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Discussion Starter #1
Tools and Supplies
1. 1 inch foam brush
2. 1/4 inch stiff bristle brush
3. small container for ballast
4. small mixing dish for glue









The Process
Mix glue with water, just enough to make it slightly soupy, but not too much or it will dry too quickly.
Using your stick bristle brush, apply the glue on both the roadbed and the foundation, but mostly on the foundation. The purpose being that you want the ballast to form a nice clean edge for the next steps.



Once you are finished with applying the glue mixture, pour the ballast on the glued roadbed. What we expect to happen is that the glue on the foundation will capture the ballast as it is flowing down the roadbed. You want to apply just enough ballast that will cover the end ties as shown in the photo. Once you complete applying the ballast to the edges, then pour a small amount of ballast between the rails, just enough to cover the rails but not too much as indicated in the following photos.









Using the foam brush, start with the brush at an angle between the rails, dragging it along until you start seeing the excess ballast start pouting out onto the edges of the track. Once you are finished with your first pass, then take the brush, covering both rails and the center ties, pull it along until you see the ballast off the ties. Then once you finish this part, remove any ballast still on the ties in between which if you do this right, there should be very little.





Now to the tie ends, using the foam brush's edge with the handle sloped over the rails, push the ballast into the spaces between the ties; the purpose of this is to reduce those voids between ties and underneath the rail which makes the rails seem like they are floating in space. You want to cover the tie ends but not so much that you end up with ballast between the rails, leading to another cleaning.



Again, using the foam brush's edge in the outer web between the top of the rail and tie, and the brush's handle pointing away from the track at a slight angle, pull it along, but keeping the sloped edge of the brush horizontal with ties. We want to remove any ballast from the top of the tie ends. You should start seeing a very clean looking ballasting job.





Then using the foam brush, pull any remaining ballast scattered on the foundation towards the ballasted roadbed, shaping it to slope.



Now we move to the next step, cementing the ballast permanently.

I like using small spray applicator bottles for their misting capabilities as well as to prevent children from taking a full scale spray bottle and dangerously spraying each other in the eyes or on other important things.

Starting about a foot above the ballasted track, spray the 50/50 wet water on the ballast. Make a few passes until you can start seeing the ballast changing color. Then keep spraying but get closer to the ballast until you start seeing the wet water pool between the rails. Once this is finished, move to applying the Scenic Cement. I am sorry that I couldn't take a photo for this step but it is very self-explanatory. Start by keeping your misting applicator high, then gradually with each pass, start getting closer.

With your small applicator as shown earlier, drip the cement in between the rails until you start seeing it pool, then move on to the tie ends. Starting at the edge of the ballast and foundation, drip the cement, what you want to see is the cement wick into the ballast, provided you've applied enough wet water. Once you are finished, move your cement applicator to the tie end, again dripping the cement onto the ballast, you should see the cement vanish during the first few drips, then start to pool, then you can continue on until you are finished.



Then that's it, you are finished with that part.

If you should accidentally squeeze your cement applicator and it knocks some of your ballast away, use the wooden handle to gently tap some ballast back into place. Another tip is not to touch the ballast for 24 hours or more, then when you do, do some gently, you want to feel whether the glue solidified, if it is mushy, it is still wet; allow it to dry completely.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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Nice ballasting.:thumbsup:

For my O I find a eye dropper comes in handy.
I don't like the scenic cement.
I use an all Elmer's glue mix. :D

Thanks for posting.:thumbsup:

And to all ballasting, pay attention to the part about not touching it till it's dry.
For my blend I wait over night.
 

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IGM,

There was a recent question / discussion in another thread as to whether the cork roadbed helped or hurt in the ballasting-buildup process. If we neglect the sound/vibration damping of the cork (for the purpose of this discussion), do you think that the height buildup of the cork (and tapered edges) makes the ballasting process easier?

Cheers,

TJ
 

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Nice Job!

Hey IGM,
You should transfer this thread to the "Need All Your How To" section or maybe B&M can do it. We used old Road traction sand/gravel for our ballast mixed w/ cat litter(which I'm not to crazy about but my son said it gives a crumbly look to it(see my Layout) or extremely aged. We also have cork roadbed and it gives some lift to the Meat Plant and surrounding areas. But again nice job and detailing thanks for sharing(Got that from TJ:D)!:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
From reading the classic beginning model railroading books, where flat layouts were the norm, the raised cork road bed makes sense. For example, my next step in finishing my layout is to fit larger pieces of cork between the tracks and structures, leaving that small area as a drainage area or a ditch. I've seen large cork sheets commonly used for thumbtacking notes for sale at office supply stores that would be ideal for this purpose. I am raising my town to almost the same level as the tracks, this will make streets and railroad crossings look more realistic. To stick with the classic style, I am trying my hardest to stay away from shortcuts as offered by using styrofoam.

