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Model Railroading > Ballast blending

Date: 06/29/20 15:43
Ballast blending
Author: Jeff_Johnston

I do a lot of color and texture blending for miscellaneous model railroad projects. To recall how to duplicate those effects again many months or even years later, I always assemble a "color chip chart" to help jog my memory. This time it was the ballast for an industrial lumber mill siding on our Sugar Pine Lumber Company layout. Per the prototype location I needed something like a grey-ish limestone looking ballast but didn't have enough of the base color on hand.

I made a blend of basic grey ( no manufacturer data on the bag) plus some Arizona Rock & Mineral #1221 N Scale Yard Mix and AR&M #1060 Beach Sand. 2 parts 1221 plus two parts generic grey plus one part 1060. This created a decent variation and the dirt added some of that industrial track aging effect. I glued some of each material to a piece of cardstock and labeled them with manufacturer and the blending ratio. Later, if AR&M no longer carries these types, I can mix and match as needed to achieve a similar effect. It's a handy procedure to use.

The model photo posted here was done before the excess ground foam was vacuumed up, and the detailing and finishing steps were not yet completed. Plus the lighting makes the foam look way too bright yellow for what was intended.

Jeff Johnston

Date: 06/29/20 16:05
Re: Ballast blending
Author: ChrisCampi

The chip card is a great idea. I've been doing a lot of ballast work lately also and just realized Arizona Rock has two versions of CSX/SP ballast for HO. One is labeled Mainline and the other is just HO ballast. The mainline looks scale but doesn't really scale down to well to my eyes and creates lots of shadows which I don't care for much. The bag labeled HO ballast looks perfect to me. I also mix in N scale rock to help eliminate some of the shadows and cavities left behind by the larger rock. I will include this info on my chip card. Thanks for the great idea.

Date: 06/29/20 20:43
Re: Ballast blending
Author: railstiesballast

I find that Arizona products have much stronger capillary action, dilute glue never beads up on it like it does with some other products.
Your sample cards are an excellent idea for seeing what it will look like after glue has been applied, it can shift a little bit with a glue coating.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/20 20:45 by railstiesballast.

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