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I am building a 4mm NER layout based on the Stainmore line dated around 1900 and believe they used a very dark ash ballast.

 

Can anyone advise me what is available (best ) to represent this type of ballast. I have heard of modellers using foundry sand, but do not know where to get such material and if it is in the correct colour or has to be dyed/painted before or after laying. Is there a suitable commercially available reprsentation from one of the scenic material manufacturers.

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

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I am building a 4mm NER layout based on the Stainmore line dated around 1900 and believe they used a very dark ash ballast.

 

Can anyone advise me what is available (best ) to represent this type of ballast. I have heard of modellers using foundry sand, but do not know where to get such material and if it is in the correct colour or has to be dyed/painted before or after laying. Is there a suitable commercially available reprsentation from one of the scenic material manufacturers.

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Woodland Scenics do (did?) cinder ballast, code B83. I also read some time ago that the real thing, suitably sieved, is very effective (and cheap if you can get access to some). I have a bag of ash ballast from the site of the access sidings to British Sugar at York, just got to finish my tracklaying........

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I have used Woodland Scenics cinders on my sidings but it is very dark - almost black which I think is too dark. Surely, ash is grey - although not as light as modellers granite chippings? Just to give a bit of relief, I introduced a small amount of the granite chippings - not sure it is right though. I guess it can always be painted but I prefer ballast unpainted (except perhaps for weathering tints)

 

Harold.

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Busch do a really nice dark grey sand product which I use for cinder ballast - I got mine from Modelmasters at Weston S Mare.

Chris

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Hi, whereabout's are you modelling and when? Remember that towards the end substantial parts were relaid in stone ballast. Also you may wish to think what weather you want to portray - sounds esoteric, but if you're going for up on the tops remember its bleak and part of the character is lowering clouds coming in from the west - ash changes colour according to its freshness and whether its dry (silver/light grey crust) or wet(dark and can have shiny patches) or disturbed such as by packing a bed or invaded by rabbits - and it doesn't take long for a couple of misses by the ganger to turn it into a garden in summer.

Btw my interest stems from a long term plan to model Broomielaw on the Darlington and Barnard Castle to scale - I figured Barney or Kirkby were to big for me.

Best of luck

Steve

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Treemendus's Earth scatter, then use watercolours to get it whatever shade of grey/black you want. Available at Warley this weekend, but let me get the three bags I want first ;)

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Others have have mentioned it, I also use Woodland scenics 'Fine Ballast, Cinders'. It will benefit from being painted/weathered afterwards.

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Although I've got a pot of Carr's ash ballast, I've not tried it yet, but it looks quite good if a little on the coarse side for sidings. As has been suggested in an earlier post, it may probably look better if weathered a bit lighter after laying.

 

To represent ash ballast on a previous small terminus layout, I used (dry) silver sand. The laying process was; brush gently into place, tap layout with small hammer to get the stuff level and off sleeper tops, apply PVA mix carefully and remove excess with scalpel before set. It needed a little care to get it to settle right before dribbling the PVA mix gently onto it, but once dry and painted with a mixture of acrylics, it looked good. And it was very cheap!

 

On the Stafford Railway Circle's EM colliery layout, "New Haden", Chris (2manyspams) mixed some powder paint colour into silver sand and after it was absolutely dry, I used this bulk mix for ballasting most of the reception sidings on the layout. Same laying process as above. This was quicker, because it didn't need much painting once it was dry, but I seem to remember it was a lot messier doing the ballasting !

 

Hope this helps.

 

Happy ballasting.

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I used ash from the smokebox of one of the steam engines at the local steam railway. This is quite fine and has the mix of colours I was after depending on the type of coal used.

 

Gordon A

Bristol

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Find Tom Harland's article in MRJ on ash ballast - we use the same methods on Botanic Gardens and it looks pretty good. The main issue of Woodland Scenic ballast on this case is how course even the fine texture is compared with 'real' ash ballast.

 

It's based around fine sand coloured with powder paints with powdered wood glue (Cascamite/Extramite/Whateverhumbrolcallitnowmite) and the results can be very good - it needs a few trail runs to get the laying technique right but it is worth the effort.

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On the Stafford Railway Circle's EM colliery layout, "New Haden", Chris (2manyspams) mixed some powder paint colour into silver sand and after it was absolutely dry, I used this bulk mix for ballasting most of the reception sidings on the layout. Same laying process as above. This was quicker, because it didn't need much painting once it was dry, but I seem to remember it was a lot messier doing the ballasting !

