Tag Archives: MicroMark

Building Bridges

Where was I? Oh yes. I spent days, yes, days, applying stonework to my MDF bridge armature using my DAS clay technique.

In the end it looks great. A bit of a caricature of vernacular stonework if I’m honest, but as the scale gets smaller a bit of emphasis helps.

Okay. I know the arch is asymmetrical. But there’s a story behind it. At least, there will be…

A few weeks ago I was in Home Depot and I noticed in the shaky can section they had a textured “granite” spray, so this was a chance to try it out. After masking out the roadway and whitewashed walls and wooden rubbing strip I spent a happy moment in the garage carefully priming the structure. This paint goes on really thick, so take your time with several thin coats letting it dry in between

In the event it was pretty cold there, so the paint had a problem “drying” in the garage, so in the end I brought it indoors, where Mrs Hill and I spent a heady night with the bridge perched above a heating vent.

Once again, the texture was possibly a bit much, but as I started to render the surface back it started to look pretty good. I also started to pick out individual blocks in various shades of grey. Just a fine brush and a palette of black and warm white with the occasional bit of pink. Yes. Granite has pink in it. I also treated a couple of areas with a mossy green colour under ledges and in corners although these aren’t evident in the images, but will pull out when I apply the final matt varnish coat… I hope.

Initially I used dropper bottles to drip various mixtures of grey/cream to represent mortar between the stones. Moisten with “wet-water” first. If you dilute your mixtures correctly, at first the courses look pretty garish, but as the paint dries it cuts back. If I found any particular spot was looking a bit too much I used a torn edge of paper towel to soak up the excess. Once dry use a stiff dry-brush to cut it back further if required

You’ll notice that above the tracks I’ve tried to imply soot and grime from the steam and exhaust of the engines. Also, on the right I’ve started to suggest the cornerstones have been painted white for safety reasons. There will be a platform continuing under the bridge. I’m also going to place a light in there for effect – and the convenience of people waiting for a train.

Tailgating? What’s that?

And this is where I’m at. A bit of a local traffic jam on the bridge where the new NHS midwife is on her way to a prenatal home visit. Obviously, she’s new to Dartmoor from the Big City or she wouldn’t have a Morris Minor convertible. Just wait for the first real downpour or blizzard… Meanwhile the RAC guy is on the rounds, fixing the “Do Not Feed The Ponies” signs and rescuing damsels in distress.

So now the bridge awaits the application of  weathering powders and a bit of plant life sprouting from appropriate places before blending into the landscape.

The road surface – actually one of the most difficult modelling challenges – is also awaiting treatment a la Kathy Millatt, while the wooden rubbing strip is going to be aged using another fine product, MicroMark Age-It-Easy.

Bridging the Boltorr Brook

The dam complex is now hot-glue tacked in place, so the next stage is to blend it into the landscape and complete the permanent way from Boltorr tunnel to the Boltorr-Tavystock road bridge, then I can get on with laying the track.

The track levels should be in perfect alignment because I completed the track plane before sawing out the void over the Brook.

I had intended that the rail bridge be an open structure with gaps between the rails and the river below. However, this was going to be a modelling challenge, and besides, after thinking about it, I thought it unlikely that anyone, even Victorians, would allow a pristine water source to be contaminated by ash, cinders and grease dropping from a railway above. So, I’ve built a solid deck to contain the track and ballast.

Road bed set into the bridge before weathering and stuff
Road bed set into the bridge before weathering and stuff

The original bridge is a HO kit from The Micro Engineering Company – Single Track Thru Girder Bridge 75-520. Bollards are from Billing Boats and the railings are feed wires from various obsolete audio and USB cables super-glued into place.

The decking for the permanent way staff is made up from MicroMark Boat Decking and aged/weathered with Age-It-Easy. Yes. That’s what it’s called. Additional rivets are a MicroMark decal.

Final weathering and aging before being put in place.
Final weathering and aging before being put in place.

The rest is fabricated from styrene sheet and profiles from Evergreen and Plastruct, then “weathered” and further rendered with vallejo “rust” wash and varying degrees of acrylic washes from white to black from any craft store you care to mention.

Fortunately, there is a lot of leeway before you get the look right… But when it is, just fix with matt spray.

Next: blending the scenary or track-laying… Not sure what…