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Grass and Ground cover - Grass & Ground Cover - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Oct 8th, 2016 09:48 am
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Passed Driver
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Hi All.  Which should be done first? Right you have your plan and baseboard , you have painted your baseboard  and you are set to go. You lay your track and test it everything runs smooth, next install the droppers and solder to the bus. But then do you weather the rails or lay ballast ? not forgetting the ground surface.Mainlines are usually kept clean and smart where sidings may have weeds.    all the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Sat Oct 8th, 2016 10:10 pm
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lay he ballast first, thenweather the rails,finally the scenics grass weeds whatever and where ever needed
:thumbs ;-) :cool:
Owen



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 Posted: Sat Oct 8th, 2016 10:19 pm
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Hi Owen.    Thank you for your reply.  I was thinking of doing it that way, but would that make the ballast too dark?Or is that okay?    All the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Sun Oct 9th, 2016 11:52 am
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ballast darkens with weather etc anyway,do it any other way and you risk spoiling your other work such as scenery
:thumbs ;-) :cool:
Owen



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 Posted: Sun Oct 9th, 2016 02:37 pm
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sparky
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I suppose we all do these things in our own way . The method i happen to use is as follows.
Solder the droppers on the the track ,usually to the outside of the rail and between sleepers of course . spray with a rattle can an appropriate colour.,wipe the top of the rail while wet. allow to dry .
Place the track exactly where it is to be fitted ,place masking tape each side of the track leaving about 3/8ths of an inch (old money) each side .Drill the holes through for the droppers .Dust or hoover off. Put the track aside spread pva in the track position, place the track including pushing the droppers through to underneath.
 Push /wriggle the track exactly where required ,hold down with map pins (with coloured tops in my case) 
sprinkle the ballast  (n gouge for 00) through a tea strainer,keeps it nice and even.
Peel away the masking tape and leave overnight , take out the pins hoover off (with a piece of duster across the nozzle ) Save the excess ballast..  the whole and complete  job done quickly and as many pieces at once as you feel comfortable with.

Lately i have gone so far as to spread sieved and dried garden soil down over pva first across the whole area ,giving a background texture under the ballast and the surrounding areas. leave overnight then processed as above.  It gets the job done quickly.,and is not tedious .



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 Posted: Sun Oct 9th, 2016 03:19 pm
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I set out with no deliberate plan but it has worked out this way:

Build boards; paint boards; lay track; wire track power; build land (or terraforming as some call it); paint land a suitable base colour; apply low-level vegetation such as fine turf and basic ground cover; add buildings, fences, bridges and other major structures; add anything else you plan on having such as signals, street lighting and merry-go-rounds; build up the vegetation on and around the earlier work such as tufts of grass growing around fence posts, weed margins to footpaths, adding trees and bushes where you wish then adding the undergrowth which often lies beneath or around their roots; looking around at your prototype to see if anything has been overlooked; weathering of ballast, rails and structures in that order; rectifying any problems, errors or omissions; kicking yourself because you STILL overlooked something ......... ;-)



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 Posted: Sun Oct 9th, 2016 05:39 pm
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Hi Reg  Thank you for your reply. The track has been down for a while, I chose Wire in the Tube point control , three sets of points worked okay but the fourth set? I have been faffing about with that. I was keen to try the method favoured by Max South Oz; neat PVA in a fine applicator etc. So I have put the proverbial Cart before the Horse.As for dealing in old money, It would be a good idea to return to Imperial Measures and Pre Decimal currency! following Brexit.
Having done half of the work including the baseboard holes, droppers and bus, my next move is to fit the Neodymium  Magnets in position , and I recently purchased from Amazon a tube of silicon sealant to do the job, which like the droppers is a good idea to do before the ballast. As for the background  area? as mine is a yard, I have done a test run with a packet of shop bought ash, and I may go so far as puddles following an idea that I saw online 
all the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Sun Oct 9th, 2016 06:28 pm
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Hi Rick.   Thank you for your reply, I am still on my practice /portable layout phase and now being on the second yard design not being able to come up with any firm ideas for the main layout (by the time I get to Phoenix or whatever I settle on?) As I am already old and grey that won't be far off??I may never be happy if I eventually come up with an idea. At least if the baseboards are small they are easy to stow.
And with the ideas of the current government I may have to move? As I have already been finding out, a suitable home is hard to find. Well that's another story. Back to the matter in hand, Weathered walls? Maybe weeds between the tracks/rails? Ash and puddles, a goods shed even a water tower, lineside huts it could all be there one day?
all the very best. Kevin



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 Posted: Sun Oct 9th, 2016 06:38 pm
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Hi Owen.   Too true I have walked along many dusky tracks, but, don't they look handsome with new ballast.All the ideas will be taken on board and acted on.   Kevin



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 Posted: Sun Oct 9th, 2016 06:39 pm
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I think that before doing anything else after track is laid and wired the thing to do is to vigorously test the layout.  Make sure everything functions and that, operationally, things are correct.  You may decide that a particular siding isn't optimum, or that you need a crossover.  Once ballast is down, it is very difficult to lift track and re-lay - I've seen this happen.  Take your time and don't rush into ballasting.

