Re: Track painting color and ballast?

John Stutz


I have not done anything to compare with the photos that Don and Jeff have shared with us, but I find that a good dusting with appropriate shades of scenic grass helps set the scene. A mix of nominally N-scale ballast for the larger stone texture, with some fine beach sand, and a large proportion of finer material is appropriate for pit run gravel. Craig's coffee grinder will help a lot here.

I expect that Lloyd's approach of placing a dry mix, followed by 'wet' water and bonded with thinned acrylic matt medium will give quieter track than Don's plaster, but Don's approach does give a very realistic effect. Chris's comment about 'mud' in the ballast mix degrading the binding is pertinent, but his approach will tend to eliminate the fine texture that we seek here. One might get around this by initially mixing the dust component with the matt medium as it is thinned, to get the dust thoroughly wetted before applying the medium. This should eliminate Chris's problem, which is due to dry dust soaking up most of the medium. This might also allow an acrylic variation of Don's technique.

Jeff - I am certain that all of us would like to hear more about how you achieve such realistic vegetation. You are getting to the point where a well cropped photograph would be difficult to distinguish from the real thing.

John Stutz

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