Author Topic: Looking for ballasting advice  (Read 688 times)

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Tjack757

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Looking for ballasting advice
« on: September 18, 2023, 06:26:02 PM »
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Let me start by saying I will be ballasting Kato Unitrack, as that was the path my local hobby shop sent me down on my return to model railroading.
I did a test run with some Kato ballast and it does not fill me with joy. lol I am looking to ballast my track with a good quality medium to dark grey. Also I am running 33mm on center between my double tracks and to use less ballast I would like to fill the gaps. I have seen where people use cork board and I saw a video where a guy used DAP concrete patch as a filler.
Thanks!
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« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 06:28:55 PM by Tjack757 »
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dem34

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Re: Looking for ballasting advice
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2023, 09:18:35 PM »
+2
After doing this for a while I realized when looking at the Effort to result delta I have achieved the best results by just ballasting the sides of the plastic ballast then doing a thin even line down the center. Then the standard alcohol and glue along track center letting it flow into the ballast. As this happens then carefully filling in any jagged or displaced with pinches of ballast. Once dry, then simply airbrushing the ballast color I want, this unifies the plastic and rock bits to a uniform look. Then just brush painting the track and ties normally. Uses a minimum amount of ballast and avoids the endless battle of trying to get the tiny specks off the tops of the ties.

For fill I like to use sculptamold between individual double tracks after masking off the rail and ties. But in the past would sometimes use cheaper fill like scenery foam I wasn't thrilled with or spare WS ballast then cover with the actually desired ballast when dry. Just found sculpt easier though.

Example uses Kato double track.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 09:20:10 PM by dem34 »
-Al

Tjack757

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Re: Looking for ballasting advice
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2023, 06:08:22 AM »
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Thanks for the advice on using sculptamold to fill in between the tracks! Now I have to figure out which brand of ballast to purchase.
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Mike C

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Re: Looking for ballasting advice
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2023, 04:21:42 PM »
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  I use real rock ballast from Scenic Express . It won't float when you try to glue it .    Mike

Tjack757

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Re: Looking for ballasting advice
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2023, 08:19:55 PM »
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  I use real rock ballast from Scenic Express . It won't float when you try to glue it .    Mike

Thanks Mike!
That gives me a starting point on picking out ballast. I was also looking at Arizona Rock and Mineral.
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robert3985

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Re: Looking for ballasting advice
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2023, 08:49:57 PM »
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Thanks Mike!
That gives me a starting point on picking out ballast. I was also looking at Arizona Rock and Mineral.

I have found with AZRM real-rock N-scale ballast, your results will be greatly improved if you take the time to grade it so that the dust falls out.  Lotsa dust, at least in the bags I've used of it in the past.  The dust makes it look like lumpy concrete, and sifting it out will make sure the ballast stones are separate after applying your ballast cement.

I do this will all real-rock ballast, and also to get the big rocks out.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: September 21, 2023, 08:00:20 PM by robert3985 »

sschnabl

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Re: Looking for ballasting advice
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2023, 12:53:52 PM »
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@robert3985  - what do you use to sift the dust out from the ballast?


Scott

rodsup9000

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Re: Looking for ballasting advice
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2023, 02:04:33 PM »
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what do you use to sift the dust out from the ballast?
Scott

 Scott,

 I use #40 and 60 gradation sieve.
 #40 gets the big pieces out and #60 gets the fines and dust out
Rodney

My Feather River Canyon in N-scale
http://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=31585.0

freescopesdad

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Re: Looking for ballasting advice
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2023, 10:11:22 AM »
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Good ideas. What steps do you take to ballast Kato turnouts?
Ron
Owner of the Chicago, Blue Island & Northern Illinois Railroad