I keep reading that you mustn't use PVA for ballasting because it sets rock
hard and transmits noise. We're supposed to use "artists' matte medium" or
"acrylic matte medium". For example Iain Rice on page 147 of the January
Model Railroader, or Wolf Kirchmeir in a posting here on 7 August 2002.
However I have asked for these in two ironmonger's shops and two artists'
suppliers and been met with blank stares. One of the latter sold me "Marvin
Medium" by Berol but it looks like PVA to me. Does anybody know a brand name
for this matte medium stuff, whatever it might be? Incidentally Carr's
Soldering Handbook suggests using Copydex, but presumably this is not
water-soluble and might make the track difficult to
clean for re-use on the next layout?
Windsor and Newton call (or called) it Nacryl. It's a thickening medium
for building up impasto effects. The matting is consequential.
It's slightly less brittle than PVA but I can't imagine you would
have much luck removing it at a later date.
Copydex market their own remover, but lighter fuel (and, I suspect, diesel
fuel) would work.
=> For example Iain Rice on page 147 of the January
=>Model Railroader, or Wolf Kirchmeir in a posting here on 7 August 2002.
=>However I have asked for these in two ironmonger's shops and two artists'
=>suppliers and been met with blank stares.
Acrylic matte medium is the stuff used to extend acrylic paint. (Its main
effect is to make the paint more translucent, and to thin it without changing
it into a wash - for that you use distilled water.) You should find it at any
artists' supplies store, though it may be called different things. It also
comes in gloss. You could also use clear acrylic varnish - just thin it with
distilled water. Some people just use acrylic paint of a suitable colour.
Thinned, it will dry transparent, more or less. I've used acrylic medium and
PVA glues, with acceptable success. In any case, some painting with acrylic
washes to represent the effects of dripping oil, brake dust, sand, etc is
necessary if you want truly realistsic track. I've done that, too, on a short
section of track on a long-gone layout. Lots of work, but may be worth your
while for foreground track - it's your decision.
NB that the major issue with ballast glue, regardless of type, is penetration
without making scuzzy little balls of glue covered in ballast. Some people
have recommended misting with isoprpyl (rubbing) alcohol first, others say to
use a water with a drop or two of dish detergent in it, then dribble on the
glue. Haven't tried that - I put a drop of detergent in the thinned glue.
Worked OK. Some PVA craft glues stay flexible, and are OK to use; other PVA
glues dry hard. Read the label.
However, I recommend that you experiment, and do a few trial sections to find
out what works for you.
If you didn't want to go to Chicago, why did you get on this train?
Soldering Handbook suggests using Copydex, but presumably this is not<
Copydex or similar types of adhesive would be better than PVA and you can
also obtain it in larger quantities via carpet-supply stores.
Part of the problem is the ballast - Plain PVA with grinite chippings
(well stone anyway, very heavy) sounds like a tumble dryer full of
spanners, same glue with Chinchilla sand from the pet shop was much
quieter - Both on a wood-felt base laid onto plywood. If I can work
out how to (easily) paint the stuff I'm taking a serious look at
Felichman ready ballasted - More expensive it might be and the rail is
'too deep' (at least in N) but it works well and the side-attached
motor can be unclipped and re-inserted upside down so it will fit into
a shallow hole beside the point, simplifying electroical operation no
Some in the group are using the japanese ready ballasted track, any
I bought Liquitex Matte Medium from an artists' supplier in Canada; it's
made in France and should be available in the UK. I haven't actually
tried it for ballast yet. Copydex is probably cheaper.
I also went looking for Matte Medium when tracklaying but my local art emporium
wanted what I considered to be an almost extortionate sum for it. In the end I
used PVA and chinchilla sand. I've considered Copydex, years ago it came with
a useful instruction book but the new bottles don't have this. I've tried the
manufacturers website but found nothing. Does anyone have any information on
thinning it so that it flows a little more than standard?
I'm using Kato Unitrak which has the same 'too deep' profile of the
Fleischman track. I like the stuff, it's very convienient and the point
motors are hidden under the ballast. I find that once I've painted the
rails a rusty colour and given the ballast a thin wash of 'dirty'
acryilics it looks okay. The points are expensive though and laying a fan
of sidings can cost an entire wage packet. (well, one of my wage packets
anyway) One advantage is that there are something like 10 radi of curves
in the range and this allowed me to have easements on my curves and
therefore a much more realistic appearance.
As to using PVA for ballasting, well I've used the stuff since I was a
nipper and never found it to cause any problems. I've found that most
noise is caused by using a table top type baseboard so once I got used to
using open frame style tops most noise issues went away.
My local Do It All has tins of the matte medium type stuff in the
specialist paint effects section. It's used for thinning acyrilc paint.
I should have added that I'm using mostly Kato stock on this track. There
are issues regarding the No 4 point in particular which can cause
problematic running with non-kato models. Nothing that can't be fixed
with a bit of filing here and there, but the the track is certainly not
quite the wonderkid the likes of MG Sharp (and others) would have us
believe it is. Some of my Tomix models struggled to stay on the rails
until I had modified it.
I'm still a convert to PVA glue and granulated cork ballast. There's
no apparent increased noise and you can lift track and pointwork for
re-use if you soak the track well beforehand and leave it for a few
hours. My recipe is a 50-50 mix of PVA + water + a tin of Artists
powder colour (Burnt Sienna) + a few drops of detergent. If you get
the mix right, it 'creeps' up to sleeper level to give a prototype
look. Any surplus can be brushed off for re-use, or if particularly
stubborn, rubbed off with a blunt screwdriver.
Hope this helps.
Sun, 4 Apr 2004 14:01:12 +0100, "The shuffl
PVA is an acrylic, Copydex is a latex based glue, you can get flexible
PVA (sold as book binding glue) but you may need to contact the makers
to get some. Copydex can (IIRC) be diluted with meths, seem to
remember that was what I used when I tried Peco foam underlay some
years ago, lovely quiet running.