About the blog

This rambling blog is about building a couple of simple layouts in HO, the available space is rather small but the prototype was not built on the grand scale, most rural stations were merely a curved loop and a siding, which is easy to replicate.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Track and Ballasting for any scale

To ensure smooth even curves,the track is laid against steel template curves from Marcway and I use a combination 25mm penny washers with screws to hold the track until I am happy with the curves.

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

When Lenz introduced affordable O gauge German outline, why was 1:45 adopted rather than the established 1:43,5? 

The answer is rather simple and comes in two parts - 

First, if one divides the prototype track gauge 1435 mm of the original by 45, you get to 31.88 mm, so rounded up to the 32 mm gauge. Whereas with 1:43,5  the answer is 32.99 mm, thus the true-to-scale track would have 33 mm gauge, inevitably, there is a permanent discussion in the UK with the Scale Seven Group who have adopted 33mm for their gauge.

Second, as with the other narrow gauge of OO, the additional room provided by a narrow gauge (albeit 1mm) allows a bit more clearance but this opinion is debatable.

In short, German 1:45 outline is more accurate than 1:43,5 when using 32mm gauge.

1 comment:

  1. Very neat ballasting, Tim. Track always looks good with plenty of rust on it.


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