Ballast and goo

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by shamus, Apr 22, 2001.

  1. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Woodie,
    I don't use comercially available model ballast, I use flocks, same type as you use for grass, only ballast colour. Then use the wallpaper paste.
  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    hmmmm.. I chose to use the stone mix,as it is made to match the various prototypes and areas of Australia... looks good.. but messy.. with the turnouts, I found you have to just about put it in piece by piece! but then again, that's what's this hobby is all about I suppose. Think I'll take up Swiss watch making, or nano-bot manufacture! or perhaps heart transplants on ants!! be easier!! [​IMG]

    TOOT!
  3. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Woodie,
    I use the method you describe from your ballast instructions.
    I use 50/50 diluted white glue for adhesive. (the glue bottle itself makes the best applicator)
    After you've poured the ballast on the track, & shaped it to your liking, (use a small paper cup to pour with, & a soft, dry brush to direct the ballast where you want it, making sure it's no higher than the tops of the ties)
    Then spray the ballast with a "wetting" agent. This can be either water with a few drops of liquid detergent in it, or isopropyl alcolhol. The wetting agent allows the diluted glue to soak into the ballast. Without it, the glue will just bead up, & sit on top of the ballast.
    This method shouldn't affect any painting you've done to the track (as long as the paint is dry). The ties (sleepers) may get a little dusty from the ballast, but I've always thought that kind of added a nice weathered look anyway.
    Good Luck! Hope this helps.

    [This message has been edited by Charlie (edited 04-22-2001).]
  4. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Charlie,

    Thanks for the tips. Just through experimenting, I had sprayed the track etc after glueing the ballast, just to see what happened. VOILA! settled the glue in nicely. Next section I'll try using dry ballast, spray, then glue, rather than glue goo the lot before applying.

    Thanks,

    TOOT!
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    hmmm... Ballast. I've tried your suggestions, Shamus, on ballast laying, however used 50/50 PVA glue which is fine by me. However, the ballast stone mix (comercially available model ballast) instructions say to lay the ballast dry, and lightly brush into shape and volume etc. then pour the glue mixture over the railhead, not directly onto the ballast, and let it settle through. Let it set, then brush the excess away, and clean the rails. I have painted/weathered the sleepers and rails first (artist acrylic paint, burnt sienna for the sleepers and combination of burn sienna and red ochre for the rails). I found with mixing the ballast with the glue first, created a difficult laying method with the stuff sticking to everything, fingers, spoons, model knife, etc. and especially ballasting turnouts! I have not yet tried the "dry laying" method yet. Any opinions? Using HO Peco 75 nikel/silver track.

    Thanks,

    TOOT!
  6. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Well, tried the lay the dry ballast first method, brush into shape and pour 50/50 PVA (well drip it) over the railhead. Then brush lightly with a toothbrush to make sure the inside of the railheads are clear of ballast. Fabulous. Much better. Only took a couple of hours to dry instead of a couple of days.

    Thanks for the hints. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    TOOT!
  7. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Woodie:

    I agree with Charlie. That is the best way as he mentions. I have done it too and works great! [​IMG] Our local railroad club does it too. Looks great!

    Andy
  8. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    [​IMG]

    This was done my way using flocks.
  9. George

    George Member

    In the 70's, the "Bible" said to use cyanoacrylate for an adhesive with a dropper. I don't hear about it anymore, anyone know why this method was abandoned? The results were better and more durable than matte-medium.

    George.
  10. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    George,
    CA adhesive for ballast?!!
    Andy,
    Alittle trick of my own that I incorporated into the standard process is to use a black wash of India Ink & isopropyl alcolhol to wet the ballast. This way you can weather your ballast as part of the bonding process.
  11. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    [​IMG] hmmmmm... didn't think I would need to weather the ballast. Wonder if I can do it after it's laid?

    TOOT!
  12. johan

    johan New Member

    I don't know what it is with you people in here, but the Ballast article written by Shamus is by far a better method than the old 50/50 white wood glue and granite chips.
    Myself, I have used his method of ballasting for years, it is even now on the market for sale under Woodland Scenics, (Just add water) I have known Shamus for the past 12 years, with his many articles he has had published in various Magazines around the world. To my mind, he is one of the great model railroaders of our time. His workmanship has won him many NMRA competitions, including 1st place in Photography, 1st place in the Video section, and had a series of articles on Photography published in the NMRA magazine back in the early 1990's.
    Anyway, I swear by his talents, and have followed his advice on Photography to develop my own skills with the camera. So here is a Photo taken from my layout (British) showing some trackwork using the wallpaper paste and ground (Grey/Brown) flocks.
    Oh, by the way, I also used "How to wire a layout" by Shamus, and it works without a single short anywhere.
    [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by johan (edited 04-24-2001).]
  13. George

    George Member

    Johan,

    I don't think anyone is disputing the superiority of Shamus's method at all. I do think though, that we're just getting the Voo-Doo of the subject out of the closet. Even if it's not the best way, I am interested in hearing about the approach of others to the situation. Nice shot, and I bet all those semaphores move too! [​IMG]

    Charlie, yes, CA. They swore on TV some 30 years ago that your ballast would never come up, and I bet you couldn't recycle an expensive switch afterwards either! I've never heard of weathering your ballast. Why not just select the colour you want in the bag and save the time?

