Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Gravel roads and parking lots

Since the last time I've done any major scenery work, I've read about so many new techniques and methods that I've wanted to try, now I'm finally getting a chance to try some. Talk about learning to ride the bike all over again...

One of which is the use of sanded grout for gravel roads and parking lots.  It comes in a wide variety of colors and is very fine, much finer than any material I've used before. It's also dirt cheap [pun intended].   One thing I learned already, was the grout powder will discolor any area it touches and it's hard to remove so I've roughly taped off the ballast, track and roads to prevent any discoloration before I sift it into place.
The way I'm using it is to paint the surface an earth color first.  After it's dry, I spread thinned glue down [about 70% white glue to 30% water].

Then I use a sieve to spread it over the glued areas.

Once I get it sifted into place I let it dry.  Then I wet it down again with a small atomizer of 70% alcohol then apply a 50-50 white glue mix like you would use to glue ballast in place.

Once it's dried, it isn't going anywhere.  It's probably hard to see too well, but there is a good amount of texture with the sanded grout.  

One thing about using the tape, it can and will leave a very defined line so I will probably have to go back over this with a bit more ballast or try and work a line of weeds between the ballast and the parking lot. This might be a good use of static grass?  As you can see, some paint was removed when the tape came up.

Next step is to add some green ground foam...


  1. Neat idea, Allen. Thanks for that tip. I've been using fine dust that I get from sifting gravel toppings, in much the same way, but grout is much easier to obtain.


    1. Thanks, but it's not my idea. I've read about using grout now for some time.
      It is definitely cheaper than hobby supplies.

  2. Hi Allen
    Vic and I used tile grout on our Thompson River Canyon layout some years ago to cover the blue foam on our mountains. It has a lot of uses on our model RR's. If I can suggest to get an uneven edge just paint the glue on the area you want a bit thicker without using tape. Once sifted on you can then spray some glue alcohol mix on to allow it to soak in. You then get a nice natural effect.
    Your RR is looking very good.

    1. Thanks Rod, I'm always open for suggestions. This stuff looks like a great idea to use for about anywhere on the layout. I think it has a ton of potential.
      What's the best way to contact you Rod, I've got some deeper questions for you.?