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Getting ready to add some ballast – experiments.

Testing grout for use as ballast.

After much deliberation I decided the next step in construction would be to start ballasting the trackwork.  To be honest, I have been dreading this, as my experience with ballasting is it can make or break a layout.  Getting the colours and texture right is critical to creating a good model of the original.

Studying the collection of images I have of the terminal, it is obvious that there was no “ballast” as we know it.  It was pretty much all just dirt.  To recreate this I don’t think many of the commercial ballasts available would work, so I am trying some alternatives.

Grout is an interesting material to try, as it is much finer that typical ballast, available in lots of colours, and also has the added bonus of being self adhesive…

Not wanting to experiment on the actual layout, I glued a length of flextrack I had on hand to some plywood to test with.

Grout goes on very powdery, almost like talc, but when wetted, turns a bit more grainy.  I spread it in place using a brush, then gave it a pre-soak with isopropyl alcohol, followed with water, both applied using spray bottles.  An earlier attempt with just water caused the liquid to just sit on top of the grout and not soak in.  I was surprised just how much I had to soak it to get it to bond, again, an earlier attempt with a light application of water did not adhere.

Above are a few shots of the results after drying overnight.  The bond isn’t as good as I would like, so I will give it another shot with some diluted glue, which should make it pretty permanent.

The texture isn’t bad, but I am not sure if I am 100% happy with the look.  Colour might be a bit dark as well.

Here are a couple of images of what I am trying to capture.  Click on the images for a larger version….

Comments?

About the Author:

I'm your host, Tim Warris, a product developer in Port Dover, Ontario. Since March of 2007 I have been documenting the construction of the former CNJ Bronx Terminal in HO scale. For my day job, I design track building tools for Fast Tracks, a small company I own and operate. Fast Tracks makes it fast and easy to hand lay your own trackwork. Stop by our website to learn more!

Posted by: Tim | 03-20-2012 | 02:03 PM
Posted in: Ballast | Latest Posts | Track Construction | Weathering | Comments (6)

Painting Track

No more PC board ties…

Yesterday I painted all the trackwork on the layout. Well, almost all of it, I decided to leave one three way turnout and a length of track unpainted until after the train show so people can see the construction technique.

If you smelled Floquil paint in the air yesterday, it was from me, sorry about that….

It almost didn’t get done. I started early on it, hoping to finish the painting before noon. I noticed my airbrush needed cleaning, so I took it apart and soaked all the parts in lacquer thinner, which dissolves all the hardened paint deposits. When I reassembled it I had no air. A few minutes playing with it and I realized I should not have soaked the air valve in lacquer thinner as there is an O ring in it that swelled up to twice the size and cut off the air. I hunted up the part number on Badgers site (I have a 155 airbrush) and started phoning around for one. I managed to finally locate on in Dundas, about 35 minutes from here. So I made a trip out to get it, which killed 2 hours.

With that fixed up I started painting, as shown in the video. 2 hours into the job and we had a nasty thunderstorm that knocked out the power for 2 hours. I managed to finish up the painting at 10 pm.

Its all done now, and looks much better. It is only a base coat, I will be doing more to it later prior to ballasting, but for now it is an improvement over the bare copper ties, although that did create a neat effect…

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All the track is painted with Floquil’s Railroad Tie Brown, unthinned, straight from the bottle. I used 3 jars for the job. Unfortunately two of the three were from a bad batch and the colour didn’t match the first one very well. It really won’t matter though.

After I paint a section of track, I immediately clean the the paint from the rails using small squares of wood. This makes quick work of cleaning up the rail, and also keeps me from accidentally disturbing the paint on the PC board ties. A few passes is all it takes to get 99% of the paint off the rails. If the paint dries a bit I simply dip the wood block into some lacquer thinner and give it a rub followed with a pass from a dry piece of wood. I cut up a bag of a few hundred of these blocks ahead of time so I have plenty on hand when painting. Once dry, I give everything a cleaning with a bright boy.

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This week I also finished off my brass model of CNJ 1000, which there are some shots of in the video.

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room-panorama

Getting closer…..

-T.

On to Next Section…

About the Author:

I'm your host, Tim Warris, a product developer in Port Dover, Ontario. Since March of 2007 I have been documenting the construction of the former CNJ Bronx Terminal in HO scale. For my day job, I design track building tools for Fast Tracks, a small company I own and operate. Fast Tracks makes it fast and easy to hand lay your own trackwork. Stop by our website to learn more!

Posted by: Tim | 06-26-2009 | 10:06 AM
Posted in: CNJ 1000 Boxcab | Latest Posts | Track Construction | Video | Weathering | Comments (8)

Mark’s Carfloat

Painted

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Last year, almost to the day, I borrowed a carfloat from Mark to use to determine if the water levels were right on the layout (which they weren’t).  Well, after a year I suppose I should return it to him, there is probably a back log of float traffic on his layout….

In return for using the float, I added some rail to it and give it a bit of weathering (Mark asked it I would), which I did this week.  I will be returning the float to him tonight.

I had a small window of time to take some pictures of two finished floats on the layout, so I snapped a few, which I will post here.

I have another carfloat to build for the layout, but I have a bit of float bloat, so I will wait a while before building another one….

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-T.

About the Author:

I'm your host, Tim Warris, a product developer in Port Dover, Ontario. Since March of 2007 I have been documenting the construction of the former CNJ Bronx Terminal in HO scale. For my day job, I design track building tools for Fast Tracks, a small company I own and operate. Fast Tracks makes it fast and easy to hand lay your own trackwork. Stop by our website to learn more!

Posted by: Tim | 04-09-2009 | 10:04 AM
Posted in: Latest Posts | Weathering | Comments (4)

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