When I was modeling in O scale I used white glue thinned with water with a few
of detergent added to act as a wetting agent. Forty years later some of this
is beginning to come up in a few places. I have also used Liquitex matte medium
the same purpose, however, none of the ballast that I secured with the matte
is forty years-old yet, so I don't know which one is actually better.
It would seem that the matt medium would be the strongest, though the
white glue is more easily reworked by wetting it and scraping it off or
vacuming. When I was young I remember reading in RMC that some 0
scalers used loose ballast. Roger Aultman
I've seen that tried and it doesn't work very well. The natural vibrations that
exist in the quiescent state of the Earth will cause it to eventually
itself. Entropy will always occur if you don't combat it somehow.
We use white glue, diluted in water. Spread the ballast out dry. Then
use a spray bottle (the sort that Windex comes in) to moisten the
ballast and road bed with the diluted glue mix. Add a bit of Kodak
Photoflo or other wetting agent to the glue to make it wet the ballast.
Some folks use artist's matte medium in place of white glue.
That's genrally good advice.
As an alternative to the alcohol, a spray of (preferably warm)
detergent-water mix ("wet water") will do nicely. All these liquids
'wick' considerable distances, and the alcohol can (occasionally) cause
problems with painted, stained, or glued items near the ballast (like
ties and nearby structures). I suupose the water could do similar,
depending on what is involved, but I've not seen water be a problem in
practice. You can't avoid the water anyway, as it's in the scenery-glue
I too use the thinned matt medium for general scenery purposes. It dries
more flexible than the white glue, so MAY lessen sound transfer (I can't
say that I've really noticed any difference, however). The white glues
do shrink and harden with age, and I've seen them crack, curl, and pull
up small sections of scenery (after many years). Kind of like dried mud.
The matt medium (a form of rubber) does not do this in my experience.
Still, white glue is fine for smaller jobs, like gluing down rocks or
The local club is using the Woodland Scenics scenery cement. This seems
to be pre-thinned matt medium. So far it's working well. It's more
expensive than the regular matt medium, but is always ready to use and
(applies to HO, but should work on other scales)
I use Arizona Rock ballast: it is real rock so doesn't tend to float on
matte medium. I put thick glue (white glue is fine, as is Foam Tack Glue
(woodland scenics) on the sloped part of the road bed side and then put
ballast on that to secure the ballast sides a bit. Then I put ballast on the
ties between the tracks and outside the tracks up to the ballast I've just
secured on the sides.
I shape that and make sure essentially NONE are on the top of the ties or on
the rail sides. Since I use rock ballast, tapping the rail top lightly tends
to send ballast to the lowest energy potential: that is, between the ties.
The few stray bits I move with a toothpick or small stiff brush.
Then I apply matte medium (I use Woodland Scenics) wit an eye dropper: I
really flood the area so that I can see it soaking the ballast. I apply it
between the ties, then on the outside of the rails so that ALL the ballast
When it is dry, I use a not-too-strong vacuum to pick up loose ballast. If I
reveal any bare spots, I do spot repairs.
in article firstname.lastname@example.org, Roger Aultman at email@example.com
wrote on 11/19/05 7:18 AM:
Diluted white glue, 25 to 50 % glue to water. Perp first with a spray of
wet water, a few drops of detergent in water. This breakes down the
surface adhesion and allows the glue to really soak through.
Roger Aultman wrote:
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