Engine yard cinders

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by warren danzenba, Feb 27, 2003.

  1. warren danzenba

    warren danzenba New Member

    I model the steam era in HO, and pictures of engine yards appear to show fine cinders between the tracks almost up to the tops of the rails. What to use to duplicate this? I use black Woodland Scenics N-scale ballast (I like the smaller size) but even this is too course to use to duplicate cinders. Has anyone tried "crushing" N-scal ballast? Or crushing anything else to achieve this effect?
  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    I've seen ballast that is "black powder" ask at your LHS. - YOu never know what's out there. :)

    I think it was Woodland Scenics.
  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Try Checking out a craft store like Micheal's, Hobby Lobby or the craft dept. @ Wal~Mart. There is a fine black sand that is sold with the "sand art" supplies that may be just the ticket for what you want to do.

    Be sure to test it first with a magnet to be sure that its not magnetic and won't get into the motors of your locos. You should be able to apply it with the thinned glue and "wet water" method just like ballast. After its down and dry you might want to add a thin wash of a rusty brown color to it as coal cinders have a lot of that color in them.
  4. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Thanx for that tip, Vic, it's just the ticket!!:)
  5. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Warren and Cid,

    Vic is right with his warning about magnetic particles. Black sand for 'sand-arters' could contain ferrous oxide which can raise havoc with our motors.

    For industry yards and the area around the engine house I used very fine grained sand, I bought in a pet shop. They called it 'Bird Sand' because it was used to cover the floor of birdcages. It is almost white in color and has many other uses in landscaping, too!

    In my industrial yard I added black watercolor to the wet-water/glue mixture, then I repainted unsatisfactory spots with brown black watercolors. So I got that dirty, oil-soaked look.

    When filling in the sand between the rails just be sure to completely cover the ties, but leave room enough for the wheel flanges. As the picture shows, all you finally see are the railheads.

    BTW, my layout was N scale, so in H0 scale the ground structure should turn out even finer than in my pic.


    Attached Files:

  6. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    Railron; THANKS for the nice B &W photo.
    B & W conveys the feeling of an true-to-life old-time historical RR shot...we need to see more of these IMHO.:D :D :D
    regards / nostalgic old train nut Mike:)
  7. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member


    thank you for the compliment. I used to do my own developing and printing of B&W photographs waaaay back in the 1970's. I dug around in my photo archives, and here's another pic of my N scale layout - the Trim Creek Southern RR. It shows the engine terminal of Trim Creek and four of my scratchbuilt freight cars.

    (For the real oldtimers among us: Does anybody remember the 'Bulletin Car', the product of an NMRA contest? I think it was in 1972 or '73, when they printed cardboard sides in the NMRA Bulletin. All you had to do :rolleyes: was to build a scratchbuilt reefer to go with these sides! :eek: :D )

    And now for the running thread:

    here you see how the 'bird-sand-technique' mentioned above turned out in my engine house area - that's what you were looking for in the first place. As you see, the shading of the ground colors can be varied very well - from oil-soaked dirt to clean, sandy ground.


    Attached Files:

  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Bulletin cars

    Ron: I still have a full set of them, still in the Bulletins, waiting for me to develop either the skill to build them or the courage to cut up a magazine. :mad:
    Do you remember the one that was built with a bend in the middle because that was how the magazine arrived? :)

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