Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ballast at Mavern is Complete.

It took a little longer than I expected, but it all came together as I had hoped.

I'm happy with the outcome of using the paper wads that I used to protect the points from the paint; Absolutely no paint what so ever had to be cleaned or scraped in the painting of the track.  As for using the oil to keep the glue mix from getting on the hinge points, springs and throw bars; the turnouts work as good as they did before ballasting.  I only had to apply a slight amount of pressure to break what little residual glue had dried around the throw bars themselves.

Using a drop of the heavier oil on both pockets in the stock rails where the point rails rest, successfully kept the glue from creating a film and insulating the points.  Now all I need to do is to take a lightly dampened "Q" tip with a thinner and wipe away any remaining oil from the areas so they won't gather dust and dirt and cause other problems.

One lesson I learned after ballasting the first turnout was to spread the ballast first!  Then apply the oil.  This kept the ballast from sticking to the rails and points while spreading it.  


I decided to use some old ballast that I had mixed up years ago for the ballast in Malvern, I still wish I could remember what colors I threw together.  It's a nice mixture of at least two or three colors that I had left over.  I really liked the resulting colors.  Since I didn't have enough to cover the mainlines and couldn't quite match the colors again, I decided to used it for Malvern.  It looks to me like what an older ballast might look like after years of no maintenance, kind of a brownish gray.

Speaking from my re-written history book, since the track had to be relaid for the junction at Haskell and the mainlines had actually received some maintenance,  I wanted to use different colors of ballast to help visualize this change.  I chose a mixture of  1 part Fine Gray, and 1 part Fine Gray Blend.  I tried using just the Gray blend by itself and it was too stark and kind of light.  Then I tried using just the Gray, that looked too solid like there was no texture at all.  I wound up using a mixture of  half and half,  I figured the final mixture would be something like 2 parts Gray to 1 part Light Gray.  The light gray gave me just enough contrast to give the illusion of texture.

Since the engine facility had been installed only a few years ago, I used the gray blended ballast here as well.

Since I'm not a fan of gray ballast, my next thought is to make a wash of acrylic brown/black paint which I hope will tone the gray blended ballast down and give it a dusty, slightly dirty look.  I did actually test this method on some scraps of track before applying any of the gray/ gray blended ballast.  The preliminary results looked pretty good.  This will be my next project.

Another little trick that I tried was using the handle of a larger brush to tap on the rail head to help settle the ballast in place, this also did a nice job of keeping the ballast from setting on top of the ties.  I don't remember where I read this from, but it worked very well.

I did manage to get the pad constructed for Heavy Metal, Ind. as well  I used the same method that I did for the engine facility and for Olin Corp.  Only this time I didn't make the pad as thick [or tall] as I did before.  I started out using .040" thick plain styrene which was the same thickness as the base plate for the overhead crane supports.  On one of the pieces for the crane pads I scabbed a larger piece of plain styrene to it using a strip of .020" styrene on the bottom, then glued down more of the .020" strips around the bottom, outer edges to keep the pad level.  I also applied strips of .020" to the other crane pad so they were the same thickness.

After getting the pads ready, I built a pair of the support beams so I could properly space the pads.  Once  positioned I taped them in place and finished spreading the ballast on the siding for Heavy Metal.  Tonight when I removed them, they just popped right up and I now have an nice area formed by the ballast to help relocate the pads when it comes time to glue them in place.  I'm also going to try and scribe lines in the plastic pad so as to represent control joints since I used plain sheet styrene.

With the ballasting all done, the scenery can now continue in earnest.    Finally!

I did get the tracks all cleaned and was able to run a loco with only a few minor issues, nothing a little solder won't fix.

As always, thanks for following along with me.

This will probably be the last major post for a while as my single life will be ending at the end of April.  After 11-1/2 years of dating, I'm happy to announce that Lisa and I will be tying the knot!  I'll continue work on the layout, but at a much slower pace than I have been recently as two other projects will need my immediate attention.  As you are reading this, I'm in the process of remodeling the front room so I can hopefully get it done before or shortly after the wedding and when that mess is finished, the Kitchen will be the next item on the list!  Neither of these projects are on the "Honey Do" list,  it's just that I've kept putting them off over the years.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Concrete work at Malvern.

The ballast work is just about complete in Malvern.  But before I can finish it though, I need to get some foundations installed for some of the buildings.  The first one installed was for the tank car loading platform at the Olin Corp plant. 

The second one is the pad for the W&OV's engine facility.

I contemplated pouring the foundations at both locations, but decided against this method because I remembered from years ago that when it came time to clean the rails, one slip and the off comes the paint or you dig into the plaster.

So this time I used styrene for the concrete.  I glued some strips of .080" styrene to the bottom side which will keep the pad surface about .020" below the railhead. So with a little care I should be able to clean the railhead without removing the painted surface.  Although accidents will happen.....

The last pad I have to install will be one for the unloading area at Heavy Metal, Inc. then I can finish with the ballasting work in Malvern.

At the same time I'm also trying to decide on a color of ballast for the W&OV engine house and the tracks that lead into Malvern from Haskell.

Since these tracks are relatively new [according to my re-written history] my hopes are to make the ballast look fresher at the W&OV facility as well as the tracks leading into Malvern since they were recently re-worked at the junction and newly laid at the engine facility.