What Should I Do First?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by wt&c, May 8, 2001.

  1. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    Should I ballast first? or put down the grass?

    ------------------
    NARA Member #8
    www.a&a.77th.com/
    The Appalachian & Atlantic Railroad
    "QUALITY at WORK with SAFTEY in MIND"
  2. Shay2

    Shay2 Member

    wt&c...

    My vote is for ballast first.

    I used masking tape to contain the ballast and glue process.
    After everything was dry I removed the tape.

    Next I spread a 50/50 glue and water mixture with a brush up to the edge of the ballast. Sprinkled liberally with colored flock and after that dried I vacuumed up the excess flocking...
    Anything that landed on the ballast was sucked into the vac.
    I went back over some areas with a different colored/textured flocking to contrast my base color. Just use the glue sparingly.
    Then I used a cheap, unscented hairspray liberally to set everything.

    Check out Shamus's page on laying track and several other layout tips.

    Everything I've mentioned (except the masking tape) I've borrowed from someone along the way...and after doing 3 small modules I'm still learning.

    My 2¢

    Rich

    ------------------
    Rush Run River Logging Co.
  3. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    thanks rich I'l try that. OTHERS KEEP PUTTIN IN COMMENTS!!

    ------------------
    NARA Member #8
    www.a&a.77th.com/
    The Appalachian & Atlantic Railroad
    "QUALITY at WORK with SAFTEY in MIND"
  4. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi wt&c, welcome to the gauge, there are posts on the gauge dealing with track ballasting and painting, also the use of ground cover.

    Shamus
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    As a made up guide to what you do first, I decided to do it how nature or time would do it. eg. lay down the surface, then build it up as nature would over time.

    1. ground colour
    2. put down grass etc, then do the ballast, then grass/cover the edges of the ballst to simulate the grasses growing over a period of time.
    3. next comes heavier ground cover/undergrowth etc.

    Sorta like the ground was there before the station platform, Then you build on the ground surface you have created, just as they would have done when creating the railroad.

    So just think on how time/nature would have done it, and you cant go wrong........ hmmmmm

    TOOT!

    [This message has been edited by Woodie (edited 05-08-2001).]
  6. George

    George Member

    WT&C,

    Start with a bed of cinders.

    Put down black grit for this, paralleling the roadbed. Next, apply the ballast with the ballast overlapping the top of the cinder bed at the inside edge. It should be seen just a short distance from the edge of the ballast in the sticks, to reaching several feet out when approaching a populated area. [​IMG]

    George.

    [This message has been edited by George (edited 05-14-2001).]
  7. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    I was thinking on just plain ballasting with Sodder's extra fine ballast (medium gray) and then going back after I have the ballast glued down, by adding small piles of white and light yellow sand for engine sand sprayers (in a few places on sidings) and a minute amout of black ballast for spilled coal. Thanks s for the tips guys.

    ------------------
    NARA Member #8
    www.a&a.77th.com/
    The Appalachian & Atlantic Railroad
    "QUALITY at WORK with SAFTEY in MIND"
  8. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    I like the cinders along the outside of the tracks idea. Might try that one next.

    TOOT!
  9. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    WT&C,

    Just an added note. Weather the sleepes and tracks (shoul you desire to) BEFORE putting down the ballast.

    TOOT!
  10. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    Can I weather the tracks with just a regular can of brown spray paint, I really don't want an airbrush, consideroing the last on I had [​IMG]

    ------------------
    NARA Member #8
    www.a&a.77th.com/
    The Appalachian & Atlantic Railroad
    "QUALITY at WORK with SAFTEY in MIND"
  11. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    wt&c,

    I'm not sure I would risk spraypainting to weather the tracks. You will have an awful time trying to get your turnouts conductivity back to normal. May even break them tring to get the paint out of the frogs.

    I used artist acrylic paint, undiluted. Just slapped on the sleepes with a 1" brush, then did the rails separately with a 1/4" brush. You dont have to worry about being accurate or getting even coverage, cause your ballast will tone your painting effort down. Colours? use the "earthy" ones. Red Oxide, Yellow Oxide, Burnt Umber etc. I did the sleepes in burnt umber, and then made a mix of red oxide, and brown to "rust" the rails. Once finished, give the rail heads a good clean and sand. Make sure none of the paint clogs up the inside of each track, and is clear of the lugs that hold the track down. Hope this helps.

    TOOT!
  12. George

    George Member

    Put on some Mozart, and use a brush. You'll be glad you did BOTH!

    George.
  13. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    thanks for the suggestion woodie, I can get acrylics for about 19 cents (US) at ames.

    ------------------
    NARA Member #8
    www.a&a.77th.com/
    The Appalachian & Atlantic Railroad
    "QUALITY at WORK with SAFTEY in MIND"
  14. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Spraypainting track is no problem. (as long as the track hasn't been ballasted yet)
    Just cover the point areas of the turnouts with bits of masking tape, & spray.
    When the paint has dried, go back over the tops of the rails with a Bright Boy to get the paint off the railheads.

    [This message has been edited by Charlie (edited 05-10-2001).]
  15. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    I have done a 5 foot section of mainline trackage, I forgot how fakey it looked with my old HO layout, I will try the sray paint later.

    ------------------
    NARA Member #8
    www.a&a.77th.com/
    The Appalachian & Atlantic Railroad
    "QUALITY at WORK with SAFTEY in MIND"
  16. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    19 cents!!! [​IMG] A 200ml jar cost me $5 ($2.50 US) The local hobby shop tells me there is "student" acrylic artist paint and "professional" quality as well. I'm using the "student" stuff. It's half the price of the "professional". I'm only using this stuff on non-structures. Using the humbrol and floquil stuff for buildings rolling stock etc.

