DocWayne and Anyone Else...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Gary S., Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    How do you ballast and scenick the track under the silos as in the following photo?

    I've got a couple structures where the building is over the tracks and supported by columns. My buildings have not been attached to the layout yet.

    Attached Files:

  2. I would just do it before the building is down, and if you got any material where the building footprint is, just scrap it up the excess. Decorate around the columns with foliage and call it good.
  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    For industrial tracks I use finely sifted dirt I sweep off my garage floor. I pass a magnet over it as other people have recommended to catch any particls that might try to find their way up into my locomotives. I think it makes a good contrast to the heavily ballasted main lines.
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I'm not sure it would be ballasted. The track is not exposed to the weather, so you don't worry need to worry about drainage, and it's not hi-speed.

  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thanks for the responses, guys... but I wasn't so much talking about what kind of stuff to put on the tracks, rather, I was asking how do you put it down?

    Regardless of whether it is just some dirt and ground foam versus actual ballast.... if you do it with the building in place, you have to reach in between the columns and under the "ceiling" to do the work, and that looks pretty difficult. On the other hand, if you don't put the building down, then you have to somehow allow for the columns to fit down in the "ballast".

    So I was expecting some thoughts more along those of wildcatfootball's. Any further thoughts on that?
  6. TCH

    TCH Member

    I agree with wildcatfootball

    seems to make a lot of sense to me
  7. You bring up a good point with that. You could pile up (although not much) foliage around the posts until you get your desired look, but I guess it would just be resting on the ballast, or what ever other scenery is there. I'm kind of interested now to see just how Doc did it.
  8. jimh

    jimh Member

    Even though I have not tackled anything like that yet, I think the way to go about it would be to put the building where you want it (loose) and mark the edges of the posts and the building itself. Pick up the building and lay down your ballast in between those lines. You could use a scrap piece of plastic or some kind of paint scraper as a guide to keep the areas where the building will set free of you ballasting materials, or you could put down some masking tape to protect the area and when it everything is dry you should be able to pull up the tape and have a nice clean line.

    That would take care of the inside portion, and then when you place your building for good it should not be too hard to get the sides of the posts. If you feel they are too close together then mark off the sides off the post too while marking everything else and lay down those areas too building free.

    Anyway once the building is back in it would then only be a matter of doing touch up on the scenery.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    This is also another reason to use an eyedropper, rather than a sprayer, for ballast and ground foam. If you elect to have the building fixed in place first, then you can use a spoon or whatever to get the materials in place, and reach in with the eyedropper to precisely apply the alcohol (wetting agent) and 50-50 glue mix.

  10. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    bumping for DoctorWayne...
  11. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Hi Gary,

    Wayne has been having some computer problems and wasn't able to join us for a few days. Just thought I'd let you know..and give you another bump so he sees this! :)
  12. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Gary, the only reason I didn't post before was jimh beat me to it. Mark where your columns or walls will be, mask them and apply your ground texture, put the building in place, then touch up.
  13. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    thanks for the input and ideas... what I have planned is to cut a piece of "engineered" wood flooring (5/16" thick) to match the shape of the main structure. Then I'll wrap that in Seran Wrap, then screw it down to the layout in the exact place the main structure sits. As for the columns, I'll cut some short pieces of the square plastic I used for the columns and screw them to the layout where the actual columns go. A little coating of vaseline on each one should keep the scenery materials from sticking. Once the scenery is down, I pull the "fake" columns and "fake" main building up, and theoretically the actual structure should drop right into place.
  14. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Hi Gary. :wave: Sorry I'm late to the party, but I got held-up by a computer malfunction.
    The building in the photo, the silo loading track at GERN, was put in place before the ballast was glued down, although the building was not fastened to the layout. I used a paper cup to dump the ballast/ground cover between the columns, spread it with a 1/2"-3/4" brush, then did the tap-tap-tappity thing with the brush handle. Since there's nothing in the way other than the columns, I was able to use my "wet water" sprayer from various angles to soak the area, then applied glue with my dropper bottle.
    This part of the facility wasn't in place at the time (even though it's supposed to be the older part of the complex :rolleyes: ).

    The track between the buildings was done with the "older" structure in place.

    As was the track by the loading dock.

    This helps to keep the buildings from moving around should a massive derailment occur, :rolleyes: but still allows for removal, in case I ever get around to installing the second level of the layout. One of the support brackets will require that the entire main structure along the backdrop will need to be removed and part of the roof modified to clear the bracket.

    I don't worry about getting "wet" water on the buildings, as it has no effect on the styrene unless they're very dusty: "mud" weathering on a roof is generally not very convincing. ;)

  15. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Is the only problem getting the ballast in there and all arranged? How about taking a drinking straw, split it open on one end, and use it as a small scoop to pick up ballast and arrange it under the building? That should work, no?
  16. galt904

    galt904 Member

    Wayne, am I reading this right, that you're using the ballast "curbs" to lock your buildings in place? Neat idea....
  17. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Actually, I don't think that the ballast, or at least very much of it, is required. Enough of the diluted glue mixture seeps under the building to keep it from moving, yet it can be moved, if required, without too much effort. Bertram's Machine Works has only a thin scattering of gravel in the parking lot/shipping area, and only on the east side - there are sidewalks to the north and south, and bare plywood to the west, between the unseen back wall and the retaining wall of the grade separation.

    The only structures on the layout that are actually fastened in place are the stock pens: the corner posts, and some intermediate ones on long sections, are set into holes in the plywood or plaster base. And what few details you see in any scene are loose.

  18. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hey DocWayne,

    Glad you're back! Thanks for the info. I'm hoping to put the ballast/scenery in around the buildings so I can routinely take them off the layout. Reason is, as big as my structures are, it is going to take me awhile to fully complete them = paint, windows, weathering, details. I want to have the layout mostly scenicked with the unfinished structures in place sometime in the near future. Then I can work on the structures at my leisure. I'll remove them from the layout and take them to the workbench, then put them back as I getthings completed.

    I haven't done it yet, but my plan is to put seran wrap around the buildings, then set them where they go. Then I'll do the ground cover and glue and all that. Then after a couple days of drying, I should be able to lift the buildings back out.

    I'll keep ya posted on how things work out.
  19. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    The saran may help to avoid actually gluing the structures in place, but it may be quite difficult, once the building has been lifted, to get it back into position without having it sitting atop some of the ground cover that'll break loose as you're putting it into place. My Wilkinson-Kompass building has a long covered siding, closed except for the ends, and it was impossible to get the wet water or the glue to where it was needed. I ended up ballasting the track and a bit along each side of it with the building removed, set the building in place, and then applied what ground cover and glue that I could. The covered part of the siding is just over 100' long.


    I certainly won't discourage you from trying the trick with the saran, but for what you want to do, I'd permanently ballast the stuff that I could, and when it had dried fully, do the rest loose, for your open house. After the public has left, and you're ready to finish the structures, use your hosiery-clad vacuum to pick up the loose stuff for reuse later.

  20. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I understand what you're saying, Doc. I'm going to give the seran wrap a try on one of the buildings. Hopefully, since I am working with building flats, I can make ths work. If it doesn't, I'll tear out the edge and use the method you mention on it and the rest of the buildings.

Share This Page