I've been struggling and getting very frustrated with ballasting this small length of track. Basically the ballast has not been sticking. When trying to add more ballast to repair / fill in the gaps, it's become too bulking. I have not been getting it right at all. My aim was to ballast the track so that the sleepers were not buried, but the thickness of sleepers only gives me approximately one layer of ballast grains to achieve this. The problem I was having is that with a thin layer of ballast I could see the white of the track bead coming though making the ballast look too thin (which is is). Question; how do I add depth to this thin layer?
What a mess
Cannot see very well in this photo but, along with the big gaps, there are small white gaps that are causing me the problems.
I don't know why I should be having these problems and I haven't seen any railway article with my solution but I doubt it is original. It has been born out of my wargaming experience. To add depth to painted miniatures, buildings and vehicles I use a black undercoat. This helps to create shadows and brings out the relief of the castings. Could I use this idea to add depth to a thin layer of ballast?
First trial - Much better
I think it has worked. When view from above there is no white showing though. Any small gaps between the grains is black which is creating depth / shadows. Next step is to see if I can repeat this over a longer length.
Not only a much neater result, as I not putting so much glue down, but no small white gaps.
To me the last photo looks near perfect. A permanent way gang might be pleased with that. The ballast seems flat and no unsightly lumps, and the sleepers are slightly proud of the ballast.
I now need to decide whether I paint/spray the chairs and rail before I glue them to the sleepers of after glueing. Decisions, decisions.