I've only been around here for a couple of months trying to learn some stuff about N-Scale and model railroading in general. I don't want to minimize the help given by others, but it seems that this fellow, Bill, has a lot of good information which he readily shares.
THANKS, BILL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And thanks to others who have given helpful advice.
The best way is what works for you, but keep in mind that it's all about layering and having the proper tools.
First, finish weathering your ties and rails before starting ballast. It''s simple to clip a few ties and airbrush the trackwork before you start and it makes a huge difference.
In the final stages you can do some chalks and washes to really add some nice touches.
I use a plastic shoe box to mix several bags of ballast to get the correct look and mix I want. Keep in mind that ballast is not all the same size.
I use an empty film container to spread ballast
I use a "GOOD" grade quart size mister to wetting the area and I use two different mixes of glue and water in different applicators.
For between the ties I use a "Toni" home permanant type squeese bottle ( at 3 for a buck I usualy keep several filled ) and I use about 25% glue to water mix. The tip of Toni Bottle can be trimmed to allow the flow you prefer. just make sure to shake well when the bottle has sat up for several weeks. For outside the rails I use the Toni type bottle with a smaller hole in the applicater bottle to have better control of the flow. Once you get the feel of it you can usually flow the glue from inbetween the rails to the outside and cover everything with one slow steady pass. Keep the smaller bottle for finer work and touch ups. If you choose to keep the tip as small as possible you will want to keep a small piece of wire handy to clear the tip if your glue clogs. Gravity will allow the proper mix top flow. If you have to squeese the bottle your mix is too thick for the opening ( or you tip is too small for the mix......)
As far as the turnouts, "I" put the turnout in a middle position and make sure to apply just a touch of lube oil to the pivot point. To glue the ballast i use a very weak mix of 5 - 10 % glue to water and I apply it with a contact lense solution bottle. That bottle is slow to work but you can control it drop by drop.
Like I said, experiment and find what works for you. When you find the right mister, you will treasure it for life. I can cover a lot of area with my bottles but if I'm working with someone elses bottles it will take be three or four times as long.
The work itself is easy, it's having the right tools and a good eye.
Looks like I left out the fact that I use a short & stiff bristled makeup brush to move the ballast and "sweep" things into place. I have friends that use different types of brushes that work better for them. The one I like has a cream colored handle with whithesh bristles, it's cut on an angle and is only about 3/8 to 1/2 inch wide, I don't even remember where I got it but I'm always looking at anything being thrown away for something that might have a purpose.
Another hint. If you live in the climate where roaches are a problem with where your layout is located, ( new Orleans , Florida etc ) We have found that crushing the Harris Roach tablets into a fine powder and mixing it with the ballast helps to lessen the roaches appetite for the white glue mixture.
You'd be surprized how much damage those roaches ( the BIG ones here in New Orleans) can do when they are in their "seek and destroy" season. Even though we spray once a month, a building 128 feet by 24 feet that is an old wooden WPA project building that 98 feet of it is raised 3 feet off the ground creates the perfect wet, cool , haven for pest growth under the main room.
You can see picturews of the building when we bought it in 73 as well as pictures from several years ago after many renovations.
"Rick Mitchell" wrote in news: firstname.lastname@example.org:
A couple of tips to add to what's already been said. I use a plastic kitchen funnel to lay the ballast. Plant the exit tube against the ties, Fill with ballast, lift slightly and drag along the track. You will have a nice pile of ballast in the middle of the rails. Use a paint brush to plow the ballast over the rails. It will fall into a natural shaped shoulder.
You can start the scenery if you want. That way you don't have to protect the ballast from the scenery materials. I usually have the basic landforms and initial painting done by the time I ballast the track.
I"ll make one comment about this. Before ballasting, make sure that the track is nice and smooth and things don't derail. The nastiest thing is to ballast the track down and then find out that you haven't made sure that the track is laid right. Check all of the joints to make sure that the joints mate the rails together without any offsets and that there is no grade change at the joints. Run trains over the track and verify that there is no derailments. For turnouts, you want to make sure that the ballast is firmly down and there is none in the slot where the throwbar is and none sticks up where the points are going to move back and forth.
-- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?