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Hi,

Before I started to scene the main layout, i decided to do a mock section of track. Its a bit of MDF with a straight bit and a curve of track, and a hill side. I mounted the track down on 1/8th cork and pinned it down. I managed to get the middle of the track looking brilliant, but then I did one of the sides and the excess ballast flowed over the top of the rail and screwed up the middle! Very annoying.

After about an hour I managed to get it all looking pretty good, but when i sprayed it with the water, then water and glue the spray blew some of the balast away and ruined it!

Any tips for me? Any instructional videos I could watch?

Thanks very much,

Pete.
 

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QUOTE (hoarp001 @ 2 Sep 2007, 16:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>.. but when i sprayed it with the water, then water and glue the spray blew some of the balast away and ruined it!

Any tips for me? ..
Pete,

The sprayer I use is sold as a 'plant mister', (about £1 from nurseries, hardware outlets) the nozzle permits adjustment from water pistol action (fun, but not what we want), all the way to dispensing a fine mist, which will not disturb anything.
 

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also, making the water wetter helps.....ie adding summat to break down the meniscus.

adding a couple of drops of washing up liquid helps the gloo/water mix to flow, without creating globules.

my non-preferred method of old....(I hanker for the Iain Rice, non-wet method, which doesn't wrk with plaastic-based [paco] track]...is firstly, paint the track....rail sides,''dirt'' or ''rust'', and sleepers a grey-sort of colour..for weathered sleepers.....mix of shades.

then , using my selected ballast..always N gauge for OO....pour dry, doen middle, with a bit down either side of sleepers.

using a soft brush, I tease the ballast into shape, clearing sleeper tops of stray particles.

Then, using a dropper (I have an old 'eye' dropper...came with a brown medical bottle....at my age, probably laudenam.....) I gently wet the ballast.(add a drop of wupliq)...once damp, I then dribble 50/50 mix of cheap PVA glue-water with more wupliq...only one or two drops, not a sink full.....oto teh damp ballast....usually ending up gently flooding the area.

I then leave to dry......overnight, or a year or so!

Once I summon the motivation/ the glue dries...I dig out my old bottle of Indian ink....with a fine brush, I gently add a drop here and there on the ballast, especially more so in the track centre.
This drop of indian in spreads around the tiny stone edges, by cappiliary action, providing shading, hiliting shadow,etc.

also tones down the colour of the stone...especially if sing a ''limestone'' ballast..or granite..ie light clours.

clean up loose stuff with a vacuum nozzle with an old pair of tights tied over the end...and move on.
 

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I pretty much do exactly what Alastair does. The dropper is a far better method as it doesn't take much puff to blow your ballast out of position if you use a mist sprayer.

I would also recommend looking at the Noch ballast if you can find it. I have tried it recently and it is ground rock rather than what ever that other stuff Woodland scenics uses is. I found it particularly good at resembling crushed granite for Scottish railways. Colour and texture is just right.
 

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Hi Alistair

You Said: my non-preferred method of old....(I hanker for the Iain Rice, non-wet method, which doesn't wrk with plaastic-based [paco] track]...is firstly, paint the track....rail sides,''dirt'' or ''rust'', and sleepers a grey-sort of colour..for weathered sleepers.....mix of shades.

I use a version of this: It takes time but when alls said and done, not so much more than the "spread it and wet it" method as clean up is about Zero.

First painting the track:

(1) I spray the whole of the track with Gray aerosol undercoat.

(2) Stain # 1 - a turps based walnut wood stain with equivalent of 2~3 cans of humbrol black and about the same of humbrol leather mixed in. Painted over the track with a "mop" type soft brush. Takes about 3 minutes a metre to do.

Let dry at 48 hours then paint rail sides and chairs with stain # 2 - cedar wood stain with a little black and mid brown (say one can black, two of mid to dark brown + 4 of leather/rusty colour. I use a super cheap kids paintbrush as I want stiffish bristles to get this stain into the web and over the chairs.

Using the stains lets the colour flowinto the detail areas around chairs without giving a "painting by numbers" look to rail painting - its very natural and realistic that way.

CLEANUP: After each coat/stain: Initially wipe over the top of the track with the end grain of a pine block moistened with a little turps to get off most paint, then use a rubber for the little thats left...
 

