Author Topic: Ballast first or weather track first?  (Read 3891 times)

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unittrain

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Ballast first or weather track first?
« on: October 03, 2016, 05:11:06 PM »
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Got my Scenery Express ballast and now ready to weather and ballast my track on my Truss bridge module. I already glued the track down (ME code 55 track unweathered rail) I used to spray paint my track with Rustoleum paint then glue it down but chose to do it the opposite way this time, do I atleast spray paint the track then ballast then chalk weather or ballast last? I seen a chalk weathering tutorial where you powderize the chalk then mix it with alcohol then brush it on the ties and rail. Any insight appreciated.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 05:17:33 PM »
+3
Weather track.
Ballast.
Weather again.

Lemosteam

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 06:23:40 PM »
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Weather track.
Ballast.
Weather again.

Bastige.

Chris333

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2016, 08:43:16 PM »
+1
Weather ties, ballast, paint rails.

I painted my rails before and the ballast left a white-ish powder residue. Had to give it another coat of paint.

This line shows before and after. I painted the ties "railroad tie brown" and rails "rail brown" then added ballast. On the right is what I was left with. On the left is after re-painting the rails.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 04:50:06 PM by Chris333 »

mu26aeh

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2016, 08:50:15 PM »
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I hit my track (rails and ties) with weathered black from the airbrush, then flat black rattle can when I ran out of paint for airbrush.  Ballasted everything, then went back with airbrush with blacks/browns/rusts for highlights.

Angus Shops

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2016, 09:35:52 PM »
+1
I'll add this: with an appropriate paintbrush, paint some ties with a variety of dark gray, light gray and brownish tones to represent ties of different ages and conditions. Mainline can be generally darker 'newer' ties with spurs and yard track having more lighter colours representing older deteriorated ties. Easiest before ballast, but I've done it after as well. It's a subtle but effective way to add to the weathering effect. An enterprising person might even come up with a fabricated styrene mask and speed up the process with an airbrush...

Geoff

robert3985

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2016, 11:46:34 PM »
+2
(1) I use Krylon or Rustoleum Camo Ultra-flat black as a first spray on laid track that's been tested and is ready to run.  I burnish the paint off railheads before it cures (about 15 or 20 minutes after spraying) with an old flexible Brite-Boy.  Then, (2) I hit it again, lightly...directly from the top with Camo Ultra-flat brown, so only a little overspray hits the sided of the rails, but the ties are lightly, but completely covered.  Burnish off the paint again...
I let this sit for an hour or so, hitting it with a hair dryer to speed the curing up...then, (3) I paint three or four lighter and darker shades of brown onto random tie tops.
Then...(4) ballast.
(5) Lastly I airbrush a reddish-brown color in the middle of the ballasted track to represent Union Pacific's weed killer, which slowly accumulates over the years...fading out just to the outside of the tie ends hitting ballast, ties, and tops of rails...the burnish once again before the paint cures.

This works well for me and the UP mainline I'm attempting to accurately depict.

Railcraft C55 superelevated and glued to Midwest Cork Products cork roadbed...painted, weathered & ballasted as stated above:


Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

unittrain

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2016, 03:32:38 PM »
+1
Your track work is absolutely the best  :o :o track is just as critical as the trains so it needs to be just as realistic.

robert3985

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2016, 10:33:47 PM »
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Your track work is absolutely the best  :o :o track is just as critical as the trains so it needs to be just as realistic.

Thanks!  I don't know if it's "the best" but I take the extra efforts to satisfy only myself.  I hate to look at anything I've built or done and continually say to myself "You should have done it THIS way!"...which I have done plenty of times over the years!  :D

Another tip about ballasting.  If you choose to use any of the "real rock" ballasts such as Highball (I don't know if its still available), Arizona Rock and Minerals, etc., it has a lot of dust in it.  If you don't get rid of the dust, it can turn into a concrete-like mass when you apply your ballast adhesive.

To make the small rocks much more uniform and to get rid of most of the dust, I screen my ballast twice.  Once through a screen that has openings in it to allow only rock granules smaller than .022" dia through...which is 3.5 N-scale inches.  Then, I screen it to only let rock granules smaller than .013" through.  That's 2 N-scale inches.  You'll be surprised at how much of your ballast is smaller than 2 scale inches, and does not represent anything prototype Class I railroads allow when they screen their real ballast.

