DETERMINING THE CORRECT SIZE BALLAST FOR YOUR PIKE Our ballast sizes; #50, #40, #30, #20, #16 and #12 represent the line per inch mesh screen we use to grade the material. For example; the best way to imagine the actual size of #50 ballast is to think of lining up 50 stones in a straight line that will fit within a one inch length; 40 stones will fit within one inch for #40; 30 stones for #30 and so on ...
- #50 is our smallest ballast which is excellent for N-Scale and Prototypical HO-Scale.
- #40 is the most common HO-Scale. #40 provides excellent coverage and has good eye-appeal with a more visible texture.
- #30 is also good for HO-Scale but only for distant areas. (We recommend #40 for closer views of the layout.) The larger size #30 has the best economical coverage but compromises the scale realism to benifit the visual textures.
- #20 is our best recommendation for S-Scale and 2-Rail O-Scale where accurate scale size is necessary.
- #16 is ideal for Fine Scale 3-Rail track such as MTH ScaleTrax GarGraves and Atlas track. (It can be used for 3-rail tin-plate track, but see our O-Scale Ballast listing for better selection.)
- #12 is for Lionel and 3-Rail tin-plate track. (see our O-Scale Ballast listing for better selection.)
EASY METHOD FOR APPLYING SCALE BALLAST Ballasting track is a tedious and agonizing process, but when done correctly, looks terrific! It's well worth the effort. Here is our process for adhering ballast: (1) Anchor your track to the roadbed; (2) Pour small amounts of ballast between rails. Gently shovel ballast forward with a small dry and firm artist paint brush. Cover roadbed bevel on sides. Dust off ties and rails with soft watercolor brush. (3) Pre-moisten ballast by spraying "SuperWet Water" (1-qt. water & 2 tsp. SuperWet Hydrous Solution)* over 2-3 feet of track. (Not much is needed...just enough to break the surface tension of the dry ballast. It shouldn't hurt your track.) (4) Prepare a 1:4 mixture of MATTE MEDIUM (1-part Matte Concentrate (EX0030) to 4 parts water). Use an eye dropper or squeeze bottle to dribble matte between the rails. (Try not to get Matte Medium on the rails...its tough to get off later). The capillary action of the moist ballast will spread the MATTE MEDIUM to the edges. Allow to dry. (It may take several days for your ballast to dry depending on the depth of stone and grade). (5) TIPS: Work in small manageable areas. Have all your materials ready before beginning.