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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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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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