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Just another modeller
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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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Just another modeller
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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 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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Hi Graham

You commented on neatness: I agree - when we do it, even if we are careful, there will be a slight tendency to be less than perfect - this is enough to emulate "lack of perfection" on the prototype, without making it messy on purpose!

Also: and more to the point....

You said: "Using the method I described on the MROL website, I can ballast one foot of both tracks of a twin track line in about an hour"

*** Yep, doing it well = time spent being careful & fussy!

I'm very interested that you made that observation re time taken - I'd always considered my preferred way to be slower, but in fact on that basis, the "ballast first then glue" takes you about the same as it takes me to do ballasting with my "paint the glue first, add the ballast" method - the difference only really being I do lots of small disconnected places then go back and fill the gaps, with each 6" section taking perhaps 5 minutes.

I guess it simply shows the very valid point you made "Ballasting should be done carefully, and careful ballasting takes time no matter how you try to do it".

I've found that if its tackled in short sessions between other tasks its not onerous - there's always many other jobs on the layout that can be done as the glue dries, and lots of small ballasting sessions are quite tolerable compared to trying to do it in one marathon effort!

Incidentally, given that your method and mine differ but give similar results, it occurs to me that I should say why I like my way. Neither is "better" but each of us has his own preferences!!
(1) Absolutely no glue on visible ballast = No change in ballast colour (coating with glue always affects textrue and visible surface)
(2) Having retained the original natural matt surface, dry brushing of powders for later weathering is to me more straightforward
(3) Practical reason: My C&L track base sleepers are quite thin compared to Peco, so... its hard to brush a thin layer with no gaps - therefore, glue before ballast makes its easier to get an even coat of ballast.
(4) With Bullhead, Its easier to preserve the gap between rail bottom and ballast.
(5) No tendency at all to create a sounding board - there is no negative change to the sound level after ballasting

Re the article - Asprington Road continues to look great!!

Richard
 

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Hi Paul: You said - I don't have any glue visible either - it soaks in.

*** Accepted 100&, and thats clear from your photos... What I probably should have said is that even with very dilute glue, I noticed some slight change in colour of the ballast when the glue coats it - which it must do.

its very true that if you thin it enough the glue isn't actually visble as such, but the slight colour and texture shift is...to me at least :)

(and I agree 110% that the oft quoted 2:1 is way too thick, as up to 10:1 actually still works, depending on glue quality!!

You said:
1/ The use of ballast which is glued rock hard
2/ As above fixed directly to baseboard surface with no track bed such as cork
3/ The use of track pins - they anchor track firmly to the baseboard such that all noise is directly transferred into the baseboard. Once track pins are in use, it doesn't matter what other noise mittigation is used (foam/cork/soft ballast etc), the pins will always transfer noise into the baseboard. The moral: don't use track pins - they look amaturish, spoil any chance of realism and they exagerate noise problems.

*** Again, 110% in agreement on all three!

Something I intend to try next time I lay flatbottom rail based track is to pre-lay everything using long pins through oversized holes, cut off the heads and leave them long. not my idea, but I've seen it work and it works really well!

Then

(1) lift the track
(2) pre-paint full strength glue over the whole ballast area, re-laying the track over the glue,, using the pins as registration.
(3) add ballast and pat down, then weight it until its dry
(4) vacuum up excess and remove pins
(5) fill pin holes with a dab of precoloured filler & touch up sleepers

Finally:
(1) I'm starting to prefer latex carpet glue OR Artists matte medium to PVA / white Glue - much more flexible. Latex is cheap, Matte Meium is a bit exxy though
(2) I've also used Meths instead of dishwashing liquid with great success - it encourages quicker evaporation and is at least as good a wetting agent... but it does smell a little as it evaporates:-(

Richard
DCCconcepts
 
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