So, back to ballasting.
I’ve established that sand makes passable ballast in my strange scale of 1:55, and putting black paint in the glue so it comes out grey makes it the right colour.
It would have been better to work this out at the beginning of the ballasting, not halfway through, but I had to paint the track and ballast together because it was the best way to hide the inappropriately underscaled track I was using.
I wasn’t that sure how to do this bit. Asking online brought lots of advice, some of it contradicting other advice, so in the end I sprayed the whole lot with primer and cleaned the rail tops with cleaning spirits.
The next day Eldest Son and I washed grubby grey-black acrylic over the primer, and spent three times as long cleaning up the resulting mess, then wiped the railhead down with thinners again.
I am a natural pessimist. So I fully expected it when the train stopped suddenly on some points. After some determined digging and scraping with a steel rule the trains ran smoothly for a couple of hours while we worked on other bits and pieces, stopping occasionally to change the points.
I may decide to change the colour in a couple of places, but as this is what I was aiming to do by the end of the holidays, I’m pretty happy. The layout is now safe in our cellar waiting for me to get myself into gear and make some kind of box to cover it.
In the meantime, I’ll work on smaller bits and pieces. More on that next week…