John



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 Posted: Sun Oct 9th, 2016 08:33 pm
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Hi John. Too true, l found that while the track wasn't secure it made point operation a bit "Hit and Miss" and I didn't want track pins getting in the way of locos and wagons. So I ballasted where the pins were allowing me. to remove the pins.      all the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Mon Oct 10th, 2016 10:03 am
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Hi John.  Have you got a new "Avatar"? Or was I asleep when I sent you a message previously. all the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Mon Oct 10th, 2016 05:31 pm
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I thought it was time to do an avatar after all these years.  BTW I hate the show!

John



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 Posted: Mon Oct 10th, 2016 05:45 pm
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HI Kevin,

I weather rails and ties/sleepers, then ballast. I don't use the method of adding the ballast between the sleepers/ties and then going over it with a dropper full of diluted PVA, which covers the ties/sleepers in glue unless you are extremely careful. This method just doesn't work well with thin ties/sleepers and the granular nut products that are used as ballast. This needs a different approach (which John showed me a few years ago). As John says, don't ballast for a month or two until you are absolutely sure the track layout is what you intended and that it does what you want re running.

Choose which works best for you (do a bit of experimenting with an off-cut of wood and a 12" length of track). Don't rush it, a couple of feet every evening soon gets it done.

Couple of things to watch out for. Use high quality white glue, not the cheap craft products. It's false economy. The cheap craft products are often acidic, and will attack the rails and leave a green deposit (this topic has been covered in the past). If you use dishwasher liquid to decrease surface tension, make sure it isn't colored or perfumed. In this case no-name brand products are often the best. Same goes for IPA or rubbing alcohol, make sure it's just IPA or a mix of IPA and ethyl alcohol, and doesn't contain additives such as oil or perfumes. 

It's a good idea to wear disposable gloves when working with PVA-containing adhesives. A mister to "wet" the ballast before applying the glue is also useful. As is a dental pick or wooden tooth picks to push ballast back where it's supposed to be. 

Nigel



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 Posted: Mon Oct 10th, 2016 07:13 pm
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Hi John.  The TV and Soaps brought me back to Model Railways, so I could while time away the long winter evenings without going bananas.     all the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Tue Oct 11th, 2016 10:55 am
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Aah... bananas... that would be "Open all hours" then?
Currently I'm still experimenting but... I think it will work out best thus:

1) Paint the rails and weather the sleepers first, 
2) "ground gloop" mix I use for my landforms up to the right of way/edge of sleepers ,
3) ballast
4) vegetate ( that is add scatter or static grass, not relax and nod off)
5) weather ballast.

Just my thoughts



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 Posted: Tue Oct 11th, 2016 11:51 am
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Hi Marty.   Aah Vegetate.   I have been doing that since I retired, on the allotment.But it might be a bit late for my yard layout as I have ballasted parts of it, only though to enable me to remove some of the pins, ( stop for a cuppa?). If I didn't do that I would not have been able to keep the points steady when testing them. Being as my current plan is only 4ft x 9 inches(based on a design featured by "gOibi" earlier this year) I am hoping that I can apply the necessary colour by brush( if there is an equivalent ? that is assuming that the big "layout" boys use a rattle can to weather their track). Ground Gloop? I assume you mean soil/earth colour? as I said some of my yard will be covered with the ash like stuff? that I have already mentioned (purchased in a packet, from a mystery donor?). As this is a " Stowable toolbox size layout" the scenery will not be very serious, unless that is? I can see a suitable lid size background paper scene that I can stick in the lid, and fit some buildings in the spaces of the support frame (whatever you call it?) in between the bus and droppers, as the points are wire in tube there should be enough space even for some wagons? if I can design a small stock box that is. I hope this doesn't send you to sleep
all the best. Kevin
PS           I must admit, that although I prefer wire in the tube point control, it sometimes can be demanding? to get it working correctly hence the need to ballast around the temporary track pins, but who wants track pins anyway??



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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2016 02:02 am
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Hi Kevin,

I was reading a book by Tony Koester over the weekend, the chapter on laying track and ballasting was interesting. This is hand laid track, and I always wondered why ballasting looked so good in the 1960's and 1970's. Now I know how they did it:

1. Lay wood ties on template (with double sided adhesive tape, transfer to trackbed and glue in place, stain when dry.
2. Ballast and glue (no rails or pesky blades in turnouts to worry about). Make sure there is no ballast on the ties.
3. Let dry.
4. Fix rails (in this case with scale spikes, although contact adhesive works well), wire up (for DC, this was in 1970).
5. Weather rail web.
6. Run trains.

I am tempted to try this with copperclad/wood.

Nigel






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 Posted: Fri May 11th, 2018 10:38 am
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Hi Nigel.  I cannot remember if I have answered this before? But, to me it sounds a bit stressful if not very tedious.Fifty odd years ago, if that idea had been suggested to me, it may have tempted me or made me run a mile.
I must admit that Peco track work isn’t perfect,  but it will do me and the older I get it is less likely that it will tempt me.
Best wishes. Kevin.         PS perhaps you could do a “How to Video” 



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