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 New York Mill - Modeled in Balsa Foam

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
hon3_rr Posted - 01/03/2015 : 4:17:16 PM
This is a HO scale scratch build of the New York Mill located in Blackhawk, Colorado. The model will be built using plans from Michael Blazek. ( http://blazeksplan.com ) This build will focus on the use of balsa foam as a building material in HO scale.

For those interested, a few pictures (which one can zoom in for better views) and site plan of the mill can be viewed here:
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
hon3_rr Posted - 04/04/2020 : 12:39:39 AM
Filter Application for Bridge Coloring :

A) AK Interactive Filter Red Brown Wood #262 - https://ak-interactive.com/product-category/paints/ak-weathering-paints/paints-weathering-single/paints-weathering-single-filters/
B) Mineral Spirits
C) Pro Art #8 bright 3/8-inch synthetic brush

First, for those who are wondering what a "Filter" is, I hope this simple explanation will help.

A "Filter" is a coloring technique mainly used by the military and gaming figure modelers. A filter is a wash which is applied to an entire model to change the overall color value. The 'filter' is usually more diluted than a wash and is not often used to just make areas of the model lighter or darker. The 'filter' is applied in very thin layers and usually results in a gloss finish when dry due to the use of leveling agents in the dilution mix. (Use of a leveling thinner like Mr. Color 400 thinner.) For a more detailed explanation of the differences between 'washes' and 'filters', their applications and uses please see: http://www.scalemodelguide.com/painting-weathering/weathering/paint-washes/

Please note that I allowed a full day drying time between the application of the pin-wash and filter. It is a requirement that the paint or coloring medium applied prior to the filter be cured dry for the filter application. An application of a satin or gloss, not matte, varnish may have improved the ease which the filter coated the model and prevented some of the difficulties I experienced during the application of the first filter layer. I think the selection of a satin finish would have been more beneficial then a gloss in hind-sight.

I am using the filter to provide a red-tone color to the bridge as a whole. Older creosoted timbers may take on a light orange-red hue and this coloring is what I'm chasing and why I'm using the red-brown filter.

This was my first experience using the AK Interactive filter product. I will warn you that when you replace the lid after opening the bottle it is necessary to really crank-down the lid to prevent the filter solution from leaking from what you would expect would be a closed bottle. I had 3 different leak experiences, one being while shaking the bottle to mix the contents. Yes, I had a finger over the lid to hold it down during the shaking process, but I still ended up cleaning the wash solution from walls, computer screens, drafting table and desk surfaces. I also had the wash leak out of the bottle while I was relabeling the bottle with the paint #. So warning.., make sure to really tighten the lid, much more so than you would normally do.

I feel that I created some of my application problems due to the use of way too much wash in the brush. I did not remove enough of the filter solution from the brush prior to applying to the bridge surfaces. This resulted in pooling of the wash in wood graining and at some joints between components. In addition, the filter also colored the N-B-W's more then I desired. The attempts at removing excess wash also resulted in my overworking the filter. To further add insult, the filter solution also continued to expand my globing paint 'filler' at some of the seams between bridge structural components. I had hoped that the filter would help hide these earlier errors via a blending process, but this so far has not been the result. I also discovered that the use of a damp brush of enamel thinner or mineral spirits resulted in either too much filter being removed or a loss of the smooth surface of the filter.

I applied the filter solution to the entire bridge using a broad strokes and tried to make sure to get all surfaces damp with the filter solution.

The pictures show how the bridge appears after the first filter application. I'll provide updates with the second filter applied with a semi-dry brush and stippling technique next.

hon3_rr Posted - 04/02/2020 : 8:36:38 PM
I want to thank all who have been following along and those who have commented. The support is always appreciated. This bridge is still a long way from the coloring and effect I'm after, so we will see how it goes.

Ray, the Giraffe painting is done in colored pencil. She usually works in soft pastels. I included a pastel painting which she did the day after the giraffe. The landscape pastel is 9x12 inches and took her about 6 hours. If one looks carefully at the forest in the distance, the individual trees can be viewed. I included this painting with hopes that fellow modelers will understand why I don't try to do my own backdrops. Why fight a good thing...

Pin Wash Application for the N-B-W's:

A) Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color - Black https://www.amazon.com/TAMIYA-87131-Panel-Accent-Plastic/dp/B01HDJ7BR0
B) Windsor & Newton Artist White Spirits https://www.dickblick.com/products/winsor-and-newton-artists-white-spirit/
C) Silverwhite 1500S #2 Round synthetic brush https://www.silverbrush.com/1500s-silverwhitereg-series.html

First, for those who are wondering what a "pin-wash" is, I hope this simple explanation will help.

A "pin-wash" is a weathering technique mainly used by the military modelers. It is a wash which is applied to a specific area to enhance/highlight a detail or component. Most model railroaders are familiar with washes which are used on large areas to improve the weathering effect(s). A pin-wash is a wash that is applied to a specific area instead of a large surface. In the military modeling world the pin-wash is applied to individual items like single rivets, weld seams or panel lines. In the model railroad world, items like N-B-W's or seam/joint lines could have pin washes applied. "Pin-wash" is just shorthand for "Pin-Point wash". When applying a pin wash care is taken to avoid sharp lines (outside of panel lines) and wash pooling which can result in 'watermarks'.

Watermarks from excess wash in the model railroad world are mostly overlooked as similar examples are sometimes found in the real world. I dare say however, that we model railroaders have way too many watermarks on our models. In the armor/aircraft and gaming worlds watermarks created by excessive wash is considered sloppy or indicates beginner's level work.

