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Discussion Starter #1
This is going to sound weird I know. I've never seen anything like it before.
I have been using Micro Engineering, code 55 N-scale flex track for many years, so I haven't bought any Atlas track in quite a while. Recently I bought a pack of Atlas code 55, N-scale, 6" long straight pieces of sectional track. The plan was to use them as removable "bridging sections" across the benchwork joints of my sectional layout.

The good news, Atlas track seems to have improved its appearance to the point that it rivals Micro Engineering's super realistic look. I paint all my visible track with flat paints to kill the plastic, and metal, shine common to nearly all model track.

The bad news is that no matter what paint I use, or how many coats of dead flat Tamiya model paint, the Atlas ties always end up very shiny. The rails of the same piece of Atlas track come out fairly flat. The rails and ties of the Micro Engineering track come out perfectly flat, using the exact same paint. I use a hand brush for all my track painting, I don't use an airbrush, but I do start with a thin layer of Rustoleum flat brown primer spray paint. I make several light passes from 18-24" away. This layer looks flat in general, on the Atlas track, but the ties are somewhat shiner than the rails. The paint adheres well to either brand of track, & doesn't rub off. The same spray on Micro Engineering track comes out very flat.
The retention of reflective shine by these Atlas ties is totally weird. I've never seen any surface that stayed shiny after being painted with flat paint. Now there's an obvious cure for the problem, use Micro Engineering track for the bridging sections. The problem with that is that Micro Engineering track has a tendency to let the rails part company with the plastic tie strip when handled often, due to its tiny spikes. This was one reason for trying the Atlas track, bigger spikes, better rail to tie bond. The other was simply the convenience of using pre-cut, identical length, sections.
Micro Engineering track doesn't come in sectional form, only 36" pieces of flex track. Of course I can cut my own 6" long sections from the flex track, but my curiosity is working overtime. What in the world could make the ties behave this way?

I have two other questions

1) Has anyone else seen this problem?

2) If so, what, if anything, did you do to cure it?

Thanks;

Traction Fan o_O
 

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I have not heard of any plastic retaining a gloss finish after being painted with flat paint or primer.

Have you tried sanding them either before or after painting? 220 grit maybe?
 

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Have you tried sanding them either before or after painting? 220 grit maybe?
Now THERE'S a challenge!...in N scale!

Did you wash the track with soap and water, or alcohol? Maybe there's a manufacturing oil on the ties.
 

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You can mix some plaster of Paris with some tempera paint powder of a suitable colour...or blend of two or more...and dust the ballast between the rails and just outboard of the rails using an artist's brush. Then, spritz with an alcohol/water mix.
 

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Now THERE'S a challenge!...in N scale!

Did you wash the track with soap and water, or alcohol? Maybe there's a manufacturing oil on the ties.
Thank you all who responded. I found my own solution. Tamiya makes a product called "Flat Base." I've used it to turn gloss colors flat, and to get "super flat" finishes on some things. It also makes a good "frost" or "light snow" since it dries very flat and white. I painted the Atlas ties with flat base, and then with my normal "tie color" paint I use on all my track. The flat base worked. It's not needed on Micro Engineering track, but it did kill the shine on the Atlas ties.

Thank you;

Traction Fan 🙂
 
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