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GRRRR hit the wrong button, Sorry: Here it is in full

Hi Alistair

You Said: my non-preferred method of old....(I hanker for the Iain Rice, non-wet method, which doesn't wrk with plaastic-based [paco] track]...is firstly, paint the track....rail sides,''dirt'' or ''rust'', and sleepers a grey-sort of colour..for weathered sleepers.....mix of shades.

I use a version of this: It takes time but when alls said and done, not so much more than the "spread it and wet it" method as clean up is about Zero.

I lay my track on foam strip with a 60 degre shoulder to give the correct engineering "look" overall...

First painting the track:

(1) I spray the whole of the track and underlay with Gray aerosol undercoat.

(2) Stain # 1 - a turps based walnut wood stain ( i litre can) with equivalent of 2~3 cans of humbrol black and about the same of humbrol leather mixed in. Painted over the track & underlay with a "mop" type soft brush. Takes about 3 minutes a metre to do, no need for care or precision at all.

Let dry at least 24, preferably 48 hours

(3) Then paint rail sides and chairs with stain # 2 - ( i litre can) cedar wood stain with a little black and brown (say one can black, two of mid to dark brown + 4 or so of leather/rusty colour. I use a super cheap kids paintbrush as I want stiffish bristles to get this stain into the web and over the chairs. I paint rail sides and chair detail with a single stroke, and it takes only a few minutes to do a respectable length of track like this.

Natural "errors" make some seep onto the sleepers in places, but being largely a stain the look is "softened" and it looks very realistic compared to precise painting of rail and chairs that never looks good to me.

for both stains, keep well stirred or the paint tint settles out.

Using the stains lets the colour flow into the detail areas around chairs without giving a "painting by numbers" look to rail painting - its very natural and realistic that way.

CLEANUP: After each coat/stain: Initially wipe over the top of the track with the end grain of an offcut of timber/ pine block moistened with a little turps to get off most paint (this works really well) , then use a rubber for the little thats left...
[/quote]

OK: Ballasting.

Paint between sleepers and all over the underlay with very slightly thinned (say 2 parts glue, 1 part water). Use a small stiffish kids paintbrush - one that has those "too stiff for most things" synthetic bristles and is super cheap at discount stores).

take care around points of course, but with this method there is much less likelihood of glueing them up anyway!

Paint about 6" at a time, no more or the glue goes off. Spread more ballast than needed and tamp down with a finger. Vaccum off excess and recover for the next section.

Then simply run a stiff-ish brush along rail sides to get the odd bit of unwanted ballst and re-vacuum, and the jobs done.

If you do several slightly 6" sections at a time (about 5 min each) and then after final vaccuming go back and do the gaps, there are no visible joints in the ballasting and the job goes quick enough - with NO furstration and a very neat look!

Overall - undercoating then staining is an added step that for me, makes realism much better - and as to ballasting, applying it the above way takes time, but not so much more than the spreading/glueing/cleanup of the "eyedropper" method, and its far tidier in the end too! Certianly - frustration and "error" is much lower doing it the way suggested above!

Kindest Regards

Richard
 

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Hi Richard...my references to the 'Rice' methods had much to do with, sleepers of little depth (card or wood), plus, insulating properties, not using rock ballast, but cork granules.

I also like the idea of the Bachman [E-Z?] track available in the US...which comes like the olf Hornby , Tri-ang and Markiln track...with inbuilt ballast.

This makes it a lot more rigid....ideal for carpets.....plus, point motors, wiring, etc can be hidden underneath?

Ideal for DCC control of infrastructure?

Kato Unitrack is similar, for N gauge......as is Fleischmann Prifi, I believe.

Whilst not of the same nature as 'scale' track, in our sense....it's appearance is very good indeed...better, in my view, than Peco.

plus, it can all be disguised by 'loose' ballasting, applied as described on this thread...but without the hassle of getting between the sleepers?

I would 'prefer' something like Profi, if that is the right product, when building a layout for smaller children.

when I built my young son's layout a few years back, I considered ballast, to come away from the 'toy train' look....but was advised by my local hobby store owner NOT to...on account of its messiness of laying, and risk of small stones coming loose over the years. Something that wasn't a problem to me on MY layouts....

I did spray overall with a can or two of frame dirt, touching in here and there for variety.

Another product I like the look of is that track underlay that has the ballast textured in..with moulded dents fro sleepers to sit in.

I'm not thinking of the peco foam,but I think its sold by......Gaugemaster?

a bit pricey in comparison.....[certainly dearer than sieved sand].....but no mess, and quick?

