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Ballast colouring. - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2021 08:30 am
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johnmay
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Hello allI hope everyone is well. Don't know what I would have done without my railway shed this past year.
Anyway I need some help please. I have ballast to lay that is the perfect size  but it's far to light in colour for me, does anyone have any ideas on how I can stain the ballast darker.
Today I have it soaking in a strong tea/coffee liquid, not sure 🤔 if this will work but I've nothing to lose as it's no use the colour it is.
I had considered painting the ballast after it was laid but thought that would be rather difficult while trying not to paint the sleepers at the same time.
Many thanks 



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 Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2021 02:10 pm
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jcm@gwr
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Obviously the colour of the ballast (in use/situ), will depend on a few different factors.
Firstly, what the ballast is made of (granite?), and where it comes from geographically.
Secondly, where it has been used, it will get discoloured by what is dropped on it.
Which could be the leaks from locos (different from steam and diesel), discharge from
coaches, brake dust, etc.

So, you have to think about what, and where, you are representing, before you can can
really choose the colour, photos of the area, and era, are invaluable for this.

What I did on my Inglenook, was to spread the ballast, then mix up the glue in a small
squeezy/dropper bottle. 
Mix quantities roughly- 10 parts PVA (or 50/50 PVA/Klear)
                                        1 part Meths (or w/up liquid) as a water wetter
Then add a squirt of acrylic/poster paint, I used black, but brown would work.
Each time a slightly different amount/colour paint was used, this was then dribbled on,
after the usual misting of water. It resulted in a good variation of colours/shades, which
worked well on a set of sidings, looking very natural.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 28th, 2021 07:09 am
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Petermac
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Jeff's method should produce excellent results John but I also suspect it will depend on what you're actually using for ballast.

There's the common granite chips which are both easy to lay and glue (as long as you have plenty of time ..........) but they do have a tendency to go green after reacting with PVA.  Maybe adding the colour to the glue would mask this effect.

The Woodland Scenics type of ballast - I think it's ground up shells or something - would probably not respond as well to dyes or paints.  I've also found it quite difficult to keep in place whilst applying the glue.  A good misting with "wet water"  works - once you manage to mist it without it all blobbing up !!

I thought you could buy different coloured ballast from most manufacturers ...................................... :hmm




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 Posted: Thu Jan 28th, 2021 08:24 am
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johnmay
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All food for thought guys, thanks.My problem is that I'm trying to get a decent match to ballast I have already used on my layout which went very dark after the Pva was applied 🤔, and I can't remember where I got it from ?. I quite like the colour it has turned out actually.

Off to hunt the pc for information on original supplier.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 28th, 2021 07:04 pm
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Ssamm
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My ballast is from Woodland Scenics and is quite pale. I toned mine down with Lifecolor Sleeper grime

I found the shade I liked was to dilute the paint with water to a 50/50 mix. I then did a second where I wanted a darker stain such as at a station or in a siding.

It also meant I could be quite liberal with the paint brush.

Cheers
Evan

Cheers
Evan

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 Posted: Fri Jan 29th, 2021 03:06 am
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johnmay
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I was trying that method yesterday with mixed results, try again today.Cheers 🍻 



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