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In depth idiot
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I have used both brush and spray, both work for me. A brush can be easier if there is already scenery structure for cutting sides, retaining walls or overbridges in place, and a small brush is what I always use for rail sides and chairs. BTW, if it is not too late, on pointwork it is vastly easier to paint the railsides before permanently laying.

The shades that are required are the local soil colour(s), rust and filth. Ochres, tan leather, iron oxide, black are the sort of thing I would want, none to be used as they are, but blended to suit. After painting the rail sides with a 'rust and dirt mix', spray or wash on multiple dilute coats of the 'filth' (a half inch decorating brush is about right for 4mm) until you reach the required appearance. Plenty of good photographs for reference to the desired prototype appearance are very helpful at this stage.
 
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