Author Topic: Ballasting questions  (Read 1656 times)

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SD70ACe

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Ballasting questions
« on: December 12, 2010, 01:02:42 PM »
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I am steadily progressing on my layout, but as I go I keep wondering if I should ballast my track? I am using Kato Unitrack and keep flip-flopping on whether or not I should. I suppose I can just paint the ballasted roadbed and call it a day, but I keep wondering if I should quit being lazy and do it. Anyway, if anyone has experience with this stuff, please let me know!!

wm3798

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 01:36:20 PM »
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People use Unitrak primarily for its convenience and reliability.  Appearance rarely enters into it.  If appearance is important to you, then you will quickly grow weary of the 30" tall rails, the ties that are too big and too far apart, and the ballast that looks like sausage.  (Srapple, really, but if you don't live below the Mason Dixon line, you might not get the reference).

John Sing did a good tutorial on ballasting Unitrak, but really, you can only put so much lipstick on a pig.

Lee
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MichaelWinicki

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2010, 01:47:51 PM »
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I'd ballast it.

That would help the appearance. 

central.vermont

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2010, 04:08:32 PM »
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That was pretty good there Lee!!! You got scrapple and the pig all in one topic.  ;D ;D

Ummmm..........scrapple!!
Jon

SD70ACe

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 04:54:42 PM »
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Truthfully I can't really tell the difference between the rail height on Unitrack, code 80, or code 55. I don't even care about the tie spacing, but I would like to ballast it. Can anyone point me to that tutorial? Google has failed me.

Mr. G

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2010, 04:54:59 PM »
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If you're fixed on using Unitrack, then yes, ballasting would help negate some of the appearance problems.

Here's Sing's tutorial: http://home.comcast.net/~j.sing/Peavine_Layout_Overview.html#Kato_Unitrack 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 04:57:38 PM by Mr. G »
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wm3798

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 07:34:08 PM »
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Truthfully I can't really tell the difference between the rail height on Unitrack, code 80, or code 55. I don't even care about the tie spacing...

Maybe not lately, but now that the seed is planted, it will slowly grind you into a special kind of insanity.  You might as well succumb now and get it over with.

I 've come to understand that track is a major element of the scenery, as well as being fundamental to the operation of the trains.  When you look at track from this perspective, Unitrak quickly becomes unacceptable on just about every level...

That said, there are some here that go the next step, hand laying code 40 or even code 25 track!  I stick with c55 as a reasonable compromise in terms of appearance, operations, economics, and availability.

Lee
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SD70ACe

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2010, 09:32:59 PM »
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Maybe not lately, but now that the seed is planted, it will slowly grind you into a special kind of insanity.  You might as well succumb now and get it over with.


I personally think Unitrack looks pretty alright and in the words of Luke Skywalker "I'll never join you!!" Well, maybe a little further on down the road, but for now I am perfectly happy with my Unitrack and will try some of the ballasting options available before I trash it for anything else.

(Confession: I have about 3 dozen pieces of Atlas Code 80 flex in my closet...)

wm3798

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2010, 10:23:10 PM »
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But that's the best part about Unitrak...  You don't have to trash it... you can usually sell it and get most of your money back!  Hang on to that code 80 flex.  Makes good staging yards.  Now, in an effort to help you see the error of your ways...


Mmmm.  Tasty!


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SD70ACe

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2010, 12:29:10 AM »
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That is a pretty nice pic, but I didn't even really notice the rails. I was too busy looking at the buildings in the background and the surrounding scene...  :P  ;D  :P

Ryan87

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2010, 07:38:13 AM »
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That is a pretty nice pic, but I didn't even really notice the rails. I was too busy looking at the buildings in the background and the surrounding scene...  :P  ;D  :P

Everybody has different tastes as to what looks right... try testing a small piece of unitrak with paint and ballast and decide for yourself.

As for code 55 if someday the rails bother you then change (Don't take the joint just because someone's passing lol...  :D)
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Ian MacMillan

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2010, 08:21:27 AM »
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Truthfully I can't really tell the difference between the rail height on Unitrack, code 80, or code 55.

Cant tell the difference or choose not to care about it?...those are two different things! If you cant tell the difference I would suggest a trip to the eye doctor!  ;D
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wm3798

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2010, 08:31:21 AM »
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You don't notice the rail height in the shot, because it looks more... right.  Less obvious.  No sore thumb sticking out. 
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SD70ACe

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2010, 03:14:21 PM »
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Ha ha! Well Ian, I must admit that my eyesight could use a touch of fine tuning, but I think it's really more of a case of "I don't care". I will say that I really do like the way flex looks when it's laid out. It seems to have a bunch more options available in regards to whether or not I can do certain things, or make a lazy, winding curve without the restrictions of whether or not manufacturer X makes it or not. And wm3798, I will hook you guys up with some shots of my layout when it's completed and I will let you guys judge for yourselves on whether or not the rails really make the difference.


P.S. Damn you guys for poisoning my mind. I am now totally preoccupied with what I can do with that flex...

wm3798

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Re: Ballasting questions
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2010, 05:44:50 PM »
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Welcome to the Railwire.  You can thank us later.  ;)

Anyone else want some Kool Aid?
Route of the Alpha Jets

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net