Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Building a switching layout (Part 6: Ballasting and ground cover)


I ballasted the track with a grey blend mix from Woodland Scenics.

After the ballast is leveled between the ties, I wet the whole area with wet water from a spray bottle. I use distilled water with a few drops of Isopropy Alcohol added. You could also use a drop of dishwashing solution, but it tends to bubble if you add too much.

With a pipette or eye dropper, I drizzle the scenic glue onto the wetted ballast. I usually use matte medium or carpenters' white glue thinned 1:7 with distilled water and again a few drops of Isopropy Alcohol added to make the glue creep between the ballast.

Extra care should be taken on turnouts. After the glue has dried, the points and closure rails may stick to the ties. Also the switch tie may have bonded to the subroadbed.

To avoid glueing the moving parts of a turnout, I simply don't add glue to the switch tie area. If the rails and ties are weathered or painted, this isn't visible right away, especially if the turnouts are farther back. The crossing above will be located behind a building, so it cannot be seen anyway.

While the glue sets, I add fine turf and static grass to the ballasted area. This of course only on indutry trackage or rarely used tracks.

Asphalt or tarmac

For some time now, I use 3mm cork sheets under my tracks or to model parking or loading areas and roads. It lifts these spaces above the surrounding subroadbed.

I painted these areas with Heki Asphalt Paint. This paint is thick enough, so that normally one coat is sufficiant.

Another advantage of cork is, that you may scratch out small pieces to represent potholes.

The area between the rails is filled with wall compound. Before it hardened, I scribed the flangeways free along the rails.

Potholes and asphalted cobblestones

As already mentioned before, potholes are easily modeled using cork sheet for roadbed.

On my loading area between the tracks, I wanted to represent a special kind of road damage. Many loading areas and street used to be laid out with cobblestones, which were simply covered with asphalt, to achieve a smoother surface. Unfortunately, heavy traffic and the weather caused the asphalt to break occasionally. These broken asphalt bits were torn away over time and exposed the cobblestones underneath, causing a rather bumpy road surface.

To do this I randomly cut out some more or less round shapes from a Vollmer cobblestone pattern styrene sheet using a pair of scissors. Then I placed the pieces on the cork and traced the outlines with a black permanent marker.

With a chisel blade, I carved the cork out following the outlines.

The styrene sheet is approximately 1 mm thick, so it gives a nice recess.

I glued the cobbelstone pieces down into the recess and painted them a light brown/kakhi color.

Then I filled the edges with wall compound and touched up the paint.

Now the loading area looks a bit worn out from the heavy traffic.

Next step will be weathering and detailing.

Stay tuned!

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