 

Hope this helps.

 

Happy ballasting.

 

If memory serves (It was about 20 years ago) What I did was:

 

Put a couple of cup fulls of silver sand into a large tub. Add a good does of coloured powder (In this case it was black colourant meant for concrete by Cementone). Mix the two together well. Pour in enough water to make the mix damp. Keep stirring. As the sand works against the cement coloured powder it takes up the colour and gets darker the more you mix. When well mixed tip the damp mix out onto trays or cardboard in thin layers and leave to dry. When dry the coloured sand can be slightly struck together. I just chopped it up with a large wallpaper scraper. I also mixed other batches using brown colouring and varying mixtures of black and brown. When dry they were kept in separate pots and mixed on site as needed to give colour variation. The whole lot was stuch down with the usual watered down PVA mix.

 

Applying chalk dust, weathering powders etc can be used to tone down and blend in the colours - I never use single colour mixes on scenic work.

 

The finished effects can be seen here: My link

 

As John says in other areas we carefully laid the silver sand first with the PVA mix. When completely dry and stuck a watery 'yuck' mix was made up from artists (Cream, paynes grey, brown etc(note not black or white)) and was painted over the sand. This can take a few goes for the colour to build but occasionally topping up the mix with a extra bit of colour and water subtly alters the mix as you go.

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Another option, but one that does take quite a long time is to use Humbrol Air Clay - see below. Practice first on something that doesn't matter (your mate's layout).

 

Tip: If using thicker sleepers, ballast first using your normal method (granite, sand, porridge, cocopops), then smear the clay over the top.

 

Here goes when using thinner sleepers like C&L or copper clad: stabbing into place with a stiff brush I tend to work on 2 or 3 inches at a time. Add a thin layer of PVA first to more open areas to ensure the clay sticks (it won't be necessary around the sleepers). I tend to paint the track first, though it will need touching up after the clay application.

post-6681-0-23630900-1295479776_thumb.jpg

 

Colouring: as already mentioned avoid going too dark (remember scale colour?) and try to vary the colour, keeping lighter in the wide open areas and darker between the rails. For the example here which might be a tad light for the NER, I used used 2 or 3 different matt emulsion mixes, feathering and blending the colours. The rail chairs were further dry-brushed with a rusty shade.

post-6681-0-71183500-1295479791_thumb.jpg

 

The finished job after the addition of grass etc (static grass)

post-6681-0-15511100-1295480143_thumb.jpg

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Interesting.

Air clay! That looks like the effect I'm after. Das OK I presume?

Can black Dylon be pre-mixed with it (white) to make it ash colour without ill effects?

I expect it makes the track fairly rigid. Have you noticed any accoustic drawbacks?

 

Many references are made to the 'drumskin' effect of rigid track, but in buildings a flexible floor would not be the *obvious* way to cut down noise. Rigidity and mass are the solutions i.e. thick baseboard. The accoustic de-coupling happens in the carpet underlay i.e. cork-vs-foam layer, not the ballast (mixing my analogies a bit). Has the proposition of stiffly cemented ballast leading to high noise levels been tested properly? I would have expected rigid track to initially resist vibration, then de-couple what's left with the cork/foam.

 

I've been toying with the idea of pre-coloured *flexible* tile cement/grout. It's a bit sloppy, and I've no idea if it would work as I've never heard of anyone using it.

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Daz will do, Humbol's version is called 'Air Clay' - either should be fine.

You won't be able to premix it with Dylon because it's like putty and supplied in a block, colour after by brush or airbrush after application.

 

Try it first on a spare bit of track to see if you get on. Practice does make perfect. I'd shudder at doing a big layout though! It can crack a little when drying, when this happens just wet the surface and rub with a finger until any cracks fill in.

 

The problem with something like tile grout or plaster is that it is like icecream and will get everywhere to don't want it to - like the sides of the rail and clog up chair detail.

 

The result is no noisier than ordinary ballasted track (though to be honest I always go for realism over noise). In the real world and having used cork underlay as well as no underlay, there is little difference once the track is ballasted, but as you say, the thickness of the baseboard is probably the most important thing.

 

Below, another shot (on a different layout)- the track here I ballasted with sand first and smeared the clay on after - this is probably simpler that adding clay directly to the track base - the sand (you could use granite instead of course) making a good key for the clay. Ignore the colour here, the red is the original Humbrol Air Clay colour and will be painted (any colour you like)

 

 

post-6681-0-81998200-1295555578_thumb.jpg

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