My opinion as in painting masterpieces, our hobby relies more on deceiving our audience into believing that our layouts look real. If at first glance, the layout doesn't trick the eye into seeing depth and dimension, that critical eye is going to see our mistakes. The art in carpentry is not so much in how fast constructing some useful takes, it is hiding all the mistakes and not hitting your thumb.

In many ways, I guess I started building my empire backwards, but after reading those classics, I see that many common office supplies are readily available for an excellent scenery material for model railroading and that I was on the right track after all.

My slight tutorial is reflects all the videos I've watched and many articles I read; I've just taken all the good stuff from each and combined them into one.
 

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if i may add few suggestions:
* weather your track before laying ballast.
* tape over (or pay special attention) near point rails of turnouts.

i really liked the suggestion of using foam "brush" instead of ordinary. has much better control to it. instead of glue i used gray paint as base. holds the ballast particles and helps conceal any bare spots if that happens.
i used an empty bottle from Windex as sprayer and found that unless shooting from very far (and dripping much more then ideal) it moves ballast particles. tried WS sprayer and got the same affect. so now i use flower mister from Michaels. cheapest solution out there - was 1.2$, and has really fine mist (but somewhat wider).

for wet water i use water with drop of dish soap which probably takes longer to dry. also, ballast will take away from sound deafening quality of the foam correction - roadbed, but nothing drastic.
EDIT:tworail, can you edit bbcode for strike through text to your forum? let me know if you need help with that

IGM, i would also snap off those strange end ties on atlas sectional track and superglue glue normal ones, will look much more convincing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
if i may add few suggestions:
* weather your track before laying ballast.
* tape over (or pay special attention) near point rails of turnouts.
I hand painted my track prior to applying the ballast. But as you can see, both the misting of the wet water and the glue affects the color, making it just a tad too shiny for the camera but in person you couldn't tell there is glue on it.

While I do see the ease and speed of air brushing the weathering on the track, most air brush weathering applications that I've seen so far are just not adequate for my taste, they are slop jobs. By looking at a prototypical railroad, we see two colors, one for the rail and one for the ties, we do not see one color as happens when using an air brush. While I have seen some awesome layouts having excellent track weathering applications, they always follow the two color ideal, with the rail one color and the ties another. Perhaps they airbrush the ties, then hand paint the rail?

i really liked the suggestion of using foam "brush" instead of ordinary. has much better control to it. instead of glue i used gray paint as base. holds the ballast particles and helps conceal any bare spots if that happens.
i used an empty bottle from Windex as sprayer and found that unless shooting from very far (and dripping much more then ideal) it moves ballast particles. tried WS sprayer and got the same affect. so now i use flower mister from Michaels. cheapest solution out there - was 1.2$, and has really fine mist (but somewhat wider).
I tried several spray bottles and like the smaller one that I use as it is easily on the wrist and does a fine mist with ease. I found it in the travel section for lady's cosmetics, where I also got my emery boards for sanding.

for wet water i use water with drop of dish soap which probably takes longer to dry. also, ballast will take away from sound deafening quality of the foam but nothing drastic.
I tried Bachmann EZ Track, I didn't like the hollow noisy sound at all, and the same goes for Atlas True Track; perhaps applying something in that track cavity would deaden the sound.
When I ran my train just on the board, it was very noisy; the moment I put the track on a cork road bed, the sound went away.

IGM, i would also snap off those strange end ties on atlas sectional track and superglue glue normal ones, will look much more convincing.
I was wondering what purpose those strange sectional track ends held for the track.
 

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Excellent tutorial, Igmuska, and the followup discussion was also valuable. Thanks to everyone involved!
 

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While I do see the ease and speed of air brushing the weathering on the track, most air brush weathering applications that I've seen so far are just not adequate for my taste, they are slop jobs. By looking at a prototypical railroad, we see two colors, one for the rail and one for the ties, we do not see one color as happens when using an air brush. While I have seen some awesome layouts having excellent track weathering applications, they always follow the two color ideal, with the rail one color and the ties another. Perhaps they airbrush the ties, then hand paint the rail?
from now on i will only paint rail by hand if it is off the table (not counting any highlights). as i said before, i'd rather shoot myself then hand paint again. :rolleyes:

that's right, airbrush happens in several paths: first from the sides - splaters on ties a bit but mostly gets the side of the rail covered (if one does not bother to mask the ties), then straight down - gets ties mostly. so a desired two shades can be achieved. and then when everything is installed one can use powders to help the situation.
then there is specific lighting situation, i actually like how my rail turned out but it looks different on pictures due to the above .


