Nightmare on ballast street!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by vilefileman, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    I think you may find matte medium even more expensive. Re the WS cement, if it dries faster that may be a handy feature. I generally ballast in the evening, work on something else for a while if its not to late when I'm done, and its dry next morning, so for me drying time isn't important. And I have the white glue around for other things anyway. Concerning making a mess mixing it, or correct volumes, I keep an empty white glue bottle handy, I'll pour white glue from a new bottle between 1/4 and 1/3 full, then add water till not quite full, cap and shake. No mess, no fuss and exact ratio doesn't seem important, always dries with good bonding capability. The ratio is more important if you attempt to spray it, though I'll never do that again. Using the bottle to apply is so easy, and much neater! No need to cover things you don't want the glue on. And you can keep the mixture you don't use for at least a couple weeks in the bottle, just shake well or perhaps add a bit more water the next time you use it.

    Gary
  2. toolman

    toolman Member

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    I am ready to ballast, what I plan to do is to make up length of track with the type of road bed I am using and try the various methods you guys mention about, decide and practice till I feel comfortable.

    toolman
  3. vilefileman

    vilefileman Member

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  4. robt46

    robt46 Member

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    Wow, great imput from everyone. with all these tips & tricks it makes me more confident in tackleing this. V, the 3 attachments ,is that yours that you were doing? I took a closer look, was that the ballast build up in the ties. Hope the imput from the guys helped you. I know it's going to help me. I'll be getting the supplies early next week than diving in. I noticed there was different sizes for the ballest. fine med course. At least its stated in the catalog. Is it personal preference or should I stick to a certian size. And why are there different sizes. Guess its for different Gauges. Although it's in the Walthers HO catalog. See how sharp my mind is. Hehe Robt.
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Robt: I think you may find that not only do you have F M C, but you may have them in different scales.
    What you pick is personal artistic taste. Real ballast varies in size, especially on an old bit of track. I find that some fine ballast gives no impression of texture, just as if you put some plaster betwen the ties, even though it's scale. Start with medium (small bag) and see if it looks OK or wrong one way or another.
  6. FiatFan

    FiatFan Member

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    What I use for applying the glue mixture is one of those epoxy applicators that one can find inthe big box lumber stores. I tried using it to apply alcohol but the alcohol destroyed the gasket material in the applicatior. (I had never used alcohol as a wetting agent and wanted to try it.) I went back to the spray bottle to mist the water on. Then mix up some white glue and water about 50/50. Then I tip the bowl and retract the plunger. This draws the glue into the applicator. Then I squirt it gently on the ballast. Allow to dry over night (set a small fan to blow on it if you're impatient).

    One thing to keep in mind is that when the glue dries, the trains will be noisier since the glue makes everything rigid. Has anyone found anything with better sound absorption properties?

    Good luck!

    Tom
  7. robt46

    robt46 Member

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    David, thanks, I'll do just that. I was wondering how fine the fine was. The medium is what I'll try. I'm trying to duplicate the same size and color that I checked out at a local yard close by. I also noticed that every thing is rather flat. track close to ground etc. not a lot of weed growth or ground cover around. Looks pretty good. I think mabe to course of ballast may look a little strange. Tom I got some of those applicators from a craft shop. gonna try it out. Never thought about the noise thing. Interesting. Thanks.Robt.
  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    Acrylic Matte Medium dries more flexible therefore less noisy...somewhat. What we use at the club for ballast is sifted traction sand straight from the sanders on locos at Flomaton Yard in Alabama. You'll find piles of it everywhere in a yard and, of course, don't do this w/o the yardmaster's permission. It looks great...

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  9. robt46

    robt46 Member

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    Traction sand Ehh! I think I saw some of that around the yard. Never thought of it. Think I'll mosie on down there. See if the CSX is sitting there. Remember seeing it near the track. That pic is terrific. Looks great. Acrylic Matte medium stays flexible Hmm. good tip. Thanks Bob.Now I gotta see if anbody is at the Yard. Last Time I was there, The old CSX was sitting there Idleing door wide open, nobody was around. Could'nt beleive it. I was there for about 1 hr. Nobody. Guess they figured nobody would want a dirty old EMD. Hehe Robt. I'll have to take the camera. Get a shot of the thing sitting there running. Ha.
  10. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

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    Here is ballast I have just done as I described above.

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  11. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Hey Robin, that looks great, I'm guessing that's your new HO layout? Thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and show what I meant about keeping ballast below tie height. Also the imporance of painting the rails and ties, as you've done. Oops,can't post a pic using quick reply. Next post!

    Gary
  12. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Here's the pic I meant to attach.

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  13. robt46

    robt46 Member

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    Wow, that's a great shot. that's exactly what I want to do. Everything is exactly how I want it. Color, Ballast size and the flat look without the buildup. Really follows the prototype. If I can do that I'll be satisfied. They are two great pics. Thanks Robin and Bob. Both pics give me a real visual on what to do. Thanks for all the info I know it's going to help tremendously.Gary saw your shots great pics. That is exactly what I wanted to do is keep the ballest as low and flat as I can. These pics and the info are great guides. Robt.
  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Robt: did we mention: Keep it out of the switch points!
    Even CNR keeps it below tie level where the point mechanism is. Look at that part of a switch next time you're at the yard.
    For models, keep the ballast low over the entire stretch where the points move.
  15. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

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    That's a great photo Gary. Yes it is my HO Georgetown Sub mini layout. As David says I keep the ballast very low around switches.
  16. robt46

    robt46 Member

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    David thanks for the tip. I'll do just that. Keeping it clear of the entire stretch of the point mechanism. I know that would be the part I'd screw up. Never thought of looking at the switches at the yard. I'll try to take a pic or two for reference. Thanks again. Robt.
  17. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    I do my switchpoints by first coating the roadbed underneath with a product called "No fire Snow". It's made for ceramics artists and comes in a variety of names. Wal-Mart carries it under the name "Decorator Snow". It is a white acrylic paint with a gritty texture added that looks like small ballast. I then paint it with a matching color to my ballast. Then I mount my turnout. Finally, I work my way up to and around the points, oiling them a little around the throw rod as an added precaution.
  18. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Want to guess how much of this advice comes from experience?
    Also keep ballast out of frogs and guard rail flangeways and from between the points and the stock rails. Best to clear these areas after the ballast goes down but before any wetting or gluing.
  19. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

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    You should not be afraid to put some ballast around the switches just like the real thing. Just be careful and use minimum amounts of ballast. Here is a photo of one of mine. It operates fine with no problems.

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  20. robt46

    robt46 Member

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    Bob, thanks for the tio. I'll keep my eyes out for that stuff. Try it out. Mabe that will keep me out of trouble.David, that advise must have been "hard learned". I'll definately take your advise. Robin great pic. Thanks. I can see what everyone is saying about the mechanisms. I know I would have gotten into trouble. Last count there were some 20 odd switches to do. Hehe-- That would have been the Nightmare Part. Glad I happened on this subject. And everyones advise is priceless. Now I can't wait to get started. If there is any more tips or tricks please keep them coming. One question I have is for some ground cover in spots. I thought that I could add it in after the ballest was set. But would'nt it look like it was thrown on top. instead of kinda growing up through the ballest. At the yard I noticed some green and a lot of stains. Mabe I'm getting ahead of myself. I was just wondering. ( I don't know why I do that. (getting ahead of myself.) See, mabe that's why my wife says I drive her crazy???Hehe. This is a great thread. Hope there's more. Thanks guys. Robt. Oh yeah, Robin is that a medium sized ballest. Just wondering.