Newbie with ballast question

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by mlbrenn, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. mlbrenn

    mlbrenn New Member

    I'm new at this model RR stuff (the things we do for our grandkids) I've got the track layed out and the cork roadbed in place. I'm ready to start ballasting, my question is do I want to use fine or medium ballast for HO scale?
    Thanx in advance for your time.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Depends on the look you want. Medium Woodland Scenics ballast scales out to 3-4.5" diameter ballast, while the fine is more like 1-3", according to the package on my table and their website.

    Having just ballasted a section of track with "brown medium", I think I would have preferred the fine...! hamr

  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Not an easy question to answer for sure.

    It depends on what you are trying to model and the level of realism you are trying to achieve. Time, place and the type of ballast a particular railroad name has or is using may also affect your decision.

    Some guys will tell you that even the WS fine ballast is too big even for HO scale. For the record, I did use the WS fine stuff for my HO RR and I am ok with the look of it. I think medium or large ballast is too big though.

    There is a lot of info even on this site about ballast and how to apply and secure it to the layout. Do a quick search and you are sure to come across several threads that go into detail on the subject.

    Like this one about the finest ballast makes available...
  4. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    There is a weird thing with models, sometimes. If you make everything to scale, some details disappear, and things don't look right, because we "know" that those details shoud be there (rivets are one example). Balast is the same way. If you use "scale" balast, it will look like sifted flour, and lacking texture, will look weird (but may look great in a photo). So, exagerate the ballast a little, and do what you think looks best. WS medium looks ok in HO, in my opinion, but WS fine is also suitable for HO.
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    When I worked in N scale I used some really fine ballast. When it was laid it looked as if I'd just rubbed plaster between the ties, the surface was so smooth. So try a bit of each and see.
    I think that a mix of medium and fine will do best. Real ballast is not uniform unless it's fresh.
  6. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Here is a picture using Woodland Scenics medium balast:


    I have the same opinion as Kevin. Although fine ballast may be closer to scale, I like to see the texture of the ballast, and after trying both, I went with the medium as shown in the pic. David also brings up a good point about mixing both fine and medium. If I were to to that, I would go heavier on the medium. :winker:

    I guess the bottom line is, there is no right or wrong here....just personal preference. I bet your Grandkids probably won't notice the difference or even care, because they's all about the fun! :thumb:
  7. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Uh..Uh....That was all our excuses also....

    Welcome to The Gauge!
    I model HO scale and use Woodland Sceneics medium for all my ballasting needs.

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