I am building a modular layout to bring with me to exhibitions. I think an exhibition layout is a great way for my trains to get some exercise and for me to meet other model railway fans. The layout is built using Trix C track, because I really like this track and I think it is easy to work with.
My class 146 is testing the catenary on the newly ballasted track.
The slope of the track bed on the C track is a bit on the high angle, so I ballasted the sides of the track to make it look more realistic. For this purpose I used the Noch dark gray ballast (Noch #91254).
Before ballasting I also gave the track some weathering using a Vallejo gray wash (Vallejo #76.517). This brings out the texture of the stone in the plastic ballast, and really helps blending the plastic and stone ballast. Especially if you drybrush the finished result like I did.
Update: I later found out that Pewter Patina Finish from Woodland Scenics (Woodland Scenics #M126) gives a better result than the Vallejo wash. I will use that from now on.
Foam brushes are your best friend when ballasting track.
I use a foam brush to create the slope of the track bed. Using a foam brush makes things a lot easier, because it has a pointy end which happens to be the same angle as the track bed I am going for. You can buy a foam brush in almost any hardware store.
Push the ballast in place using the foam brush.
I simply push the ballast up against the track until I am satisfied with the result. I make sure that I do not get any ballast on top of the track bed. I only need to get the slope right.
Tip: Even if you do not use C track, the foam brush will help you a lot when ballasting!
When I am done I glue it all down using Scenic Cement (#Woodland Scenics S191).
Scenic Cement from Woodland Scenics is simply the best glue for ballasting.
When the glue has dried, it is time to blend everything together. I drybrush the ties and ballast with Noch Ivory colour (Noch #61191). This blends the plastic ballast with the stone ballast. I think the result is pretty amazing and I am very satisfied.
Here are some pictures of the final result.
The "holes" in the ballast is where the catenary masts will go. I have left this space open to make it easier to install the masts. After I am done I can always come back in and fix the ballast.
From normal viewing angles I do not think you will notice that this is in fact C track.
Because the ballast is not on top of the track bed, I will have smooth running conditions for my trains.
If you are using C track from either Märklin or Trix you should give this technique a try. I think you will be happy with the result!