I have to start somewhere... sometime....

rock is everywhere right now. In my shoes, on the floor, even stuck to my belly. 

I think I got some of it on the RR?

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I came up with the bright idea of mixing up my own blacktop. Prototype one is a mix with an unidentified gallon jug of black paint or maybe gel? I bought it so long ago I don't remember what it is. I thought it was an ink type die but now I think it's a gel for staining plaster rocks.

 Anyways it was too thick so I dumped in a bit of water to create my own mix. I either invented something cool, or I just made a mess!

DSC_0664

It's just a test patch and I may have to scrap it if it doesn't dry right. I may swap to a black paint mix, or go the spray paint route?

Funny to me that everything I try takes a full day of drying to know if the results will work. So I want to move forward faster than I'm able. Our grandson started the ballast but at his age, he doesn't bear with it long.

I can run the latest app with the trains. I can fix the average mechanical problems, and do some basic wiring. Scenery, is something I just haven't got a clue with. Hopefully I'll get better before I attack the mainlines.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

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Watch some YouTube videos - Eric's trains website has some good ideas in the video section - mountain building -it gets into terrain stuff

I like Dave Frary - watch a few of his 

I saw or read that you don't need to overthink it - just do it - and what you think is terrible will look ok to good - the more you do it, the better you get - anything looks better than bare board

Put a weed here and there in between the tracks or along the edge of the ballast. it is detail that adds to the look. just some scenery stuff - some thin sticks from outside - perhaps an oddball tie that wasn't picked up yet

It looks good - by the way - no one "likes" ballasting

Carl

Arctic Railroad

Engineer-Joe, your ballast and blacktop experiment look terrific to me.  As Carl points out sometimes you just need to step away from it and add some small touches.  I think it is quite common to put something together and feel that it is not 'right'.  I have to step away and give it time, look at it from different angles or different light before I see something else that helps make it 'pop' a bit more.

Of course, other times I rip it up and start over.  I don't think you need to in your case.

Steve

Thank you both for the helpful replies.

 The ballasting of a whole car yard at once seems a little overwhelming to get it perfect for me. Don't get me wrong here, I'm happy that I am moving forward. I agree that some better detailing might be the ticket so thanks for that idea. That should help the look of the finished product.

 I think it's extra frustrating because of the volume of tracks right there right now. I thought ballasting would be slightly easier and I just threw it down to get it done with. Maybe the practice will help with all the rest of the mains. At the least, it has taught me to slow down here.

I am also upset that I didn't use cork to raise the tracks. I feel that it makes it tougher to get the ballast deep enough and yet add some interest like ditches along the tracks. That will come when I do the mains though.

 The switches seem to be a tough spot to get the ballast vs. operation correct. I would go shallow there but again, I'm forced to make it level looking with the rest of the yard. So I keep picking at it while it dries. The glue is all over everything and although I wiped it down, there seems to be a haze of dried glue that I still had to scrape off the rails. The rock size I first chose seemed to big so I blended crushed in with it afterwards. Then more glue and more cleaning!

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Looks good to me Joe! Keep going, the more you do, the better your feel for the task. I agree with Carl and Steve, watch videos and read some, and decide what works best for you. I think we’ve all felt the same way about ballasting. When I did my yard, I thought it would never end. And in the end, if you like the result, that’s all that counts. 

Andy

Joe, i am with the rest of the guys. I think it looks great! Just take a deep breath and step back. It will get better as you go!

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

So this morning, I was surprised to see that the blacktop mix had fully cured and seems to be durable. The imperfections glare now that it's dry. I had slapped it down with a trowel and dragged some of the larger ballast from the track thru the blacktop. So a good lesson is proper clean-up next time and more patience with the product. The camera close-up pic makes the product look like it has larger rocks than in person. This stuff is just made with the really fines screened with a common fine vinyl window screen.

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It will also be interesting to see how the next batch blends in with this first attempt. Maybe I could have some pot holes and cold patch areas if I play with it more? Although it's made with a black paint type mix, I think a primer coat of plain flat black might be best for shallow spots.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

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So for anyone who can follow these posts of mine....

