applied a light steely mix of tan onto the rail spikes and tie plates. Finally, a very light skim of steel was applied on the very upper edge on each rail inner face. Where I slopped a bit of steel onto the rail head, I simply rubbed it in with my finger. Then the rail joiners were added.
I went back and painted tan between the ties, not worrying about getting paint up the sides of the sleepers. Ballast will hide that.
I mixed the samples of ballast and coal together and poured it between the ties. There wasn't enough so I used some from the ballast samples Armor35 generously provided. Using a 1-inch acrylic brush, I spread the ballast mixture across and between the ties, inside and outside of the rails. I even brushed some along the edge of the base.
The track is down and ready for traffic!
ConclusionThis is an impressive length of model track. The casting is high-quality, sharp and crisp, without air bubbles. The flash is minor, as is the warpage. Separate fishplates for joining rail are great. I appreciate the pack of spikes. I also appreciate the packs of ballast and coal although there isn't enough to detail the track.
If I could suggest two things it would be a brief discussion of rail and sleeper coloring, and perhaps a basic outline of roadbed profile for those who want to put this track on a diorama.
This track is very good and I happily recommend it.
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