Ballasting Track On The PoorFork RR

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Drew1125, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I thought I'd show how I'm doing the track ballast on my N scale layout...
    I'm trying to get a specific look here, that of an Appalachian short line of the 1930's.
    I didn't want the look of a well maintained Class 1 mainline.
    I wanted the track to look as low-profile as possible (this is always a challenge in N scale) so I didn't use any sub roadbed...I just glued the track directly onto the foam scenic base.
    I do the suttounding scenery first, & put masking tape over the track, so when I pull up the tape, there's a small area on either side of the track that's unscenicked.

    Attached Files:

  2. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I use a small paper cup as a ballast spreader, squeezing in the top to form a pouring spout.
    Then I pour a small amount of ballast down the middle of the track.
    I work in short sections, doing about 12" of track at a time.

    Attached Files:

  3. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Now I take a softl brush, & gently sweep the ballast off the tie tops...the excess ballast will be pushed over the sides.
    I just keep adding small amounts of ballast until it looks right to me.
    Now this looks OK, but is just a little too "new" looking for me, so the next step will take care of that.

    Attached Files:

  4. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I wet the ballast with a black wash of alcohol & India ink...
    This gives the ballast a dirtier look, & to me, blends in better with the surrounding scenery.

    (for the black wash, I used a small bottle from a free sample of liquid works great as a "eyedropper" type applicator)

    Attached Files:

  5. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Next, I flow on a mixture of 50/50 white glue & water out of an old glue bottle...

    Attached Files:

  6. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    And here's the finised results...

    Attached Files:

  7. Xaniel

    Xaniel Member

    Real cool. It gave me some Ideas, caus I'll be ballasting my RR soon, and I'll have to weather it. Thanks!!!

    Awsome work.
  8. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Looking good Charlie! :cool:
  9. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Excellent ballasting Charlie.
  10. pomperaugrr

    pomperaugrr Member

    Wow Charlie!
    What a great idea to combine the ballast wetting with weathering! That cuts out that step down the road. :cool:
    I will try this when I finally get some track put down. Thanks for sharing this idea and the pictures.

  11. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    A fine tutorial, Charlie! Great modeling and excellent photography. :cool:

    It's easy to do, and the result looks very convincing. From now on, nobody has an excuse to NOT ballast his track! :D

    One question: What kind of ballast do you use?

  12. jawatkins

    jawatkins Member

    I haven't tried ballasting yet, but you have a great idea about weathering it before you glue it down. Regarding the ballast, have you ever tried using an old ketchup bottle with the squirt top or empty salad dressing bottles to put ballast down?

    As always, enjoy seeing pictures of your work.
  13. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Sorry I forgot to mention that Ron!:eek:
    I use Woodland Scenics Fine Gray...
    Also the track pictured here is Peco code 55 flex (N scale)

    No, I've never tried the ketchup, or dressing bottles...
    When I first attempted to ballast HO track years ago, I just used my fingers...this was slow, & I wasted a lot of ballast. Later, I tried some little spice bottles with various types of lids for pouring, without much success...
    Then I saw an article somewhere, where they used a Dixie cup, & voila! The best ballast spreader I've found!
    I just put a very small amount of ballast in the cup at a I said, I work in sections 8" - 12" at a time...
  14. Another excellent how-to from one of the N-scale masters! The best part is that there's a lesson here for HO modelers also. Thanks, Charlie! :cool: :)
  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Squirt top bottles

    I've found that, when ballasting, the last thing you want is any sort of puff of air, especially directed at the track. Even some of the spray bottles for glue/matte medium will scatter the scenery.
    I've also found that when ballasting is complete, the house goes up for sale. :mad: :mad: :mad:
  16. bpate

    bpate Member

    Thanks for a great tutorial Charlie.

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