Model coal

viaEstrecha

Spanish metre gauge in G scale (on the cheap)
25 Oct 2009
1,212
25
Bedfordshire
Country
United-Kingdom
Country flag
I'm acquiring a rake of hoppers from another forum member, and at some stage might want to make up some loads to simulate coal. I use real coal for loco tenders, but don't want the hassle of using it for nine wagons. Looking back on the forum, there was some discussion a fair while ago about products suitable to simulate coal. Thread here: Old Thread. Unfortunately Dunelm no longer seems to offer the product shown, which is a shame because it did look good and was a decent price. I would not contemplate paying silly money for the official manufacturer's product or tiny packets from a model shop, goes without saying!

I've seen several potential materials on eBay, Etsy etc, but am loathed to shell out for a big pot of something without the opportunity to see it in the flesh, or at least have it recommended. Anyone suggest anything they've used themselves and would recommend? And of course which is currently available to source (in the UK)?
 

Wistow vale rlwy

Registered
20 Feb 2010
251
37
WISTOW NORTH YORKSHIRE
Country flag
Hi Martyn - Wilko's (Wilkinson's) sell black fish-tank gravel and I have used this to good effect in LGB hopper wagons to simulate coal.
Regards Graham.
 

viaEstrecha

Spanish metre gauge in G scale (on the cheap)
25 Oct 2009
1,212
25
Bedfordshire
Country
United-Kingdom
Country flag
Hi Martyn - Wilko's (Wilkinson's) sell black fish-tank gravel and I have used this to good effect in LGB hopper wagons to simulate coal.
Regards Graham.
One of my fave shops - I’ll check that, thanks, Graham.
 

Southwestforests

Registered
2 Nov 2021
212
45
58
Missouri
Country flag
Fish tank filter carbon over a styrofoam or wire screen form worked well for me; and hey, the carbon is almost actually coal anyway! :D

51685834050_f06b14e95c_c.jpg


51685205043_e3b45610e4_c.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

viaEstrecha

Spanish metre gauge in G scale (on the cheap)
25 Oct 2009
1,212
25
Bedfordshire
Country
United-Kingdom
Country flag
Fish tank filter carbon over a styrofoam or wire screen form worked well for me; and hey, the carbon is almost actually coal anyway! :D

51685834050_f06b14e95c_c.jpg


51685205043_e3b45610e4_c.jpg
Looks good - yep, I'll definitely check that out too - I happen to be going to a place with an aquarium supplies dept on Thursday. Thanks!
 

justme igor

Registered
17 Apr 2020
429
49
Netherlands Westwoud
Country
Netherlands
Country flag
I intend to going to use the same fish tank coal, but then obtain it from air filters.(the multiple layer type) like the winix 450.
I think it would be also wise to give it a "coat" with a bit of old fashion wood glue or hair spray or some poly/epoxy resin to prevent the "hills" trembling flat. Or blown away.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

JimmyB

Semi-Retired; more time for trains.
Country flag
This is what I used in my 10-wheeler


 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
21,155
4,109
73
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Country flag
Sorry but for me nothing is as good as the real thing. A small block can go a long way, I am though fortunate as I have a set of Bonsai Sifters that allow me to get a nice collection of different sizes from the 3 different sized grids.
 

viaEstrecha

Spanish metre gauge in G scale (on the cheap)
25 Oct 2009
1,212
25
Bedfordshire
Country
United-Kingdom
Country flag
Sorry but for me nothing is as good as the real thing. A small block can go a long way, I am though fortunate as I have a set of Bonsai Sifters that allow me to get a nice collection of different sizes from the 3 different sized grids.
Yep, I'd agree with that, for bunkers and tenders. My local pub kindly let me pinch a lump, which has come to good use.
 

viaEstrecha

Spanish metre gauge in G scale (on the cheap)
25 Oct 2009
1,212
25
Bedfordshire
Country
United-Kingdom
Country flag
This is what I used in my 10-wheeler


