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Old 21st June 2010, 22:23   #11
eTraxx
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Default Re: Source for scale Coal

That reminds me. Before we stopped at Saluda, Gary and I went by the Apple Valley Model Railroad Club in Henderson NC. I was looking at a sand house w/attached wet sand bin and got to thinking. What would represent sand in HO?

I just did a Google search. Evidently, sand is considered to be between .02 mm (very fine) and 2 mm (very coarse) with the average at .2 mm (about .008")

If you convert that .2 mm to HO scale .. then you have to have particulates that are .0023~ mm .. or about .00009 inches!! Even if you round up a bit that would still be 1/10,000 of an inch.

So. To simulate sand in HO you need particulates that range from about 20 microns to 2000 microns (that's a millionth of a meter). Talcum powder ranges from 0.5-50 microns so that would work ..

The point is .. that at HO scale to represent sand would require something like Talcum powder. The human eye can only discern down to about 40 microns .. so that would just barely have a texture.

There has to be a point where the human eye 'sees' something as 'sand' .. in other words .. 'expect' an aggregated look and even though you might have something that is scaled .. it might not 'look' right.

Which brings everything around in a circle back to what Tedh said .. use your eyes until it looks right .. but I did have fun playing with the numbers. Ha.
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Old 21st June 2010, 22:54   #12
RW James
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Default Re: Source for scale Coal

I said the same thing in my response regarding the size of coal - that is, I know my coal is too large, but it looks right to me. I've similar arguments about ballast size.

By the way, I've used a fine sand from the craft store for sand.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 03:05   #13
LoudMusic
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Default Re: Source for scale Coal

A club I'm a member of has an operating coal line where cars are filled at one end and emptied by a rotating dumper at the other end. I've never paid much attention to the coal but I'll ask around and see what they're using. But the stuff you guys are showing pictures of looks pretty great (and affordable)
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Old 22nd June 2010, 09:02   #14
Tedh
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Default Re: Source for scale Coal

Quote:
The point is .. that at HO scale to represent sand would require something like Talcum powder. The human eye can only discern down to about 40 microns .. so that would just barely have a texture.
eTraxx is quite right here. True scale on some items would look a little odd to us. If you are building to exact scale, then yes, you have to pay attention to those kind of details. For a prize winning locomotive in HO scale, you would not expect chunky, large, coal.

Most of us would build our models to a basic scale with representations of some of the stuff so that it is recognizable. I model from an art perspective of semi-caricature, so while it all looks feasible, it is not exact scale.

For instance the 55n3 gondola I built about 25 years ago was based on the D&RGW Series 3000 prototype, but it's not exact - otherwise the stakes would be shallower and the coal a bit finer.


Texture gives depth to a model, that sometimes exact scale would not. It represents something that we can recognize and know what it is. Like the scribing of the wood on the gondola. It adds interest.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 15:57   #15
RW James
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Default Re: Source for scale Coal

Well said, Ted - I agree completely - and nice model there.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 00:58   #16
LoudMusic
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Default Re: Source for scale Coal

I'll echo that.

Well said, Ted - I agree completely - and nice model there.

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Old 23rd June 2010, 02:57   #17
BR60103
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Default Re: Source for scale Coal

Decades ago when I modelled in N, I put down some fine N scale ballast. The result was indistinguishable from having filled between the ties with plaster.
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Old 24th June 2010, 01:23   #18
LoudMusic
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Default Re: Source for scale Coal

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Originally Posted by BR60103 View Post
Decades ago when I modelled in N, I put down some fine N scale ballast. The result was indistinguishable from having filled between the ties with plaster.
That's both funny and tragic at the same time.

Well I asked a couple guys at the club last night what they / we were using for coal. All I got back was some some under-their-breath mumbling and a "there's a bucket of it around here somewhere".

Sure enough there was a bucket full of the stuff. It looked pretty good - larger granules than I figure would be to scale but when I looked at it I immediately thought, "Oh, mini coal. Neat!" Seems like it might have been more shiny, or reflective than what you guys have shared pictures of. There weren't any loaded cars up in the loading area so I found a large collection of empties stashed in one of the yards and started driving them up but never took the time to fill any. I figure it gets pretty messy if they get tumped over so people tend to leave them parked empty.
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