Sunday, July 11, 2010

Drawing and ballasting

The weather has been tropical the past few weeks, so progress has been slow. But the plans are slowly turning into an actual layout.

This is the plan, a passing loop at the end of a tram line, somewhere on the outskirts of a city. There will be a platform with a little shelter between the tracks. This will be situated in a park-like environment. A path leads to the end of a road, which crosses the track a little further. A couple of houses will be situated next to the road. I will be using some DPM kits for these, which I'll slightly modify to give them a more european look. I'm not trying to model a specific country, this allows me to use any rolling stock I like :)

Although the Tomix track is a good system to work with, I had to put some effort into it to make it a little more believable. First of all, the ballast bed is way too high for a light railway like my tram line. The easiest way to solve this, is to raise the baseboard around the track. So, after glueing down the track, I cut some leftover 2 mm cardboard to fit and attached it to the baseboard around the tracks. Some big gaps needed filling, you can really use any filler for this job. The picture shows the track as it comes (in the middle) and the 'lowered' track at the right. Next step is painting the rails and the sleepers. Tip: paint the whole thing using a rusty brown colour, then use dilluted black paint to give the sleepers a slightly darker colour. This gives a quite realistic appearance. Then it's time to ballast the track. This fills the gaps and also looks much better than the moulded plastic ballast. I used fine grey Woodland Scenics ballast, using the dilluted white glue method. It looks a little light, but remember that the track in the picture still needs a final weathering job. Don't forget to paint the cardboard an earth colour before ballasting, this is much harder to do afterwards. At the left the finished result.

After cleaning any remaining glue and paint off the rails, it's time to test. I was very happy to see the Bachmann trolley do its rounds without any problems.There are still some sections to ballast, a perfect job to do indoors to escape the heath outside :)

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