The last few months has seen more progress on ballasting from Kankool through to where the main peninsular starts.
I generally work on around 2 feet worth of ballast per day.
The process starts with Pan Pastels applied to the sleepers and rail as a start on the weathering. Then glue is applied to the formation shoulder and dry ballast sprinkled on. More ballast is applied over the sleepers and brushed into position.
Then a diluted mixture of Matte Mod Podge and water is dripped onto the ballast, after liberally spraying with isopropyl alcohol to aid in penetration of the glue into the ballast.
This is left to dry for 24 hours, and the process is repeated. The line of ballast seen to the right of the track is just loose stuff that has been brushed clear of the shoulder prior to glue being applied. This will be vacuumed up later and reused.
Further to my post on April 6 showing the start of the Kankool signal box platform, more work has been completed with timbers stained and glued to the frame.
Kappler 3″ x 9″ stripwood was cut into 8 foot lengths. These were then ‘distressed’ by dragging a wire brush across the top, as well as removing the sharp edges in places with a scalpel blade. They were then stained with some Vallejo acrylic paint thinned with isopropyl alcohol. The first pass was done with burnt umber, then when dry, a black wash was applied.
Working from photos, I also had to cut small notches in the ends of a few timbers to accommodate the vertical posts for the handrails, which will be added later.
Over the last few weeks I have been working on applying scenery to a small diorama I initially made a few years ago. Up until now, it had just been sitting around with track ballasted but no scenery.
So out came the scenery dirt and static grasses. Still a work in progress as I am yet to finish the road. I was trialling different techniques to produce long grass. Basically, the first layer is 2mm fibres applied into Mod Podge glue. When that has dried, 3M Super 77 adhesive spray is applied over the top then a mixture of 4mm and 6mm fibres is applied over the top. Different colours are mixed together to get away from a uniform colour. Additional grass tufts, weeds etc are then added.
Tried out some weathering on the ballast today.
As mentioned previously, the glued ballast dries a bit too dark, so I’ve gone over it with some grey pan pastels. More rust colour has been re-applied to the rail and onto the ballast to get that rust stained look. Some black also applied between the rails for the oil stains that occur from bogies and traction motors.
A work in progress.
First section of ballast glued down this afternoon.
I am using Chuck’s Ardglen Fine (how appropriate!).
Ballast applied using a spoon, then carefully shaped and spread with a soft brush, being careful to remove any that adheres to the web of the rail. When happy, isopropyl alcohol is sprayed on the ballast, doing a short section at a time. This helps break down the surface tension and aids in the capillary action of the glue.
A mixture of Matte Mod Podge, water and a few drops of detergent is then applied using a small squeeze bottle. It is now left to dry.
The ballast normally dries darker, but it can be lightened up using Pan Pastels. I will also go over the rail colour again with the pastels to blend the rust staining into the ballast. Other weathering will be added later.
Some ballasting work this morning.
PVA glue was brushed onto the shoulders of the roadbed first so following applications of ballast wouldn’t just slide down the slope!
Using a spoon and tapping it, ballast was applied to the shoulders.
The next stage will be to apply ballast to the track and glue in position.