How to mince a chinchilla*

For a while now I’ve been thinking about what ballast to use for Isle Ornsay.  I don’t like many of the products that are available on the market at present, mainly because they look too uniform, are often over scale, and don’t take washes to alter their colour well.

This topic on modelrailforum.com shows a good comparison of different ballast products, and it was the photos on there that made me decide on chinchilla dust.  The dust is a granular product which the chinchillas bathe in to clean their fur as apparently they don’t like getting wet to wash themselves.  It seems to be a good compromise between texture and size, and seems to take colour well, so it should be easy to stain it to the desired colour with some washes of greys and browns.

It's a cheap ballast material, this entire bag cost £4!

A dry test on Peco 'mainline' track.

Compare the above photo to the one below taken by my friend Steve, I don’t think it’s too bad an approximation of narrow gauge ballast, so this is what I’ll be using on the layout.

W&LLR passing loop at Castle Caerineon

*no chinchillas were harmed in the production of this blog post.

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