Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Some improvement

Spent the better part of a rainy Independence Day working on a set of platforms and walkways for the feed mill. But I did peel away the most offensive sections of the bad ballast. If you have ever seen AMI Insta-Roadbed, the sticky, black stuff - that black goopy mess was similar to how the bad ballast came up! Even so, there was a lot of track with half-dried, shiny, sticky ballast.
I first brush-painted those ties that had developed a shine from the glue. The results were far from perfect but luckily these are two spur tracks, so the gray/brown/earthtone ties work in this situation.
Then I added a very thin coat of fresh cinders to the surface.
I soaked it - thoroughly - with 70% alcohol - and then secured it in place with diluted matte medium. I usually prefer white glue to matte medium for ballasting track since matte medium when it's dried, isn't going to be "soaked" off - so any track ballasted with matte medium is staying in place and never going to be removed and reused.
I again turned off the lights and headed upstairs. Stopped down there this morning before leaving for work. Hadn't completely dried but the results are already much approved.
The ties are still a little shinier than I'd like in some spots - but that's something a little final weathering can fix. As I said yesterday I plan to add more than the typical amount of grass/weeds to these spurs so that will help disguise any miscues with the ballast as well.
All in all, I think it's safe to move forward with the gravel ballast on the mainline.


  1. Marty,

    Whenever I use Matte Medium to secure ballast it always seems to leave a white chalky residue after it dries. Do you ever see this happening?

    Chris Vanko

  2. Hi Marty,
    A nice save I would say...
    I use Tamiya TS80 Flat lacquer spray on my layout scenery.
    It makes anything shiny go dead flat without a chalky/milky look that shooting acrylic flat does.
    It also "bleaches" grass tufts to a more natural color and takes away the sheen.
    I am careful to not spray too much, too closely though.
    Anyway I enjoy your blog and I wish you continued success!
    Rick De Candido
    Fillmore Avenue Roundhouse