N Scale Track Ballasting

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jland31, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. jland31

    jland31 Member

    Here comes a stumped Newbie needing help.

    I've about 60 ft. of N scale flex track just nailed to cork roadbed that has been glued to the table. It needs to be ballasted. And I'm somewhat of a nut re: realism. It should look as real as reasonable.
    1- is the track OK just nailed to the cork. Should it be further secured?
    2- How to ballast? I'm sure there must be dozens of ways to do it & I'm open to all including which products are best.

    In case it matters the cork is glued to blueboard.
    Thanx for any tips you can send my way.
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Look in The Academy for one way.
  3. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    First thing I would do is (based on you said you wanted realism) is REMOVE the nails. If your track is not already painted flat black do so now before you ballast. I use Peco N-Scale code 55, if you used heavier code track it may still look a little out of scale no matter what you do. After the track is painted lay the ballast (I use Woodland Scenics fine grade med. gray color) to the TOP of the ties. Spray with a 50/50 mix of alcohol and water then follow up with a 50/50 mix of white glue and water. After it dries use a eye dropper and apply a 25/ 75 mix of india ink and alcohol to the ballast to "age" it. The tracks on right are Southern's mainline and done that way. The track on the left with the blue boxcar is a spur track and is ballasted with a 50/50 mix of "dirt" and "weeds", the track to the left of it is Nantahala Midland (shortline) mainline and is ballasted with a 50/50 mix of "dirt" and ballast. This IS NOT the only way to do it, just the way I like. The photo shows what the finished product looks like. What ever way you decide, good luck and keep us posted! :D
    P.S. You said the cork was glued to the roadbed, not clear if track is glued to the cork. If not leave nails in till ballast is dry then remove the nails.

    Attached Files:

  4. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Tyson is right on that one. Remove the nails. Also, click on the "search" button, and look for "ballast" in previous threads. There is heaps of methods, and way of doing it. All very similar, but vary a little in meterials, and methods. Painting (weathering) the rails and ties is also a good idea first. :cool:
  5. billk

    billk Active Member

    Speaking of which, has anyone ever tried using a permanent-ink type magic marker, brown in color, to weather the rails? Seems to me it would be a pretty quick way to do it.
  6. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Brown might be allright in the larger scales where the track is closer to scale then N-Scale track is. But brown which even dark brown is a lighter color then black makes the rail look twice as big. In N-Scale it is a constant battle to "shrink" it back down to scale IMHO. The trouble with using the magic marker method is all the ones I tried took several "coats" to cover then it dries too shiny.
  7. billk

    billk Active Member

    OK, black then? (Or pink or green or ...)
  8. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    I thought Curmudgeon was a place in New Jersey?:D

    Way to go! Pink ties, purple rails! Imagine an all flouro layout.... blue ballast, green loco, orange freight cars...... all in flouro!! Under UV light! Now that, I'd like to see!!:eek: :eek: :eek:
  9. Sempak

    Sempak Member

    Don't give me ideas!

    You should see some of the paint colours my local newsagent has in it's cheap acrylics section. All I wanted was some yellow oxide :confused: !

    --Sempak (Chris)
  10. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    The yellow oxide I use is Global Colours Student Acrylic 200ml $5.25 a jar. It covered my whole layout (as a base colour for the plaster), with plenty left over!:cool:

    I know what you mean about the "other" colours!!!:eek:

Share This Page