The camera seemed to make the surface look more uneven than it does from the standard viewing distance here. So the fist thing I tried was scraping the surface to get a flatter surface, and again to see how durable it will be. I was surprised to see a neat side effect seems to make it look more realistic like a worn road surface. Take a look for yourself...

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The black gel paint made it interesting to work with. It didn't stick fully when working with it. There were areas where I could drag it off the plywood and it was bare again. Only where the gel was the thickest, did it seem to stain the plywood like I wanted. Yet the dried product seems to stick really well so I'm torn on my next attempt's direction. I would like it to stick a little better in the hopes of an easier to work with product, to get a thin even coat. The final product here, I'm pretty happy with as is.

 So If I leave the mix as is, I will only try for a better mixed product that's more evenly distributed. If I'm really brave, I may try an actual paint for better adhesion while working with it.

 Hope this helps anyone who cares to try it!

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

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Hey Joe, just a thought, what if you put down some white glue and let it get tacky? Might help your mix to stick better!

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

Engineer-Joe posted:

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Funny to me that everything I try takes a full day of drying to know if the results will work. So I want to move forward faster than I'm able. Our grandson started the ballast but at his age, he doesn't bear with it long.

Paul's handy scenery tip # 3,479:  Do your scenery work just before you go to bed in the evening.  Set up a fan to blow air across the work.  Then go to bed.  When you wake up in the morning, the scenery will be dry, or mostly so.  No waiting around all day for scenery to dry. 

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high in either case.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

If the government knew how much fun O-gauge railroading was, they'd outlaw it!

Common sense is my second best trait.  Nonsense is my first, of course. 

The blacktop mix goes down a rich color and in the morning when it dries, it lightens up to a realistic older blacktop color to me. I haven't done my surface clean-up or surface scrape yet to get the worn look I'm after to match the first L shaped section.

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I am amazed that a little of the black gel coat cut down with water, ends up with such a tuff surface when dried.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

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I tried the white glue and it didn't seem to help. I did change something else. As I continued to spread the blacktop thinly, I noticed the black gel paint seemed to be getting used up. So near the end of the spread, and mixed in a little more gel to get it darker and sticky. It didn't get any stickier but it dried looking good.

 Probably somewhere near the end I'll figure out what is going on to get a better mix. In the meantime, I'm happy with the finish. I just have to get better at spreading it when it would rather stay on the blade, then stick to the plywood surface. It seems like if I leave it to rest on the surface, it penetrates somewhat and helps with the spreading. I think the glue actually prevents this from occurring.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Ballasting track, while tedious, need not be daunting.   Your local hardware store (or even big box stores) carry a product called "polymeric sand" which is designed for use in patio paver joint applications.   The cool thing is that the product (or any similar with different brand names) has adhesive blended with O scale sized ballast (sand).   Oh, and polymeric sand is cheap--$20-25 per 80 # bag, so you can share with rail friends.imageimageimageimageimage

Simply apply the sand/ballast, spray with water, and you're done.  Start with dry track, build your contours and have FUN.  Photos attached are part of a 90-car division point yard on my railroad.   I'm just beginning to add scrap, pools of water, weeds, etc. 

Don

 

Don

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Joe- the blacktop looks good. You might want to try painting the plywood black first. This will help hide the thin spots. It might even help the gel bond to the surface too, bare plywood sucks up any moisture that the paint needs for adhesion.

Remember- there are not too many perfect looking roads and parking lots out there. The patches and cracks are all normal. Try some black acrylic paint over the cracks and seams to make it look like a hot tar crack fill.

The ballast looks good too. Slow and steady wins the race.

Bob

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

PAUL ROMANO posted:

Looks real good Joe! We have a 185' for you to practice on at NJ Hirailers...... 

I am screening real rock to get the size I want here. It makes the job much more difficult. I got the rock for free. I have the time. Money's tight.

Installing it is the easy part for me.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

I feel like Cranky the Crane's voice (from Thomas and Friends) would be appropriate here saying - "Sift and spread - sift and spread"

I forget Elliott's total weight that he put on his layout (Dream - Nightmare layout) - he also had stuff from a nearby stone business with quarry stuff.