    TOOT!
  17. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    19 cents for 4 oz bottles.
  18. Biggerhammer

    Biggerhammer Member

    I'm no expert, but here's my method, mostly gathered from reading, deep thought, and a few mistakes along the way.

    Starting with bare plywood, I painted the whole thing a dingy brown that my local Home Depot had made as a mistake and sells for $3/gallon.

    When that's dry, pencil out the layout, with the pencil line being the center of the tracks.

    Glue down cork roadbed, one half at a time, with carpenter's glue. I found that little picture-hanging brads, driven to within 1/4-1/2 inch of the roadbed surface, hold the cork down firmly to dry well but are easy enough to pull later. If at all possible I try to stagger the joints so that the roadbed is smoother. I followed this up with some judicious razorblade planing to take out a small ridge in the center of the roadbed- it might well have been there because of too much glue on my part.

    Next, the track- code 100 nickel-silver flex track which I had already painted roof brown. While the paint was wet, a quick rub of a cloth took paint off the rail tops, and a pass with a bright boy after the paint was dry seems to have taken all traces of paint from the tops. Next time I'm going to use code 83- code 100 loks a bit clunky, accents the 'toyishness' of the trains. I tacked it down loosely, soldered the rails at each joint (after removing 3-4 sleepers around the joint), then replaced those sleepers and glued them (the removed sleepers) down. Then snug down the nails carefully- if you dimple the sleeper that holds the nail, you've created a wonderful derailment spot. I speak from experience! (if the sleeper is pushed down by the nail being too tight, the rails are closer together at that point than at any other- out of guage)

    Next, ballast. I have no turnouts on this layout as yet. Turnouts require some care in ballasting if you wish them to continue turning out after the ballast is laid. Oil the moving parts with an oil that won't attack plastic. Keep the ballast low enough that the moving rails won't hang up on it, and glue with care. Naturally, if it's a remote turnout, it'd be a good idea to turn off the power before spraying water and glue in the area.

    I used the plain grey ballast, poured over the road dry and adjusted with a foam paintbrush until I was satisfied. An old hairspray bottle filled with water and a few drops of dish soap was used to mist the new ballast, first spraying up in the air to get it damp then more directly to get the ballast soaked well enough- if water began to seep from the bottom of the ballast it was too wet.

    Once it's all reasonably well-saturated, I used an Elmer's glue bottle with Elmer's white glue diluted 50%-50% with water to drizzle glue over the still-wet ballast. Again, if glue began to seep from the bottom of the ballast I had used too much.

    One problem that I did see was where I had not gotten the ballast wet enough with the soapy water I would occasionally see bubbles when the glue came by- bubbles that displace the ballast. It makes a nifty-looking little crater that I'll have to remember for my next military diorama but should probably be avoided if possible for model trains. [​IMG]

    My next step was the natural- cleaning. Glue and ballast and soap are not kind to electrical conductivity.

    My final step, not yet completed due to lack of time, will be to lightly airbrush the whole track (ballast and all) with grimy black, then start on any individual detaisl such as weeds, spilled coal, etc.

    Now that you've ready my whole mini-thesis, read the caveat. I am new to the hobby. I've been blessed with a few good books on model railroad building but little experience, as yet. My methods are reasonably simple and have worked for me- in my little 4x8 layout. If you're considering between my advice and that of a much more experienced model railroader (Shamus, for example) then look on mine as the plan of an amateur- which it is- and on his (or hers) as the voice of experience.

    Thank you all. Comments are of course welcome.

    [This message has been edited by Biggerhammer (edited 05-12-2001).]
  19. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    BIghammer,

    Great minds think a like! Exactly the way I am doing it, except I'm using code 75 flex track and turnouts. I have 17 turnouts on my 1.2 X 2.4 layout, including a double slip. I didn't airbrush afterwards though. It all came up quite good for a first go.

    TOOT!
  20. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Everybody!
    For what it's worth, I think how & when you ballast the track would depend on what kind of track you're modeling.
    If you're modeling a neatly manicured mainline, then I think it's better to ballast the track last. This way, any scenicing materials that have strayed too close to the track will be covered by the ballast, & you will have more of a well-defined roadbed.
    Now as far as other types of track, (industrial, branch line, yards, & sidings) there are other approaches I would use.
    Say you have a rural branch line that hasn't seen a track gang for quite a few years. Ballast the track first, & then work your scenery rigtht up to the ballast, maybe spilling a little greenery between the rails. Also, don't ballast this type of track with that bright, clean looking gray ballast. Use something a little more toned down like buff, or cinders.
    For industrial, & yard track, I prefer not to use the cork trackbed. I just stick the track directly onto whatever subroadbed I'm using. I ballast the heavily used yard & industrial trackage with cinders. (very prototypical in the South, where I live) On lesser used trackage, or a really run-down industrial line, I just ballast the track with sifted dirt, & then just scenic right over the track, making sure nothing on the track is above tie-top level.
    Don't be squeemish about painting, weathering, & ballasting your track! It's one of the easiest, & most basic things you can do to improve the realism of your RR. Put some tape over your turnout points, & before you bond your ballast, take a brush, & brush out the flangeways in your frogs & guard rails. After the glue has dried, & you still find a stray piece of ballast or two in a flangeway, an x-acto knife will make short work of it. Don't put ballast on your throwbars, if a little diluted white glue gets one of them stuck, it'll break loose really easy, just go around & work all the throwbars back & forth, to make sure they're unstuck. If a point is failing to make electrical contact, fold a piece of fine sandpaper in half, & run it between the stock & point rails.
    DON'T PUT OIL ON YOUR TRACK!! Every kind of dirt in the world is going to get stuck in that, & you'll just end up with a big ball of nasty!

Share This Page