I was wondering what purpose those strange sectional track ends held for the track.
te purpose is to make room for the joiners of course. but imho atlas's implementation is quite crude. in the few sectional pieces that i used i snapped those off and installed normal ties i had leftover from flex rail (with sanded off rail mounts to make room for the joiner). but again, its personal preference.
 

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Hi, I model in O gauge and am having a hard time with glue to put down my ballasting. I use elmer cut with water , one part elmers and three parts water and my difficulty is with the spray bottles. They keep on clogging up, even though I clean them out each time. Does anybody have any suggestions to help me out. I have a medium to large layout and I;m putting down a lot of ballast and scenery.
thanks for your help,
Larry
 

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Larry,

I had the same issue with a better-quality Home Depot spray bottle. Others here have used bottles from Michael's craft store (I think) with good success.

You have a high water-to-glue ratio ... if anything, you should be on the thin side.

That said, are you adding a few drops of alcohol or dish detergent to break the surface tension to your mix?

TJ
 

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Hi, I model in O gauge and am having a hard time with glue to put down my ballasting. I use elmer cut with water , one part elmers and three parts water and my difficulty is with the spray bottles. They keep on clogging up, even though I clean them out each time. Does anybody have any suggestions to help me out. I have a medium to large layout and I;m putting down a lot of ballast and scenery.
thanks for your help,
Larry
Larry,

I had the same issue with a better-quality Home Depot spray bottle. Others here have used bottles from Michael's craft store (I think) with good success.

You have a high water-to-glue ratio ... if anything, you should be on the thin side.

That said, are you adding a few drops of alcohol or dish detergent to break the surface tension to your mix?

TJ
This thread is in the wrong place? Should have been posted elsewhere?

We been through the bottle question before but I can't pull up the thread.

I found this though.

http://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=378
 

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Larry,

I had the same issue with a better-quality Home Depot spray bottle. Others here have used bottles from Michael's craft store (I think) with good success.

You have a high water-to-glue ratio ... if anything, you should be on the thin side.

That said, are you adding a few drops of alcohol or dish detergent to break the surface tension to your mix?

TJ
I don't use 3 to 1 mixture I am around 50% x 50% just to make sure.:D But that is me.:rolleyes:
I wet down the area with a brush with a mixture of 50% x 50% alcohol and water before hand. Then I apply the ballast.

I then take some sort of baster (an eye dropper works for me) and just drop the glue mixture on it and let it dry. Don't worry about bubbles they eventually go away. And don't move it around while it is drying. Let it dry.

It takes longer then a bottle but I have yet to find a bottle that won't clog up.:rolleyes:

Maybe someone else will find the bottle thread.
 

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instead of glue i used gray paint as base. holds the ballast particles and helps conceal any bare spots if that happens.
i used an empty bottle from Windex as sprayer and found that unless shooting from very far (and dripping much more then ideal) it moves ballast particles. tried WS sprayer and got the same affect. so now i use flower mister from Michaels. cheapest solution out there - was 1.2$, and has really fine mist (but somewhat wider).
Sounds great! I especially like the info about the sprayer. :thumbsup: Hmmm...... I could apply the use of this to other phases of scenery constructing as well. I'm going to check out Michaels.

Routerman
 

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I've always found that taking the nozzel off the bottle and running water though it by pulling on the trigger a bunch of times ,the nozell will get cleaned out. Then put the nozzel back on the bottle and it should be ready for the next use. It really is necessary to clean the nozzel out after you use it. Pete
 

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I've always found that taking the nozzel off the bottle and running water though it by pulling on the trigger a bunch of times ,the nozell will get cleaned out. Then put the nozzel back on the bottle and it should be ready for the next use. It really is necessary to clean the nozzel out after you use it. Pete

I have had no luck with any bottle I used for a glue mixture. No mater what strength I made it.

I gave up on bottles.
Cleaned the tip every other minute.

I did not try a Micheal's bottle, I might give it a shot.
 

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thanks guys for the help with my glue bottle problem. tomorrow i'm off to lowes to buy a small pressuried pump unit, maybe the pressure will help keep the glue spraying. wish me luck.
larry
 

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thanks guys for the help with my glue bottle problem. tomorrow i'm off to lowes to buy a small pressuried pump unit, maybe the pressure will help keep the glue spraying. wish me luck.
larry

A pressurized pump unit?
Whats it run off an air compressor?
Make sure it has a good regulator. Or you will be blowing ballast all over the place.
Or do you mean like a weed pump up sprayer?
Post a picture of one?
 

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A pressurized pump unit?
...
Or do you mean like a weed pump up sprayer?
That's not a bad idea, actually. A bit overkill in terms of size/volume, but I'm wondering if the higher pressure and larger nozzle might work. Let us know what you find out!

TJ
 
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