Very much a consideration in modellers' worlds these days?
 

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I do it the lazy way:

1. Lay track loosely on baseboard.
2. half open all points and insert tissue/kitchen paper in the gaps.
3. Spray track with track colour or sleeper grime aerosol.
4. Wait about an hour (eat or drink something, watch TV, go on PC, or take dog out)
5. Lift track a section at a time and roll out Gaugemaster foam underlay.
6. Put track on top of underlay.
7. Repeat until all plain line track is complete.
8. Trim same underlay for points (it can be difficult and may even stretch your vocabulary). Or, use Peco point underlays.
9. Remove paper inserts between point blade and close up points.
10. Pin the lot down.

Not 110% accurate, but don't look too bad:


Alternatively, if you hate ballasting as much as I do, why not model a pier tramway!!!!


Now I await the shouting down!!!!!!

Cheers,

Dave.
 

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Hi Dave - you said: "Now I await the shouting down!!!!!!"

***Why - if it works, then fine. Actually, if I was brave enough, I'd paint/pre-stain the track, paint glue over all of the ballast strip, place the tracck and pour the ballast, saving all that careful painting between the sleepers. Same result in much less time... this is how many of the professionals actually do it.

Alistair: Re the "Rice" method - my sleepers are at least thin :). Rices book on track is excellent isn't it.

I dislike stone and sand but some do well with it. Cork doesn't work for me as those I've see ncommercially look a bit coarse.
My preferred ballast is, I believe, actually made from finely ground up fruit stones... not that it matters as long as it looks like the layout owner wants in the end!

Richard
 

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My personal favourite is finely ground granite. Weathered/dirtied it looks lovely. Mind you laying it can be very time consuming, that's why the current procect is being cobbled up to thr rail.

Regards
 

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Hi,

I laid the track on cork, then tack pins held it in place.

I then poured over the granite ballast, this is Gaugemasters, GM115 N-Gauge ballast, looks like sand!

Moved this about with a small brush, once done, sprayed afine mist of water over it, then using the dropper VERY close to the ballast, drop the 50/50 glue/water mix with a drop of washing-up liquid in over the ballast.

By pre-soaking the ballast the glue mix seems to absorb straight in.

I then went over the rails with the dark red rust from rail match 2405, and before this was dry went over it with sleeper grime 2406.

I think it looks ok, where you can still see spots of red that have run down the rail, having ALL of the rail the dark red rust colour looked wrong to me, too red!





Sorry about the blurr on second picture, couldn't get it any better!

Ian
 

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Pete,

This is how I do ballasting: http://www.mrol.com.au/ballasting.aspx

Graham Plowman

QUOTE (hoarp001 @ 3 Sep 2007, 01:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi,

Before I started to scene the main layout, i decided to do a mock section of track. Its a bit of MDF with a straight bit and a curve of track, and a hill side. I mounted the track down on 1/8th cork and pinned it down. I managed to get the middle of the track looking brilliant, but then I did one of the sides and the excess ballast flowed over the top of the rail and screwed up the middle! Very annoying.

After about an hour I managed to get it all looking pretty good, but when i sprayed it with the water, then water and glue the spray blew some of the balast away and ruined it!

Any tips for me? Any instructional videos I could watch?
Thanks very much,

Pete.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I wish I had found this before I attempted it.

I propose a ballasting party, My house - bring a brush.

:-D
 

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QUOTE (hoarp001 @ 2 Sep 2007, 15:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi,

Before I started to scene the main layout, i decided to do a mock section of track. Its a bit of MDF with a straight bit and a curve of track, and a hill side. I mounted the track down on 1/8th cork and pinned it down. I managed to get the middle of the track looking brilliant, but then I did one of the sides and the excess ballast flowed over the top of the rail and screwed up the middle! Very annoying.

After about an hour I managed to get it all looking pretty good, but when i sprayed it with the water, then water and glue the spray blew some of the balast away and ruined it!

Any tips for me? Any instructional videos I could watch?
Thanks very much,

Pete.

I still like the wallpaper paste and ballast miixture method.Never was keen on using white glue mixture and eyedropper method.

I spray my track after masking point blades with brown Krylon Camouflage paint system which gives a non-reflective,ultra flat finnish.It is a good grubby brown colour to use as an overall base before you do touch up work.

