Ballasting Track with HO Scale Ballast

Duration: 6:22

Josh Clark is at his father-son Norfolk Southern HO scale layout to demonstrate a quick and easy method of ballasting track. Even though Josh will be working with HO scale ballast in this video, the same techniques can be used for other scales. For this project, Josh uses a paint brush to spread the ballast, a spoon to distribute the ballast, water with one pump of soap in a spray bottle to decrease the surface tension, and Elmer’s Wood Glue. Josh and his father use Woodland Scenics ballast, specifically fine ballast for HO scale.

First, Josh vacuums the track to clean the surface and then begins to spread the ballast, on the side of the track first. He places the spoon on the side along the ties at an angle for an even distribution. When the HO scale ballast is distributed, Josh takes an angled painting brush to spread it out and brush the excess off of the track, focusing on one rail and then the other. An easy way to remove the excess on the ties is to simply use a finger. To glue it all down, Josh sprays the track with some wet water in a spray bottle that produces a finer mist. Starting in the middle of the track, he lays down a half water and half glue mix, and then with a lighter hand drips it on the outside. Josh recommends practicing on a different surface first so that the HO scale ballast you place on your track adds great realism.

For another fast and easy ballast process or information on choosing ballast with texture, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.

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