Ready to Ballast

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by billwv, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. billwv

    billwv Member


    I'm ready to ballast track on my HO shelf layout, and would appreciate help with some questions.

    I'm hoping to get an unkept industrial site look.

    1. Is Woodland Senics ballast stone or foam?

    2. Will Woodland Scenic ballast mix well with their foam earth and soil turf for an earth filled ballast mix look?

    Any suggestions or help, appreciated. Thanks.

    Bill [​IMG]
  2. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member


    Hey, Bill!

    On your shelf layout, is there a "main line" (even a branchline) or some such that passes through the industrial siding scene? If you're looking for a run-downish industrial spur, perhaps you shouldn't use ballast at all - just use sand or dirt, likely right up to the top of the ties, possibly even covering a few with lots of weeds and miscellaneous junk on the ground. This would provide an excellent contrast with a well-maintained "mainline" that is more well used.

    Sand and dirt are a great price - free - but need to be sifted through a fine strainer, and have a magnet run through it to remove any metal particles that couls wind up fouling your locomotives running gear. Many folks like to bake their dirt or sand in the oven at a low temperature to kill any critters that may be lurking in the ballast...

    If you do decide to go with store-bought ballast, pay close attention to the size. Most everyone (me included) tend to go with ballast that scales out to be way, way too big for the scale they're working in.

    Keep in mind that I'm NO expert. This is just what I've seen on some of the lesser used sidings in my area. You might even want to take a jaunt down to a few in your neck of the woods. If you do, be sure to get permission for being there.
  3. billwv

    billwv Member

    Thanks Steve for the response and some good ideas.

    I think I want as you suggest: sidings: most dirt, some ballast and more used track: most ballast some dirt. I like your idea of some contrast identifying the (supposed) through line.

    My thought with dirt was that it would turn to mud when wetting and gluing it down.

    The layout is so small (18 inches by 8 feet) that cost is not a major concern; hence, Woodland Scenics could be an easy way to get the desired results.

    Thanks, again.

  4. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Don't forget, for that "run down" look, be sure and rust up those rails (sides only of course).
  5. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    the rails of a little used siding will be as said over grown with grass or weeds if in a heavy industral area weeds will be fewer but there will be a lot of wind blowen junk around rails will be irregular(meaning that the rails gauge will vary slightly and will not be level) next time i get into town will take a pic of a ideal siding to model.
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Bill: WS ballast is separate "stones"; I heard that it's actually walnut shells (let's start a rumour, anyways). It's a bit larger than their grass, but probably not compatible with the coarse foliage, unless you add it afterward.

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