Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Ballast, or Scenery?

1579 views
9 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 265 posts
Ballast, or Scenery?
Posted by Harrison on Sunday, April 08, 2018 3:38 PM

I am building my first layout, I have all the track and wiring done. What should I do next?

Tags: Ballast , Scenery

Harrison

Homeschooler living In upstate NY a.k.a Northern NY.

Modeling the D&H in 1978.

Route of the famous "Montreal Limited"

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 426 posts
Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Monday, April 09, 2018 10:24 AM

Harrison
I am building my first layout, I have all the track and wiring done. What should I do next?

 Run trains, work the bugs out, make sure you like what you got.

Then do whatever you feel like doing. I believe it was decided that it made little to no difference as to what comes first.

I've done it both ways,and at times both at the same time.

If I'm looking for a ''something to do'' project, I'll ballest a few feet, quick and easy.

Whereas a couple of square feet of scenery can,and has,taken an hour or more

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 265 posts
Posted by Harrison on Monday, April 09, 2018 10:47 AM
Thanks

Harrison

Homeschooler living In upstate NY a.k.a Northern NY.

Modeling the D&H in 1978.

Route of the famous "Montreal Limited"

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Southern California
  • 1,419 posts
Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Monday, April 09, 2018 12:04 PM

I save ballast for last, making sure the track is good by testing it for several months or years first. lol But seriously if you have derailment problems caused by bad track work, ballast makes it hard to fix. So work out all of the track problems before you ballast. Some you might not notice right away until you've ran every single locomotive and car several times.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
  • Member since
    February, 2007
  • 649 posts
Posted by AltoonaRailroader on Monday, April 09, 2018 12:16 PM

I would finish the track, as mentioned, work all the bugs out, then maybe a little scenary at a time if you're confident your track work  is good. But I'd save the ballast for last because I feel that it's the permanent finishing touches. This is coming from experience. :)

 

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 966 posts
Posted by kasskaboose on Monday, April 09, 2018 7:24 PM

What others said is correct.  Don't do what I did: think that once the tracks are down that it's time for scenery.  Nope!  Test, test, test some more.  Only after you do that with different locos, at different speeds and directions can you start on ballasting.

  • Member since
    May, 2012
  • 1,603 posts
Posted by angelob6660 on Monday, April 09, 2018 9:54 PM

The same as above. I laid the track down and did the scenery first and the ballast second. 

Since the scenery is simple desert adding a gray blackish ballast looks really good.

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

Amtrak America, 1971-Present.

  • Member since
    November, 2002
  • From: US
  • 2,240 posts
Posted by wp8thsub on Monday, April 09, 2018 10:14 PM

I do the ballast last.  It's far too easy to ruin ballast with the other scenery steps, and ballast material often needs to overlap into the adjacent scenery as well.

Also, I will often build up fills out of rocks/sand/dirt piled atop the scenery base, and apply ballast on top of those.  In such cases there isn't anything to even hold up the ballast until earlier steps are complete.

Rob Spangler

  • Member since
    February, 2009
  • 1,081 posts
Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 8:17 AM

Fantastic job Rob

  • Member since
    June, 2009
  • 265 posts
Posted by CNSF on Thursday, April 12, 2018 3:55 PM
Ballast is scenery. I'm adding scenery to my completed, fully tested and de-bugged layout one section at a time. If you want ballast spilling down over rocks or other scenery, you have to add that stuff before ballasting. But if you want vegetation creeping up into the edges of your ballast, you have to put that in last. So basically, scenery has to be done from the ground "up". I usually wind up ballasting somewhere in the middle of the process - not the first step, but not the final finishing touch, either.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!