    On the lighter side, ever since I saw a fat kid dump a whole bottle of india ink on his crotch in my 4th grade art class, I've avoided it and laughed about the incident any time I hear about the product. It stained his upper thighs for over a week! [​IMG]

    One thing I do is lay an narrow edge of black cinders between the edge of the cork roadbed and the weeds, then the ballast over the track. To me, this looks as if it's an established railroad that's been recently re-ballasted and manicured.

    This time when I get to that point, I'm doing it Shamus's way. [​IMG] I'll never use the 50/50 mess again.

    George.
  14. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    [​IMG] It's good to learn from others and see their work. All looks good, and I'll post a photo of my ballast work as soon as I get them developed. I wanted to use the stone mix, as it is made locally, crushed and mixed according to many different local prototypes. The mix I am using is specific to the prototye I am modelling. Once is it settled and glued, it does not need weathering. I just put a light sprinkle of black flock down the centre to represent the oil and muck. My first attempt at it so I'm bound to develop a few different techniques of laying it so all input and hints are very useful. Especially the toothbrush idea. Lots of little useful things around the house I'm finding all sorts of uses for. One thing I am finding out though, there is no one best way to do anything, combinations of ways, yes. But isn't that what this hobby is about? [​IMG]

    TOOT!

    [This message has been edited by Woodie (edited 04-24-2001).]
  15. George

    George Member

    Shamus,

    That oil line down the sleepers is a nice touch! Tell me something, do you ever use acrylic pens? I never have, but my wife was using them to decorate the small details on horses for the IHC Carousel with nice results. There's another reason for me to get things moving!

    Woodie, Shamus has a great idea with tinting the ballast with oil colour like the prototype. As a matter of fact, this is a must for anyone with concrete ties. Perhaps you could use a light coating of India Ink to replicate this effect on your ballast, but watch the crotch! [​IMG]

    One other thing about various ballast products, Shamus. I hope this doesn't sound ridiculous, but depending on what it's made from, would you recommend rinsing to remove dust before use for better adhesion? I realize this would be practically impossible with most of the fine grit available from the hobby shops, but what about the larger granule products, especially for larger scales?

    George.
  16. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi George, my good buddy, I never use any of the commercial ballast material for ballasting, I use Flocks. The material is like the very fine grass you can buy from Woodland scenics, only in Brown/Black/Grey colors and is made by Jarvis. This when mixed with wallpaper paste has the consistency of Porridge.(Not good for eating)
    spreading it in with the fingers took me about 1 hour to do the whole of my layout from start to finish.
  17. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    I use Woodland Senic. It's cheap and easy to use. Besides I don't have to weather it. Just mix in other colors. Besides, I like to take the lazy man's way! [​IMG]

    Either way you look at it. If you have to remove track.(Like I had to today). It's one big mess. Thank God for the Dremel!!!! [​IMG]

    Andy
  18. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hey everybody!
    First of all, I hope nobody thought that I was disputing the fact that Shamus is a skilled, & talented modeler. I don't think that anyone who pays any attention to this forum can argue with that fact.
    It seemed to me that Woodie was experiencing some difficulty, & asked for some tips, so I offered some. Sorry if I offended.
    As far as weathering the ballast - where I live, the main lines are usually ballasted with limestone. (very prevailant here) Limestone starts out as very light gray - almost white. But after several years of heavy coal traffic, diesel smoke, brake smoke, dripping oil, & just dirt in general, the ballast takes on a grimier look.
    It's certainly not necessary, but I just like the way it looks.
  19. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Charlie,

    No probs at all. That's what this is for, isn't it? Bits and pieces of info, all taken in, churned around, and output through the brain and fingers. Anyway the ballasting turned out fine, and solid.

    TOOT!

    PS. ummmm.... only done 3' of track so far! just experimenting.
  20. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Johan
    Thank you for those few kind words.
    You were going to post a photo of the new water front, when is it coming my friend.
    --------------
    George,
    I paint with a weathered black acrylic paint a very thin line down the center of my tracks to represent oil drops from loco's

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