It’s a few years since Gaugemaster launched their Ballasted Underlay and it’s still selling like Hot Cakes. We take a look to see what all the fuss is about…
For realism on any Model Railway layout, it is essential that the track should be ballasted. This has always been a fiddly and time consuming process. In the past, once the track had been pinned down, it would be a case of brushing loose ballast chippings along the sides of the track and in between the sleepers, making sure nothing fouled the rails anywhere. Then you’d have to spend what seemed like a lifetime applying watered down PVA glue with an eye dropper of all things to try and make the ballast stay in place. A very very tedious task if ever there was one. Especially when all you wanted to do was and run your trains.
So, in about 2003, Gaugemaster launched their GM200 OO/HO Gauge Underlay to the UK Market. Rather unsurprisingly, us railway modellers wanted it by the boat load, meaning you often had to wait months to get your hands on this “New Gold”! This was shortly followed by the eagerly awaited GM201 Ballasted Underlay for N Gauge railway modelers.
So what is it then?
Well, quite simply, it’s a foam underlay, just like the one Hornby do, but it’s made from soft Moltopren foam. Graded-to-scale, real granite stone is bonded to the shoulders and the top of the foam leaving the recesses clear to take the sleepers. It’s compatible with all UK OO Gauge and most HO track too. Features correct thickness of ballast and evenly shaped shoulders to give the perfect finish on your layout.
The soft Moltopren foam has excellent sound deadening qualities too, which are always a bonus when your trains are bombing round your track.
Gaugemasters GM200 & Gm201 is manufactured by German Scenery Gurus, Noch, who also produce the majority of Gaugemasters scenic range of scatters, loose ballasts and trees, so the quality is always guaranteed.
Is it any good then?
Since its launch I’ve worked my way rather quickly through many many rolls of this stuff. Too many to count. It’s brilliant. Very easy to use. It works with Flexible and Fixed track. The only stumbling block is when you come to the points. But there are stock moltopren foam sheets available that you can cut to shape and ballast by hand. That’s the only awkward bit. Apart from that, it’s absolutely fantastic.
How much do you get in a pack and how much will it cost me?
Each pack contains 5 metres of ready ballasted track underlay, and it’s currently retailing at around £19.95, which is an absolute bargain. You make get a few £ off though if you shop around though.
Where can I buy it?
Most hobby shops around the UK stock it, and it’s now becoming more widely available all over the world. I saw a shop in Australia listing it in their online shop this morning. I normally get mine from Gaugemasters Amazon.co.uk Outlet as I’m lazy and already have an Amazon account, so I can buy it with one click!