O scale Ballast

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by BobbyDing, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. BobbyDing

    BobbyDing New Member

    Hey folks,
    I've been looking around at ballast for my new layout and came across something I'd thought I would share. Maybe this has been mentioned before. Forgive me if it has.

    I wanted a brownish tone for my ballast. I looked at the offerings out there and found several. But my budget would not allow for most. In my wanderings I came across "Ground English Walnuts" at a local pet store (used for lizard bedding). It was $8 for a large bag, so I bought some. It is, of course, a light walnut color (tan), but I found that it takes clothing dyes very nicely. I've been able to color it many different shades of brown, black, red and orange. It weighs less than fish tank gravel. I tried bleaching it to see if I could lighten it, but that failed. So it's only usable for earthy tones.

    Has anybody else experimented with this?

  2. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    That sounds really interesting!
    Got any pictures you could post?
    Shouldn't be too much danger of magnetic materials in that stuff either...:thumb:
    Here's another thought...you could grind walnut shells in a blender to a finer grade for use with smaller scales...?
  3. BobbyDing

    BobbyDing New Member

    OK I'll give it a shot. I've supplied a penny and some Atlas track so you can judge the size. In the center is the original walnut bedding before dying. Going clockwise from right. Dark Brown, Cocoa Brown, Wine Red, Orange and finally, Black to the left side. The dark brown is about the same color as the plastic ties. These are the straight colors. I'm sure with some mixing, more are possible. Each was in the dye (RIT clothing dye) for about 10 hours, though it didn't need that much time to stain them. I suppose you could adjust the intensity by varying the time.


    Attached Files:

  4. BobbyDing

    BobbyDing New Member

    Yeah, I suppose a blender might make them finer. Or maybe ruin the blender! HA!
  5. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    That's a very cool trick. I like it. When you're done ballasting you can use whatever you have left over to make gondola and hopper loads too.
  6. BobbyDing

    BobbyDing New Member

    My thoughts exactly.

  7. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Great Idea!

    Hi Bobby,

    Thanks for the great idea!

    Ground Oyster Shells and other Bird Cage Grit works too...

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