Thursday, September 19, 2019

(Somewhat) Weathered Windows

LEFT: Window primed with Tamiya Tan and Hunterline Driftwood wash. RIGHT: Window primed with Hunterline Light Gray. CENTER: After drybrushing white. 
I've long been frustrated at the results I've gotten painting and weathering plastic window castings. I'd find more often than not the walls on my models would While the walls often look pretty good - the plastic castings end up looking too fresh and new. That might be acceptable for a well-maintained building, but what if you want things like windows and doors to show the ravages of time? 
It would seem the logical approach would is to paint the plastic castings white and weather them. After all, that's what happens on the prototype. Honestly, for darker windows it's not as much of a problem. But most windows, no matter what the color of the building walls, tend to be white. So the trick becomes weathering a light colored window. 
I tried airbrushing those white windows with some earth tone paint. And I tried washes of India Ink and alcohol, pastel chalks and drybrushing colors such as Raw Umber and Grimy Black, all to no avail. The results always looked like someone had streaked, airbrushed or chalked a dark color onto a white window. And though I could take solace in the fact that my results were consistent, they really were quite horrible looking.

An Experiment
As I was painting the windows for the implement dealer it occurred to me that the solution may be to flip the paint light color then weather process completely around. 
After removing most of the sprues and gates from the windows, I taped them to a scrap of cardboard on a roll of painter's tape (the Green Frog kind - but the blue tape works just as well!).
Then, instead of reaching for the can of white spray paint, I sprayed everything with  Tamiya Flat Tan. After that dried, I gave the castings a quick wash of Hunterline stains. I found Light Gray (shown here) and Driftwood seem to produce a pleasing "soft" warm almost-but-not-quite black color. 
After I waiting for the stain to dry completely - more than 48 hours in the case of the doors and windows in these photos - I went over each with a light drybrushed coat of white paint. A little goes a long way here - and I found a light touch is required. I did get acceptable results after a few practice attempts (see lead photo above and the door photo below). 

If you can't tell, I'm quite pleased with the results. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Progress on the Implement dealer for Enosburg Falls

I've made some adjustments to the mockup that I showed last week - primarily lowering the overall height of the building since it just didn't "look" right. The sketch is really an outline of the shape of the wall - the doors etc.. are not to scale at all!

I have the rear and side walls completed - here is a mid-progress shot of the street side wall. 

One little detail that I almost failed to notice - the right side of the building (with the clapboard in this photo) is older than the "overhead door" section - and it has narrower clapboards than the section to the left. But I needed to get the two halves to end up with a flush surface. The first attempt was to build it like the prototype - but the series of angles where the two halves of the building join together didn't look right. 
I scrapped that attempt and went with the approach shown here - basically a subwall for the entire facade of the building with the two different sizes of clapboard laminated to it. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Threshers Mill Basic Structure Finished

I don’t want to admit how long this thing has been sitting “half finished” (started??!!) in the corner of my workbench. It’s basically been a sub-wall shell for about 4 years. 
Finally got the thing finished up - next step is to site it and install on a scenery base. 
If you want to spend an entertaining half hour, go to You Tube for excepts from a documentary about the mill:
A rather complete set of information on the prototype building is featured on the LOC web site - this model is a to scale version based on those drawings and photos. Here's one of those - 

I’m trying to incorporate some new technique with each model I build. For example, on the last resin boxcar I finished I tried etched metal ladders. In this case it was getting a weathered look to plastic windows, and painting the stonework and brick chimneys using some tips from Geoff Taylor’s book. His brick and stonework are simply the best I’ve ever seen - anywhere. And his techniques seem straightforward - I haven’t mastered them yet but it’s been interesting to try them out. 

Although Thresher's Mill certainly existed in the mid 1950s, my model shows it in slightly better repair than the LOC photos and video. Meaning that it reflects the building more or less as it would have appeared in the 1910s-30s - certainly pre-WWII. 
I’m enjoying this slightly earlier era modeling. I'm actually working on a blacksmith shop of all things at the moment - just found a couple of vintage photos that made modeling the building seem very appealing to me. No surprise to anyone who's read my blog post on my early model railroad influences. 
Who knows, maybe some of this earlier era stuff may well leak off the modeling desk and onto the layout…..