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Ballast and Grass

  • Indaloman (7 posts) , 974 days ago 16:46 19 August 2011



    Thanks very much. I guessed there was some reason. Never done ballast before, and am OK and straights and curves, but worried about glue in points. I will just have to be careful
    Barry Moss

  • Brightstar (679 posts) , 974 days ago 17:03 19 August 2011

    Hi Indaloman,

    The mail reason for fixing the ballast to the baseboard is to stop loose ballast from migrating to other portions of the layout, especially the moveable parts to points and switches. This can cause derailments or cause engines to stop on points due to poor electrical contact of the moveable parts of point over which it is travelling. Loose ballast can get every where at the most inconvienient times.

    With reards to the amount of water to mix with PVA adhesive:

    1. If you are going to drip feed PVA onto the ballast to bind it together then you need to add more water and the addition of washing-up liquid helps to break down the surface tension of the PVA and give greaer penetration into the ballast,

    2. If you are going to paint PVA between the sleeper, to the baseboard, then you need to cut down on the amount of water being added. You still need a drop of washing-up liquid to help break the surface tension of the adhesive.

    Remenber, if you are going to drip feed adhesive onto the ballast, this adhesive will also penetrate under the sleepers and glue the sleepers to the baseboard. I want to fix the ballast to the baseboard and not the sleepers so I use less water and paint the adhesive, between the sleepers, onto the baseboard. This makes it easier to lift the track when altering the layout. I also lay the track on cork underlay to simulate the fact that ballast is laid on top of the earth and the sleepers are bedded into the ballast.

    To drip feed adhesive into the ballast use an eye dropper and queeze the bulb gently to start the flow. You will find that capillary action will cause the adhesive to flow once you et it started and you will only need to squezze again whenth flow stops.

    How much water you use will be a matter of trial and error, but the ratios given in this thread are a good guide.




  • Postman Prat (3672 posts) , 974 days ago 17:42 19 August 2011

    Hi Vespa, and anyone else who might be interested

    Earlier in the year at the Eastleigh model railway show, I saw demonstrated a device for laying and spreading ballast quickly, with a very neat edge and 'shoulder'.

    See www.green-scene.co.uk

    Hope that's usefull

    The light at the end of the tunnel is probably a train coming towards you !

    PP

  • JLBA (1485 posts) , 973 days ago 21:12 20 August 2011

    Hi, your not going to blow your locos up! If there was chance of this it would surely be on just about every news report! 'yet another railway modeler has caused an explosion!'Take advice previouse and im sure you will be o.k., however if the unfortunate happens and you blew yourself up, please dont come back to me!

    Say it as it is, and Keep it Rail!

  • Vespa (1515 posts) , 973 days ago 22:11 20 August 2011

    <div class="previousPost">JLBA said:

    Hi, your not going to blow your locos up! If there was chance of this it would surely be on just about every news report! 'yet another railway modeler has caused an explosion!'Take advice previouse and im sure you will be o.k.,
    however if the unfortunate happens and you blew yourself up, please dont come back to me!</div>

    BOOOOOOM!!!!! &quot;Exploding loco kills several plastic figures and derails 00 loco and train&quot;

    Why can't they bottle the smell of steam and oil from locos for aftershave?? mmmm!!

  • Vespa (1515 posts) , 973 days ago 22:13 20 August 2011

    no we won't

    Why can't they bottle the smell of steam and oil from locos for aftershave?? mmmm!!

  • 81F (1497 posts) , 965 days ago 19:09 28 August 2011


    If you are using real granite ballast the following method works quite well.

    First lay my balast dry using a small paint brush to push it into shape. Once happy with the look I lightly spray the whole lot with a light solution of washing up liquid and water using a fine garden mist sprayer just enough to wet the surface. Then using an eye dropper, or suitably adapted plastic glue bottle, I gently drip a diluted mix of PVA and water with a few drops of washing up liquid. Not sure of the exact ratio but I started with 60/40% glue to water and diluted until it was runny enough to seep into the balast without running all over the place (Use a test piece first).

    Once the ballast is dry I vacuum off any suplus and platch any holes.I tend to avoid the moving parts of points as these will gum up very quickly and are a nightmare to free.

    As to the grass I tend to use a similar technique except that I lay a "soil" couloured mix of scatter, wet with water, apply glue then sprinkle the grass. However I should be noted that I use a "static" flock for grass which gives a nice hairy appearance if done correctly. I will also sprinkle a little red, yellow and blue flock to simulate wild flowers (my layout is supposed to be set during the summer)

    Another tip is to make sure as much of your base board is painted. As mine is set in North wales I used a slate grey. However, if modelling devon a redish brown is better. Ingeneral pick the colour to match the underlying soil.

    Hope this helps

    Steve

    Modelling the GWR in the Welsh Borders, and the Glyn Valley Tramway with quite a few bits from elsewhere!

  • 81F (1497 posts) , 965 days ago 19:11 28 August 2011

    PS remember to polish the tops of the rails with a track cleaning rubber or wooden block with very fine emery afterwards or nothing will run! as to the power clip I cannot dvise as I solder the wires directly to my track.

    Modelling the GWR in the Welsh Borders, and the Glyn Valley Tramway with quite a few bits from elsewhere!

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