After all is dry I mix about one third or more Lepages Poly Stick Fast Wallpaper paste powder with two thirds ballast gleaned from Cordova Bay beach here and it looks like the Gaugemaster ballast shown in pictures in this thread.
It is very fine and requires a wash and dry.
I use a fine mesh strainer to get a consistant size ballast.It's coulour is a greyish with black an white mixed in.Volcanic in origin I think.
Also it is free!

I then sprinkle the ballast and wallpaper paste powder mixture on the track and tidy up with a ladies make up brush.
With a very fine misting spray bottle with a couple of drops of washing up liquid in warm water I spray the ballast gently giving it a good soaking.
Giving several light pases with the spray at first prevents any puffing away of ballast.
I use a cardboard mask to prevent overspray.

When all is dry and it does dry quite hard enough,then with a fairly stiff brush,brush off any excess ballast and vacuum.
A dental pick from your friendly dentist is also very handy for fine tuning.Mine is very obliging with the old ones no longer of use in the surgery.
Any mistakes can easily be rectified using plain water.
Clean up is also very easy with plain water.

I have tried the white glue method but found that it dries rock hard.
This makes it difficult for one to change ones mind regards re-tracklaying etc.
I am not sure if it would soften after wetting or not.The white glue they sell here is waterproof.

With the wallpaper powder method it is readily sofened with a spray of water and the track can be lifted easily and recovered,taken outside and washed with the garden hose.

For me this seems to be the best way of ballasting but then everbody has their own way of doing things they find the best.

Happy ballasting!

Bryan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi,

Its not the setting the ballast that I find hard, its arranging it all to look nice and neat. I know in reality its not perfect, but it just looks odd unless its really straight.

Although i have found a way of making this abit easier... I went to B and Q and bought a .7m long brushed draught exclduer. Im sure you know the type, its just a long continuous brush. I used this to sweep a line of ballast up to the track and get a nice straight edge. After that I used a little brush to get it in between the sleeprs etc. I have a 6 inch bit setting now so hoepfuly it will look ok..

Thanks.
 

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QUOTE (Nozomi @ 5 Sep 2007, 08:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I still like the wallpaper paste and ballast miixture method.Never was keen on using white glue mixture and eyedropper method.
...
I have tried the white glue method but found that it dries rock hard.
This makes it difficult for one to change ones mind regards re-tracklaying etc.
I am not sure if it would soften after wetting or not.The white glue they sell here is waterproof.

Bryan,

The reason why the white glue method dries rock hard is probably because you're not using the right material and probably because you are using it 'neat'.
First of all, there are a number of different types of 'white glue'. Generally, here in Australia and the UK, we call it 'PVA'. Most are sold as 'woodworkers' glue and some are for indoor use while others are sold for outdoor use and are waterproof.

If you use these products 'neat' you will find they will set rock hard.
The method I described at http://www.mrol.com.au/ballasting.aspx involves diluting the PVA glue 1 part glue to 3 or 4 parts water. I also mix in some washing up liquid. The washing up liquid has the effect of breaking surface tension so that the watered glue soaks in. Because it is also an impurity to the glue, it also stops the glue setting rock hard.
I find that when this sets hard, I can dig it out with a screwdriver and it has a 'rubbery' kind of strength to it - a bit like digging up Evo Stick.

I'm not in favour of the wallpaper paste approach because it sends not to soak in very well if added on top. Even when mixed in, it still dries transparent and makes the ballast look like it has been flooded and waterlogged!

I think the main issue with ballasting is that people see it as a necessary 'evil' and look for production-line-type methods which enable them to rush the job, usually giving a 'rushed' appearance afterwards. My own view is that the diluted PVA method gives best results and it is the method used by most professional modellers even though some use variations on application methods. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it reasonably quickly.

In summary: choose the right type of PVA, dilute it, mix in washing up liquid and you won't have any problems and it doesn't go rock hard.

Graham Plowman
 

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QUOTE (Graham Plowman @ 4 Sep 2007, 23:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Bryan,

The reason why the white glue method dries rock hard is probably because you're not using the right material and probably because you are using it 'neat'.
First of all, there are a number of different types of 'white glue'. Generally, here in Australia and the UK, we call it 'PVA'. Most are sold as 'woodworkers' glue and some are for indoor use while others are sold for outdoor use and are waterproof.

