Tagged: Realistic Ballast
- This topic has 10 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 7 months ago by Nick Ridgway.
September 27, 2021 at 10:43 am #239269Jeff MayneParticipant
My layout is taking shape but I need some guidance on ballasting.
Is N gauge ballast the best to use? Is there any particular brand/colour that best represents what was used for GWR / LMS branch permanent way around the 1920’s.
Also included is picture of my Megapoints Controller, Servos and DCC Concepts levers being tested before install. The semaphore signal bounce you can tune in from the Megapoints servo controller is sensational! Frog electrical switching is also easily taken care of via the Megapoints relays connected to the servo controller PC board.
Stay safe and happy modelling!
September 27, 2021 at 3:48 pm #239271Stuart FirthParticipant
I’ve just been reading some old MRJs where this was discussed. Joe Brook Smith wrote a letter in no. 104 stating that ballast is usually 3/4″ – 2″. General consensus was that the manufacturers always make it too big, so N scale would be more likely to be correct for 4mm. A long time since I bought any but I think I used the finest one that Woodland Scenics made.
October 1, 2021 at 4:03 pm #239306Trade OfficerKeymaster
I always used to wonder why that happened but I eventually came to the conclusion if 4mm size was really N gauge what would N gauge use:)
I have heard about some company that makes 4mm ballast from crushed coconut shells. don’t know who though. If anyone finds out please let everyone know
October 1, 2021 at 4:32 pm #239307Stuart FirthParticipant
I believe Woodland Scenics ballast is crushed Walnut shells
October 12, 2021 at 4:16 pm #239370Stephen FreemanParticipant
The Carrs/C&L ballast was crushed nut cases, I say was because I don’t know the present situation as I believe the factory that made it went up in smoke with disastrous consequences not too far from here, including loss of life. Court cases have been ongoing for some time though I think they may have now been concluded. This was a few years ago, so presumably a fresh source has been found.
Chinchilla dust can be good but it can be difficult to get the right size. In any event it’s a lot cheaper. I always thought that Woodland Scenics ballast was stone based.
October 15, 2021 at 11:48 am #239383Stephen FreemanParticipant
Just to mention, I have remembered that the mill in question was Bosley Mill, according to the BBC near Macclesfield, of course everybody local knows that there are/were places a lot closer, obviously using a map with little information, probably somewhere in London (the researcher that is).
October 23, 2021 at 11:49 am #239586John DanielsParticipant
I’ve never felt that the ballast we use accurately reflects the prototype and I don’t think it’s the size. On that matter incidentally Stephen Williams in the seminal series, Great Western Branch Line Modelling, says that the top ballast was no more than 1 and a half inches in diameter. (How we pine for those pre-decimalisation days!) The problem to my mind is the way we secure the ballast. Using a water/PVA mix (or better still, so I understand, water/Copydex) the granules coalesce when wet creating to my mind a surface smoother than it should be. I’m sure others can describe the effect better than me. Ballast is rough and uneven but you lose that effect when you wet the fine granular ballast we use. Given that there’s no other feasible option to fix it I think I’m going to use a coarser ballast when, or rather if, the trackwork for Blagdon Mark II ever gets completed. That’s another long story!
October 24, 2021 at 8:25 pm #239596Alan DurhamParticipant
I used n gauge ballast but can’t remember the manufacturer or what it’s actually made from. The image shows the track on Cliddesden which is WIP, the track is laid on Cork which is then sprayed with primer and then dusted with red oxide. I then lay the ballast, which in this case now needs dry brushing and shading etc.
November 23, 2021 at 2:25 am #239884Neil DochertyParticipant
I first started using one of Woodland scenics grey coloured ballasts until I saw a colour picture of track laid around South west Scotland (I’m currently building a small LMS ex-GSWR based layout); it appeared to be red in colour. More research suggested that it was probably red sandstone so not all ballast grey/brown in appearance!
November 23, 2021 at 2:48 am #239885Jeff MayneParticipant
Thank you for those replies. I’ll get a range of Woodland Scenic ballast,setup a test track and try out those tips.
I would like to end up with different colours and sizing depending on the different areas on the layout.
As Neil says, I’ll do some more research too by thumbing thru my MRJ and GWR Journal collection!
February 19, 2022 at 6:22 pm #240558Nick RidgwayParticipant
The spec for real ballast is about 2in or so single-size stone, with no “crisps” or “carrots” present. That’s why I have used ballast that is labelled for N gauge for years.
Modellers’ ballast is normally too bright when laid – except when one wants to represent new trackage. Once set it lends itself easily to being toned down with well-diluted paint colours. I do it in several stages: one can always add more paint though one cannot easily take it away.
Experimentally, I have just painted some track (rails and chairs “rust” colour) before laying it, with the idea of ballasting it with fine sawdust (i.e. powder) and spraying it a dark grey mist so as to represent that found in a colliery network.
- Only logged in EMGS members can reply to this topic