Author Topic: What happened to Highball ballast?  (Read 3124 times)

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w neal

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What happened to Highball ballast?
« on: April 27, 2016, 06:34:54 AM »
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I'm scared. Stock seems to be running low on Highball ballast most places. I hope we are not losing another manufacturer...
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TLOC

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2016, 08:44:01 AM »
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MLH stopped stocking it around Xmas of 2015. Walthers ran some big sale the 1st of the year and what they have left says discontinued when stock is gone. No idea if the guy from Highball in Cincinnati, Ohio just quit the business or passed. Either way, I think its a loss another great product is leaving us. I ordered some Arizona Rock direct and was almost as impressed as using the Highball.

TomO

Trainmaster247

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2016, 09:17:02 AM »
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So, I could have sold my two bags of granite ballast vs. mixing it with glue to make roads  :facepalm:

w neal

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2016, 12:02:15 PM »
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Great. Frickin' great.
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jdcolombo

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2016, 12:22:57 PM »
+1
I can also vouch for Arizona Rock & Mineral if you need a replacement for Highball.  It's real rock; it stays where you put it, and is appropriately-sized. 

Here are a couple of photos where you can see the ballast.  The first is one of my 1000-series cabooses sitting on a yard track.  The ballast is "Yard Mix".



And here's a photo where you can see the main-line ballast (I can't remember the name off the top of my head; I think it may be Norfolk Southern White Marble:



John C.

arbomambo

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2016, 12:48:41 PM »
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I agree...
although it's sad to see another hobby manufacturer leave, the AZ Rock and Mineral product is a superior product, with a much more diverse selection of colors and grades...
now, if HE decides to fold up the tents, we're SOL!
Bruce
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
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https://nationalt-traklayout.com/

[/ur

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2016, 01:03:20 PM »
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I agree...
although it's sad to see another hobby manufacturer leave, the AZ Rock and Mineral product is a superior product, with a much more diverse selection of colors and grades...
now, if HE decides to fold up the tents, we're SOL!
Bruce

Ahem... http://conrail1285.com/n-scale-ballast-using-sanded-grout/

Lemosteam

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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2016, 01:31:29 PM »
+1

Aaaaand the pitch... :trollface: :D

I've long said that my road to model railroad industry riches is in buying the stuff, slapping stickers that say "Ballast" on it, and selling it at 300% markup at train shows...

mu26aeh

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2016, 05:37:34 PM »
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I've long said that my road to model railroad industry riches is in buying the stuff, slapping stickers that say "Ballast" on it, and selling it at 300% markup at train shows...

Looking for a partner ?  :D

nkalanaga

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2016, 01:13:32 AM »
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I have used both Highball and AR&M, and feel that there isn't much difference between them.  In my case, the Highball I could find, 30(?) years ago, were mostly eastern "limestone" colors, so not usable as ballast on my Northwest railroad.  AR&M had the colors I needed.  But I did use the Highball as scenery material, along with their coal products, and and had no complaints.

If AR&M has the colors you need, they should work just as well as the Highball.  If you can afford it, figure out how much you'll need to do your entire railroad, then buy twice that much.  That's what I did, and the shed has a big pile of it, just in case.

Now for my alternative:  If you shop around, you might find some "mortar sand" of the right color, at a building or masonry supply.  It's very close to N scale ballast, and much cheaper.  If I had known that when I started, that's what I would have used for my MILW branch.
N Kalanaga
Be well

mcjaco

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2016, 03:35:19 PM »
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I agree...
although it's sad to see another hobby manufacturer leave, the AZ Rock and Mineral product is a superior product, with a much more diverse selection of colors and grades...
now, if HE decides to fold up the tents, we're SOL!
Bruce

LOL.  The AZ Rock guy says he's going to retire just about every year! 

robert3985

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Re: What happened to Highball ballast?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2016, 08:13:24 AM »
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I've got a pretty good stock of Highball Ballast, but I am definitely going to check out the "unsanded mortar" option.

I didn't find, nor did I expect to find a ballast that was 100% correct as far as size & color are concerned, and ended up screening Highball N-scale ballast, mixing in four colors, and some "real" screened dirt to arrive at the right colors for UP ballast in Weber & Echo Canyons.

Highball ballast seems to have a high dust content, and screening it with a very fine screen (I use a 100 mesh screen) gets rid of most of the dust.  The dust makes it look like rough concrete after soaking with either matte medium or Elmers.

I've used AR&M with good success on other layouts/modules and I screen it too to de-dustify it.  AR&M goes a lot darker than Highball after gluing down FYI, so just be aware of that.

Photo (1) - Highball N-scale ballast mixture (Lt. Grey, Dk. Grey, Brown, Cinders & real ,sifted dirt) at Wilhemina Pass in 1948:


Photo (2) - Highball "Cinders" ballasting my C40 Park City Branch, with a bit of screened dirt taken from the actual place sprinkled in and on:



If Highball Products is indeed belly-up, I better start looking for mo' Dk. Grey, Lt. Grey & Cinders....

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore