Finest Ballast

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by cflava, Sep 24, 2004.


Arizona or Woodland Scenics Ballast

  1. Woodland Scenics

    9 vote(s)
  2. Arizona Rock & Mineral Co.

    10 vote(s)
  3. Neither

    9 vote(s)
  1. cflava

    cflava New Member

    I have heard reports the woodland scenics "fine ballast" is still quite large for n-scale. I tried using it, and although my attempts to ballast some test track failed due to improper ballasting techniques, I still thought the ballast quite large. Another thing is they don't have enough colors between their grey and their black. I was looking at Arizona Rock & Mineral Co. ballast which has better color selection and they call their ballast extra fine. Which is actually finer between woodland scenics and Arizona Rock & Mineral. Which do you use?
  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Check out the craft sand at hobby lobby or other artsy store
  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Woodland Scenics ballast can also be made darker by using inkahol or wood stains.
  4. txcavgr

    txcavgr Member

    highball is the best I have seen, super fine too.
  5. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    For Ballast, I use the stuff from the local Dollarama, 650g of grey, black or brown for only $1.00. No magnetic particles in it. Either that or coffee grounds. Of course I am doing an 1880-1900 era layout.
  6. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    I used the Arizona Rock product on my Ntrak module. Looks good!
  7. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Great idea, Will.

    Another thot, my N scale friends, size vs. proportional size vs. perceived size

    Size - measure the real thing, divide by 87, uh 160, or whatever you fellers use. Heck just get a scale ruler.

    Prop size - proportion to track or LPB. Most items I compare to my LPB in my minds eye. "Three fingers wide, ya dats about right." But ballast is right up against our usually off scale track. Look at the real thing, immagine how many rocks stack up to make rail height. Emulate that on your little world.

    Perceived size - What looks right. Here is the important part, use what looks good ***without thinking about it*** If you hink about it, you end up with #1, size. No one is going to walk up to your layout and start thinking about you ballast. If you see someone staring at it, you crack them on the back of their head with the back of your hand, square between the ears. It leaves no marks and they will stop.

    IMHO: the three are listed in reverse order of importance. Porblem is #3 may be hard to immagine without trying it out, then you thought about it. So, I start with #2, and try to see if it fits #3.
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    A friend of mine that models in N scale uses Hallball Products Z scale ballast.
  9. dhutch

    dhutch Member

    its a problem

    - use some unbranded stuff my LMS has, which seems to large, but the what tthe heck, its come with a big plain bad, stapled at the top with "x fine" scribled on the size in indelable ink, and its only £1.50 a bag!!

  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I have a bag of very old John's Labs ballast (and glue) for N scale. When I used it, the grains were so fine it almost looked like plaster. It's one of those things -- scale may be too fine to distinguish.
  11. dhutch

    dhutch Member

    yes, i think thats exactly right,

    - i mean if you calculate the scale size for ballest, its gota be small!!

    - Or thinking for a moment, on a full scale track, how many induvidual peices of stone there are between each sleeper, and try and imagen that number of peices of model ballest between our 2mm sleepers!!!!



    ok, i did a bit of number crunching,

    - if a peice of full size ballest is 100mm [4"] diameter, scaled down to (british, 1:148) Ngauge size, it would be a diamater of 0.675mm [0.026"]

    - and if it where a larger, 250mm [10"] peice of ballest, scaled down, its still only 1.689mm [0.066"]

    - Or, if we try and do it the other way around, on average (as best as i can measure), the ballest the im using at the moment is about 1mm [0.0039"] dia, which, scaled up by a factor of 148:1, ie "full size" is 148mm [5.826"]

    So, in conclusion, im actually rather surprised how accurate our ballest is, and after all, even in the real world, different area or different railways have different sized ballest.

  12. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    What do you think about this stuff???

    Attached Files:

  13. mcbane666

    mcbane666 Member

    SD90 What are you using there? I like the look and doing ballast to scale is crazy talk, I would rather look at it and tell it's ballest.
  14. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

    Of the two choices in the poll, I absolutely prefer Arizona. First, it's real rock, unlike WS which is, I'm told, ground up walnut shells; second, it's significantly finer than the WS "fine" version.

    I still use the WS products, but not for ballast. I do use the WS "medium" and "fine" sizes on the kids' HO layout also.
  15. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I am going to use AZ rock & mineral balast for HO scale. I like the look of it much better than WS. I have heard (probably from someone on here) about magnetic particles being in the AZRM ballast. I havent checked the bag that I bought, but a magnet would be able to tell me pretty quickly. If I do find magnetic particles, I think I will just run a magnet trhough it, then make sure it is glued down really well.

  16. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    I've never seen the Arizona stuff, I've always used Highball or John's Lab ballast. Much finer, much closer to N-scale. The WS fine is even a bit coarse for HO scale, to my eyes.
  17. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I like the Arizona Rock and Mineral Ballasts. But i have used WS Ballast mostly because its somewhat cheaper. However, i think i am going to use only Arizona Rock and Mineral Ballast for my mainlines and leave the rest of the layout for the WS ballast.

    i really do like the looks of all the different shades that AR&M produces :thumb:

    As for the fineness of, i find the WS fine ballast good to use for HO scale lol. But i do use the Medium mostly from WS. I like the more chunky ballast look in between the rails and i think, in my personal opinion that the medium ballast looks great for HO scale

    I havnt checked AR&M's website in a while, im going to go do that right now :mrgreen:
  18. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Give us a link, could you?
  19. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    LOL i forgot to look at there site yesterday.... anyways, here is there web site:
  20. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    This thread has some good timing to it. I'm looking for some finer grade ballast to "bury" my yard tracks in. I've been using the WS fine grade ballast, however want to add a layer of "dirt" on top of the ties. I'll have to give them a call and get some recommendations on what to use to get the desired effect I'm looking for.

    I noticed that AR&M offer bulk shipping which seems like a fairly decent deal too for what you can get in a single shipment.

Share This Page