If you use these products 'neat' you will find they will set rock hard.
The method I described at http://www.mrol.com.au/ballasting.aspx involves diluting the PVA glue 1 part glue to 3 or 4 parts water. I also mix in some washing up liquid. The washing up liquid has the effect of breaking surface tension so that the watered glue soaks in. Because it is also an impurity to the glue, it also stops the glue setting rock hard.
I find that when this sets hard, I can dig it out with a screwdriver and it has a 'rubbery' kind of strength to it - a bit like digging up Evo Stick.

I'm not in favour of the wallpaper paste approach because it sends not to soak in very well if added on top. Even when mixed in, it still dries transparent and makes the ballast look like it has been flooded and waterlogged!

I think the main issue with ballasting is that people see it as a necessary 'evil' and look for production-line-type methods which enable them to rush the job, usually giving a 'rushed' appearance afterwards. My own view is that the diluted PVA method gives best results and it is the method used by most professional modellers even though some use variations on application methods. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it reasonably quickly.

In summary: choose the right type of PVA, dilute it, mix in washing up liquid and you won't have any problems and it doesn't go rock hard.

Graham Plowman

Graham,

Thank you for your helpfull notes.

It is PVA here also and have followed methods written.There are many brands/types here,some are yellow. I would never use it 'neat' for obvious reasons.

My ballasting does not look waterlogged however.Misting it didn't seem a problem.Our house interior humidity is generally low here is,in fact some people have humidifiers to increace it,therefore it dries very quiclky.

Removing ballast is a simple task,just dampen it.
Requiring a screwdriver to dig it out seems like a daunting,messy task if you have a lot to remove.

Ballasting is a necessary evil as you say.

I am not really a professional modeller.

Regards,
Bryan.
 

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QUOTE (hoarp001 @ 4 Sep 2007, 22:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi,

Its not the setting the ballast that I find hard, its arranging it all to look nice and neat. I know in reality its not perfect, but it just looks odd unless its really straight.
Although i have found a way of making this abit easier... I went to B and Q and bought a .7m long brushed draught exclduer. Im sure you know the type, its just a long continuous brush. I used this to sweep a line of ballast up to the track and get a nice straight edge. After that I used a little brush to get it in between the sleeprs etc. I have a 6 inch bit setting now so hoepfuly it will look ok..

Thanks.

You could try masking tape along the side the track and remove it when everything is set.
The door sweeper sounds like a good idea too.

Cheers,
Bryan.
 

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Bryan,

QUOTE (Nozomi @ 5 Sep 2007, 12:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Graham,

Thank you for your helpfull notes.

It is PVA here also and have followed methods written.There are many brands/types here,some are yellow. I would never use it 'neat' for obvious reasons.

I remember yellow versions when I lived in the UK. Can't say I've seen them here in Australia, but then I haven't looked for them. The key is that you do need to be selective about which type you use. I use 'Selleys Aquadere'. Haven't found interior vs exterior versions to make much difference.

QUOTE (Nozomi @ 5 Sep 2007, 12:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>My ballasting does not look waterlogged however.Misting it didn't seem a problem.Our house interior humidity is generally low here is,in fact some people have humidifiers to increace it,therefore it dries very quiclky.

You're lucky! Most people's layouts I have seen done using this method usually look like a sludge with ballast mixed into it!

QUOTE (Nozomi @ 5 Sep 2007, 12:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Removing ballast is a simple task,just dampen it.
Requiring a screwdriver to dig it out seems like a daunting,messy task if you have a lot to remove.

Personally, I think the issue of removing ballast is made out to be a bigger problem than it actually is - a bit like chicken and egg - if you don't do it, you don't have to pull it up but without it, a layout is just a train set. The problem is, most people don't plan their layouts and consequently get themselves into situations where ballast digging becomes necessary.
I'd be warey of of a method which is susceptible to humidity. Here in Australia, we can get extremes of humidity. Anything which is sensitive to moisture in the air can be a real problem. Maybe not a problem where you are, but it can be a big problem here!
I'd be worried that your method wouldn't hold the ballast down firmly and that bits would chip off.
Although I indicated a screwdriver would remove my ballast, the ballast itself is relatively 'rubbery' due to the glue. It only needs a small scredriver and you dig it in and twist. It doesn't need extreme physical effort. It's no more messy than any other ballast removing method.
If one has a lot to remove, then I'd question the planning (or lack of it).

QUOTE (Nozomi @ 5 Sep 2007, 12:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Ballasting is a necessary evil as you say.

Most people consider it as such. That it not my view. To me, it is part of the overall scenics necessary to achieve a reallistic looking outcome - a bit like art.

Graham Plowman
 
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