I quite like the look of that - might be more robust than real coal/carbon for the coaling stage my line also needs, which of course will be outside most of the year. Noted and filed away in the to-do list, thank you :)
 

Southwestforests

Registered
2 Nov 2021
212
45
58
Missouri
Country flag
give it a "coat" with a bit of old fashion wood glue or hair spray or some poly/epoxy resin to prevent the "hills" trembling flat.
What I used was some artist's acrylic matte medium.
Brush it on where the 'coal' is going to be put.
Put on the coal.
Then Pour/drip/spoon some of same medium thinned a little bit with water over it just like the small scale indoor railroaders do with scenery materials.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

dutchelm

Registered
24 Oct 2009
2,830
144
N Somerset
Country flag
The original owner of these had polystyrene inserts with coal glued on top. The glue didn't hold that much & I am still finding bits of coal in the car, in the workshop & everywhere else.
 

viaEstrecha

Spanish metre gauge in G scale (on the cheap)
25 Oct 2009
1,212
25
Bedfordshire
Country
United-Kingdom
Country flag
-1

viaEstrecha

Spanish metre gauge in G scale (on the cheap)
25 Oct 2009
1,212
25
Bedfordshire
Country
United-Kingdom
Country flag
The original owner of these had polystyrene inserts with coal glued on top. The glue didn't hold that much & I am still finding bits of coal in the car, in the workshop & everywhere else.
I'm glad you didn't include them, in that case, Mike! I'm in enough trouble as it is, without trailing more bits around the house.
 

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
10,219
1,138
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
Country flag
I like the ground surface too, is that granite dust or some secret mixture of your own making?
A mix of coarse sharp sand, soil and sifted bird grit applied dry and then fixed in place with SBR. See towards the bottom of this post


Rik
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

justme igor

Registered
17 Apr 2020
429
49
Netherlands Westwoud
Country
Netherlands
Country flag
A chunk of coal and a hammer for me...... Very satisfying!!
I thought that "real" stuff was to hard to handle with a hammer.
Just like the rocks for carbid lamps.
When we go to Poland next year i will try this.
We have some brown and black coal over there.
Many thanks for the tip
(old meat grinder as a first thought to get it more consistent?)

With best regards Igor
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
6,227
828
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Country flag
There was a discussion not too long ago in making big coal into smaller.

One thing that was suggested and several got good results is putting the coal in a canvas bag to make the pieces smaller. Sift the results for the desired sizes. This was also more along the lines for coal in live steam locos as opposed to decoration.
 

justme igor

Registered
17 Apr 2020
429
49
Netherlands Westwoud
Country
Netherlands
Country flag
This was also more along the lines for coal in live steam
That is reason number two that i reacted on this post, clever man Greg!:clap::clap:(this was not a lucky shot?)

A bag of coal for the stove is costing us 8 to 10 euro for 25 kilo for the stove, black quality, not the gray or brown stuff.
(directly from the mines not even 3 euro for 25 kilo)
A bag of 1 kilo for model steam loco is costing?
Adding yourself lamp oil or zibro stove oil or home made biodiesel is costing?

Can you remember the link, i would like to do more learning.
A bag of (heavy and closed)canvas could be all you need indeed

as opposed to decoration.
Both ways is the best, win win.
Thanks, with best regards Igor
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
6,227
828
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Country flag
I just spent a bit of time trying to find the discussion... I believe it was on either mylargescale.com or largescalecentral.com I could not find it.

Was quite an extensive discussion, people were hitting coal with hammer, trying to crush in vise, trying grinders.

As I remember, old style coffee mill worked ok but took a LONG time, and really made a mess and wore out grinder.
crushing in vise made a mess as well as hitting with hammer.

Finding cheap heavy canvas bag (my suggestion) and then trying vise worked for several people. Eventually bag wore out, but they were cheap.

By using vise, you can sort of "select" max size you will crush to smaller.

Of course you will need to screen for sizes you want, but crushing is confined to bag, so mess is mostly contained.

Greg