Ballast - I loathe and hate ballasting, it is a boring task that takes forever and it is not easy to get an even result.
That was how I felt about ballasting when I worked in HO but O Scale is so much easier, or at least it is after starting to use a paper cup to distribute the ballast. The quality and brand might make a big difference but I was using Woodland Scenic B1389 Coarse Grey- lovely stuff. Absolutely no dust and it does not discolour after being soaked in PVA, whilst redundant N Scale ballast is used for the fine gravel found at the edge of the cess.
My tools for ballasting are nothing special:
- Paper Coffee cup
- Jar of diluted PVA with pipette
- Couple of soft(ish) brushes
- Spray of wet (a drop of IPA) water (from Boots)
When pouring the ballast onto the track, put some ballast in the paper cup and whilst holding the cup at a shallow angle just encourage the ballast to flow out of the cup by gentling tapping the top edge of the cup with the index finger. The ballast will slowly slide down the cup and can be easily controlled - sounds hard but dead easy.
The track has just been ballasted and the dilute PVA is flooding the ballast
It would be impossible to ballast the layout is one go, therefore I use the one small bite at a time and I ensure that I ballast at least 15cm each time that I visit the workshop (without exception)
Plain track and turnout