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Posted (edited)

Track and ballast

 As promised, a look at treatment of track, old and new.

The third picture shows original Arigna track, heavily weathered and toned down with talc and weathering powders, but without any cosmetic rail fixings. The second picture is new track, still needing more coats of paint on rails and sleepers and with no weathering or toning down of the Woodlands fine ash ballast. Note how dark the latter is and what a difference a dusting of talc makes to all the colours. The talc was never fixed and has survived without problems for over thirty shows, including being vacuumed before each one.

 The other two show various attempts at representing the FB rail fixings. Slivers of micro strip are used at the right hand end of picture four, while the other 'fixings' are simply blobs of acrylic paint put on with either a screwdriver or cocktail stick. Both need some weathering or further paint/both, but it is views of the general impression I'm interested in. Arigna got away without any rail fixings, but I'm thinking Belmullet would benefit from a general impression of them, but without going to the trouble of drilling and fitting up to 3000 Peco track pins. Yes really. The actual  fixings were a thin plate held down with a bolt & nut. Note this is 7mm scale, 36.75mm gauge track, using copper clad sleepers and Code 100 flat bottommed rail. The granite ballast is also from Woodlands, being three different tones of their fine grade again. So far, am only thinking of doing the short stretch exiting the layout into the fiddle yard, though may yet do a bit more of the 'mainline' into the station platform, not least because when the layout is operated in early 1900s guise, the ballast would still have been fairly clean - though ash was used extensively in station sidings.

 The final two pictures are a couple of my favourites. The first is at Leiston in Suffolk and shows the siding to Garrett's engineering works, while the second is the approach to Wantage Town station. It is this effect that I'm looking to replicate on the new harbour branch on Belmullet. To my eyes, it is very noticeable how fine the ash ballast looks - even finer than Woodlands, so will be trying a mixture of talc, polyfilla and chinchilla dust to try and replicate the texture.

Eventually...

 

 

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Edited by David Holman
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Posted (edited)

Thanks for posting, David - looks good. Gives the impression of the real thing: and those prototype pictures are delightful! And I am discovering for myself what an amazing scenic tool talc is....

Edited by Galteemore
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Looking good David.  Getting the right finish to the ballast / ash / clinker is more difficult that it first appears, however once done really finishes a layout!

I have a lot to do with my layout to settle the ballast down, but your comments above give some good ideas.

Ken

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Hi David

The micro strip looks the best- a lot of cutting n sticking though.

What about Gauge N ash ballast with a small scattering of Gauge O ballast in and around the track like the Leiston photo and then weathered?

Eoin

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Has anyone tried something like modelling clay smeared over the sleepers, with very fine ballast (like N scale gravel) rubbed into it? Just leaving rails showing like in the photo of the industrial siding above?

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Jonathan, I sort of did it in Omagh, not up to sleeper level but on the entire yard surface. I coated the baseboard with PVA and scattered fine ballast liberally all over. I then added various mounds of cinders and coal at varying height and fixed them with PVA, water, fairy liquid mix. When totally dry I rubbed modelling clay lightly over to show compressed areas where traffic was heavy. I then painted. See Omagh Goods Yard.

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Modelling clay, Polyfilla, etc are what I have in mind, keeping additional scatter material to a minimum. Depends on the scene being depicted of course, but sometimes get the feeling that what at best should be fist sized pieces, ends up as almost boulder sized ones. In 7mm scale, even a 1mm diameter piece of grit represents a two inch diameter stone, when most yards would have their largest bits only half that at best. 

 Woodlands Scenics fine ballasts (crushed coconut shell, I believe) are about 0.5mm or so, and nominally sold for N gauge. Many 4mm scale modellers use the fine stuff though and I've always been happy with their fine ash in 7mm scale. 

 On the same principles, it is arguable that printed papers are all you need for brickwork, as mortar lines would have little, if any indentation when scaled down 72, or even 43 times, while the same applies to tarmac road surfaces - talc on paint, or 400 grit wet n dry is enough in 7mm scale for me. However, scaling everything down ad infinitum doesn't always work and a bit of over emphasis can help fool the eye into thinking something is right, when it isn't and indeed vice versa, as per not putting in track fixings at all.

 Where is this rambling heading? Not sure, except maybe it is simply a case of beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though as my art teacher always said: 'Paint what you see, not what you think', so maybe careful observation remains the key.

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Further to the above, just back from a walk in a local country park, where the paths are made of crushed stone, most of which was around 1-2cm across. In 7mm/1:43 scale, that equate to around 0.5mm, so about 0.3mm in 00.

 Woodlands coarse cinders and ballast is around 1-2 mm in size, representing something around 7-15cm in real life. Makes you think and certainly wouldn't want to run over a 10cm rock in my car.

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David, if you would like to try wood ash, pm me and I''ll send you a bag, 'cos I got the fire lit!

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10 minutes ago, Mike 84C said:

David, if you would like to try wood ash, pm me and I''ll send you a bag, 'cos I got the fire lit!

Lit with a magnifying glass..?

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Thanks guys, though no peat fire ash?

Sifted garden soil works well too, apparently.

 We used to have a multifuel heater, before gas arrived in our street and I used phurnacite ash quite a bit for ballast. Gives off a pretty sulphurous smell when mixed with dilute PVA though!

 Several of our neighbours still burn the stuff, so I may well go calling. 

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7 hours ago, murrayec said:

David

I could send some briquette ash, I also have the fire lit!

Eoin

Actually, serious point: sieved turf ash might be a good colour and consistency for certain types of crushed sandy gravel?

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