Grotty ballast

Help with layout scenics
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Bandit Mick
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Grotty ballast

#1

Post by Bandit Mick »

I am modelling an almost forgotten siding leading to a run down engine shed (steam era). I’m looking to model grotty ballast. Any suggestions of what to use, commercial products or ‘home made’ would be much appreciated.
PS The grottier the better as I love grime and filth. Thank you in advance.
PPS I’ll submit some pictures soon. It’s another box file so apologies again to those of a sensitive disposition - but I just can’t help myself!
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Steve M
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Location: Rochester, Kent
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Re: Grotty ballast

#2

Post by Steve M »

Mick, I have always used a mix of playpit sand and plaster for areas like that.

Mix it dry in a dry pot. The sand is fine enough to pass through a tea strainer yet coarse enough to add a gritty texture to the plaster. I have always applied it by sprinkling evenly over the area with the tea strainer then brushing it into place with a small flat brush.

I then flood (literally) with 50:50 PVA/water and brush it out with the flat brush where necessary.
Before it’s dry I colour the surface with Woodland Scenics earth colours, mixing ochre and earth to get a patchy finish. It helps to mist the surface with water to blur the colours together.
Finally when dry you can add black and oily paint to weather it all in.

It’s quite a long winded process but it seems to work. This is an old picture from my N gauge layout - the shed area was all done using the above method.

Image20191101_115147 by Steve Mumford, on Flickr
"Not very stable, but incredibly versatile." ;)
Bandit Mick
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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:42 pm
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Re: Grotty ballast

#3

Post by Bandit Mick »

Thank you Steve - just the job.
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Steve M
Posts: 2068
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:29 pm
Location: Rochester, Kent
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Re: Grotty ballast

#4

Post by Steve M »

No problem Mick.
Try varying the amount of sand/plaster to adjust to granularity of the mix. Make sure it’s plaster not polyfilla or plaster of Paris. Also have a look at Hattons- they sold a weathering pack for track that included a very fine gray powder to brush into already ballasted track to create the hard packed, greasy areas where locos stand in stations.
"Not very stable, but incredibly versatile." ;)
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