This week…. Ballasting!

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Yep, it’s that mundane task that we all have to go through at some point. Maybe it’s because I’ve only got a smallish single track layout, but I’ve actually enjoyed it. I tried out a couple of methods on a test piece but in the end went with the old and tested method of applying the ballast dry, wetting with water and fairy liquid before fixing with 50/50 water/pva. The first results were seen a month or so ago when I ballasted the area in front of the platform. I suppose although ballasting was the main focus, it is also the start of the scenic modelling on the layout, something I’m genuinely excited about.

I suppose my approach, was similar to how I would approach weathering a wagon or locomotive. For several days before hand I studied photos of the area around Cwm Prysor and although these were black and white, it gave me a good idea of how things should look, in particular the trackbed of the loop.

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The overall finish I’m really pleased with, but it took several hours to get the desired effect. The basis of the loop trackbed was Treemendus Earth Powder. Geoff Taylor had recommended this to me, and it’s a great substance to work with. I’m not sure what it’s made up of, but ‘Earth Powder’ really sums up the results. This was sprinkled on top of diluted PVA, before then adding the odd sprinkle of fine ballast. I then turned to Busch fine black ballast, a black sand substance which works well to represent ash ballast. This was also used as the basis for the the siding. Once applied though it didn’t look quite right, so after some further thought I decided to add some powder. This had the desired effect I was after, giving a textured feel. To create slight discolouration to the ballast, I added a dirty wash through a pipette which I found soaks evenly into the ballast giving a natural look as it seeps outward.

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The buffer stop has come out rather well I think. It’s the standard GWR design produced by Lanarkshire Models and has been on the layout for several months. It had been sprayed brown when the track  work was done. However yesterday it was brush painted (along with the rail edges) with Revell 84. Once dry this was given a wash with AK interactive rust streaks. This same method was applied to the rail edges and  I think has created the desired effect.

A rather productive weekend I think and it’s one less thing to do. Next week I’m going to Das the bridge buttresses in preparation for carving the stone work, the results have been quite successful on the culvert portal, and with some advice on painting the stone work from Geoff Taylor. Once that is in place I can mod rock the surrounding area and begin making the lake.

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So we are getting there I think and the target for summer is still looking favourable. I’m still learning, but the important thing is I’m still enjoying this strange, crazy yet wonderful hobby we share in.

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6 thoughts on “This week…. Ballasting!

  1. Hi Tom,

    Great work all round. Just a quick question, what is the code for that Busch ballast, i can’t seem to find “Fine Black Ballast” anywhere on any of their retailer’s websites.

    Cheers,

    Broc.

    • Hi again Tom,

      Thanks so much for that mate, just order a couple of bags to give a try on a small diorama. If i can get it to look half as good as your effort does, I’ll be pretty happy. I’ve also got some Das modelling clay to try, which ever one works out the best and easiest to achieve a good result will help massively, as I’m aiming (one day) to model 5A Crewe North shed in 1947.

      Ps, is the LNER layout done and dusted? Or will that be something you’ll look at down the line?

      Thanks again Tom,

      Broc

      • Thinking back to Leaman Road, It was a case of using a mix of both fine ash ballast and Das. Experimentation is the key and then seeing what works best for you.

        Yeah the LNER stuff is pretty much done and dusted, really enjoying my North Wales venture! 🙂

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