Keep on - it's lookin good!

Carl

Arctic Railroad

Moonman posted:

I feel like Cranky the Crane's voice (from Thomas and Friends) would be appropriate here saying - "Sift and spread - sift and spread"

I forget Elliott's total weight that he put on his layout (Dream - Nightmare layout) - he also had stuff from a nearby stone business with quarry stuff.

Keep on - it's lookin good!

Yeap!

DSC_0868

I forget just how much track I do have?

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

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Joe, looking at your photos it appears that you are covering most of your ties with 'ballast dust' or similar and losing the contrast between a dark tie and the much lighter ballast. This may be the effect you are after but personally, I would prefer to see the ties as more distinct as in the lower left of the photo below. What do you think?

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I agree.

What you're seeing here is the first application of the rock with it's dust. After I spray the area with wet water, and apply glue, it looks like the "as in the lower left of the photo below." It actually cleans off the rock dust.

The problem for me is that with my condition, I can't spend the needed amount of effort on each tie. So I am just going with what I can do. It's not perfect or even close. It's what I can achieve right now. I have been putting this off for a few years in hope that my condition would improve and it hasn't.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Might I suggest watching a few videos of this guy. I believe he's Australian.

Anyway, I think he's a wiz at scenery. He does everything in HO scale. But the same rules and concepts apply to larger or smaller scales. What he does in the videos takes him days to do, Nothing is rushed. Sometimes he mentions that in the video. Your doing a fantastic job by the way. As others have said, Walk away when you get frustrated, then come back to it.

https://www.bouldercreekrailroad.com/

Chris

Jayhawk500 posted:

Might I suggest watching a few videos of this guy. I believe he's Australian.

Anyway, I think he's a wiz at scenery. He does everything in HO scale. But the same rules and concepts apply to larger or smaller scales. What he does in the videos takes him days to do, Nothing is rushed. Sometimes he mentions that in the video. Your doing a fantastic job by the way. As others have said, Walk away when you get frustrated, then come back to it.

https://www.bouldercreekrailroad.com/

I don't see a video on ballast?

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

PAUL ROMANO posted:

Looks real good Joe! We have a 185' for you to practice on at NJ Hirailers...... 

I'm starting to think that 185' is a walk in the park! I should have done it.

DSC_0872

I'm thinking I'm at 500'+!

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Attachments

Photos (1)
Engineer-Joe posted:

I have to start somewhere... sometime....

rock is everywhere right now. In my shoes, on the floor, even stuck to my belly. 

I think I got some of it on the RR?

DSC_0661DSC_0662

I came up with the bright idea of mixing up my own blacktop. Prototype one is a mix with an unidentified gallon jug of black paint or maybe gel? I bought it so long ago I don't remember what it is. I thought it was an ink type die but now I think it's a gel for staining plaster rocks.

 Anyways it was too thick so I dumped in a bit of water to create my own mix. I either invented something cool, or I just made a mess!

DSC_0664

It's just a test patch and I may have to scrap it if it doesn't dry right. I may swap to a black paint mix, or go the spray paint route?

Funny to me that everything I try takes a full day of drying to know if the results will work. So I want to move forward faster than I'm able. Our grandson started the ballast but at his age, he doesn't bear with it long.

I can run the latest app with the trains. I can fix the average mechanical problems, and do some basic wiring. Scenery, is something I just haven't got a clue with. Hopefully I'll get better before I attack the mainlines.

I laid Woodland Scenics buff fine gravel on my layout.  Sprayed with white glue/water overcoat to bind.    I did not like it after it set up.

I decided to purchase 1 gallon of "Black Fox" eggshell latex from Lowes.  Painted right over with about 4 coats.  It came out perfect.  Easy and no more sand crumbs.  You can even tape lines down afterward.

Bryant

TCA 18-73717

Engineer-Joe posted:
PAUL ROMANO posted:

Looks real good Joe! We have a 185' for you to practice on at NJ Hirailers...... 

I'm starting to think that 185' is a walk in the park! I should have done it.

DSC_0872

I'm thinking I'm at 500'+!

Great work Joe! Don't forget we have subway lines to practice on too.........

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