I keep both of the rock screenings for various scenery duties in separate containers.

This will add a lot to the prototype look of your N-scale ballast, because it WILL be protoypically scale-sized.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

randgust

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2016, 03:58:12 PM »
+2
In the middle of that process right now on the Ross Run module.    I've always done track painting first, then scenery, and ballast last unless there's good reason not to - like you're displaying a module and the track - as is - looks so bad you can't stand to look at it.

I've been experimenting with the track painting methods in MR as they were somewhat similar to what I've done before with my own experimentation, but on my logging railroad and steam-era I wanted a lot more weathered-looking ties; i.e. non-creosoted.   So I'm starting with a coat of rattle-can gull gray, then applying a wash of 50% dirt and 50% grimy black - diluted down about 50% on the ties - brush applied.   Then I'm brush-painting rails.    Then a THOROUGH retest of everything to clean up and make sure I haven't messed everything up.   Then scenery, and whatever I'm using for ballast last.  On the logging spurs it will be dirt to about 50% of crib depth.

I'll still do a touch-up after everything, but not much has to be done.

I did the West Hickory module this way and it came out the way I wanted - this is PRR 1920's.    I did the dirt ballasting on the industrial spurs, cinders on the side tracks, and Arizona Rock & Minerals PRR medium gray on the main.   I've got a lot more structures to add and fill in, but the module was going on display at Altoona so I 'ballasted' the sidings.

This isn't Bob's quality of track, it's mostly Peco C55, but I'm happy with the results.  Those gray-brownish ties are what I was really after here.   I got complimented on my 'handlaid' track on that module, and had to vehemently deny it - so what gave me that review was the appearance of hand-stained ties.
 


« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 03:59:47 PM by randgust »

unittrain

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2016, 08:39:56 AM »
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Did some chalk weathering on my track (rubbing alcohol and powdered pastels that I grated), only thing now is the ballast I did a small area with Scenery Express #50 light Grey and to me its to sand like in texture , has anyone used their #40 on N scale track? I've  used WS medium before and liked the texture and color but its too light and floats.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2016, 11:53:23 AM »
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Did some chalk weathering on my track (rubbing alcohol and powdered pastels that I grated), only thing now is the ballast I did a small area with Scenery Express #50 light Grey and to me its to sand like in texture , has anyone used their #40 on N scale track? I've  used WS medium before and liked the texture and color but its too light and floats.

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

unittrain

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2016, 02:55:34 PM »
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The ballast turned out not too bad mixed the light grey with the darker blend and like the look, question I know with WS you have to set the ballast with alcohol or use dish detergent, but with the real rock products can you just go straight to the glue/water mixture? Also what's the best glue to use for the real rock products?

robert3985

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2016, 05:08:45 PM »
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The ballast turned out not too bad mixed the light grey with the darker blend and like the look, question I know with WS you have to set the ballast with alcohol or use dish detergent, but with the real rock products can you just go straight to the glue/water mixture? Also what's the best glue to use for the real rock products?

For my real-rock ballast, I use a very fine sprayer (atomizer) to apply a soap/water wetting agent first.  Make sure you completely soak the ballast.  Most sprayers drip, so be careful where the drippage is falling as it will crater your nicely graded ballast.  Don't even think of using an empty 409 or Windex sprayer because their spray is much much too coarse.  Then, using a large-dose medicine dropper, I carefully flood the ballast with a water, soap (a few drops of Dawn) and Elmer's Glue-All white glue mixture.  I used to use Liquitex Matte Medium, but I kept getting a white "frosting" on everything...which doesn't happen with the Elmer's. Maybe I just had bad luck with the matte medium being faulty or really old???

I keep hearing reports that 70% alcohol is better than the detergent/water wetting agent, but I haven't tried it yet.  I'm getting excellent results with the soapy water wetting agent, and haven't found a reason to change.

My "atomizer" is an empty plastic "finger" sprayer that originally had CA accelerator in it.  I think these small sprayers are available at your LHS...empty.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore


unittrain

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Re: Ballast first or weather track first?
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2016, 05:26:23 PM »
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Got the ballast almost ready to glue.
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5584/30113785320_209a44e096_k.jpg
Thanks for the gluing tips Robert your track is amazing.