I was all set to use the Tamiya black Panel Line Accent Color which is a enamel wash. But at the last moment I decided to use a dark blue acrylic wash since I'm mainly trying to focus on shadowed areas. I attempted to use the RustAll 'Blackwash' which is bottle #2 in the RustAll weathering System. https://www.rustall.com/ It only took a few castings to determine that this product **would not work** for my application. (Note that I feel the RustAll products are excellent. For what I'm trying to achieve the product was not designed to reproduce.) Thus I returned to the Tamiya Panel Line wash which appears to work for my application.

The Tamiya product has a very small brush mounted in the lid which worked very well for the application.
1) The Panel Line wash was applied to the entire surface of the N-B-W castings, lightly flooding the casting surface. Some wash was then drawn down into the seam where the casting is seated. Note that the drawing of the wash from the casting surface to the joint is sometimes easier to do and control if the joint is pre-moistened, not flooded, with thinner prior to the application of the wash. This technique of pre-dampening the casting seam was not practiced due to the surface graining of the styrene to represent timber. As the Panel Wash was applied it dutifully followed any graining emanating from the casting location, exactly as the product was designed to do.
2) After all of the N-B-W castings had the Panel Wash applied, the model was allowed to dry for approimately 15-20 minutes. You do not want the Panel Wash to fully dry.

You will probably need to expand the following picture to follow what is being shown. The pictures below shows how the N-B-W's appeared after the application of the Panel Wash. Note how the Tamiya product appears a bit heavy at seam between the casting and timber surface. Also notice how the Panel Wash ran along any grain grove, which is exactly what is expected of this product. I will resolve these two issues in the next step.

Wash Cleanup
The next process is the removal of excess wash. Again, this is accomplished prior to the Panel Wash being allowed to fully dry. This step takes advantage of the smooth surface created by the varnish applications. The varnish allows the Panel Wash to be removed from the grain grooves in the timber surfaces and excessive wash on the casting surfaces. In addition, the Panel Wash is easily blended into the area surrounding the castings creating a subtle color variations with a subtle shadow around the castings further enhancing the castings. Finally, the varnish protects the previous coloring/weathering of the bridge.

1) The #2 round brush is used with the white spirits. Lightly wipe the casting and any excess Panel Wash from the casting surface and the seam around the casting. The Panel Wash which followed the timber grooves can also be removed by letting the white spirit activate the Panel Wash and then cleaning the grove with the brush. The trick here is not to have a hot thinner and to use a light scrubbing motion with a damp medium-soft brush. (I repeat, use a damp, not wet, brush.) In using this technique you will quickly identify the need to frequently clean the brush with the thinner. Aggressive scrubbing and/or too much thinner in the brush will actually make the task more difficult.
2) During the process of removing of the excess wash, use the damp brush to blend the reactivated Panel Wash into the area around the casting. This will provide additional casting definition as well as complementary coloring and weathering.

You will probably need to expand the following picture to follow what is being shown. Notice how the Panel Wash which has been blended into the areas around the castings has created a subtle change in coloring, thus enhancing the casting and the bridge overall. Due to photographic restrictions, you will be able to only see the subtle color variations in the top of the near horizontal support surfaces. The second picture allows you to see how a build-up of wash, seen in earlier pictures, has been removed from the casting surface and seams in addition to removal from the timber grain lines.

If you have any questions or comments on the good, bad and ugly, please feel free....
Ensign Posted - 04/02/2020 : 3:32:39 PM
Kris, looks like 2 artists live at your house.
Beautiful work by both of you!

Greg Shinnie
Pennman Posted - 04/02/2020 : 3:24:36 PM

It's nice to see you here again, come back again soon.

The bridge wood looks great so far. Do you plan on completing more steps for the weathering like we talked about?

Tell your wife that painting is superb!

Guff Posted - 04/01/2020 : 1:00:26 PM
A big "WOW" to you and your wife. Beautiful work on both pieces!!
robert goslin Posted - 03/31/2020 : 02:20:07 AM
The bridge looks brilliant Kris.
A lot of folks think only wood can look like wood, but you've proved that theory wrong.
That's some of the best styrene "wood" I've ever seen. And the colouring is spot on.
Ray Dunakin Posted - 03/30/2020 : 10:01:44 PM
Great looking bridge, and awesome artwork! What medium was used for that painting?
Michael Hohn Posted - 03/30/2020 : 5:40:58 PM
Your bridge looks very realistic, due no doubt to your attention to detail.
TRAINS1941 Posted - 03/30/2020 : 5:23:01 PM
NBW's and tension rods look really good.

A great picture by Dee.
hon3_rr Posted - 03/30/2020 : 3:35:51 PM
I have colored the Nuts-Bolts-Washer castings (NBWs) and tension rods on the bridge with the base coloring and the initial rust coloring. The NBWs and tension rods were colored with a base coat of acrylic Vallejo Burnt Cadmium Red, #70.814. This was applied in three applications, using the standard 24 hours between applications to allow the paint to cure dry.

The paint was applied via brush, so was lightly thinned to a 70:30, paint:water mix. Paint was applied with a better quality brush, a Windsor Newton University Series #233, a #2 Round which has synthetic bristles. https://www.winsornewton.com/na/shop/brushes/for-oil-colour/university-brushes/university-brush-series-233-round-short-handle-size-0-brush-5423000
For clean-up of excess or paint blunders I used a damp 1/8 inch flat, #4 Silverwhite #1502S. https://www.dickblick.com/items/09067-1004/ The acrylic paint can easily be removed with just a damp (not wet) brush if the paint is not allowed to dry for more than 3 minutes or so. If the paint error sits longer than about 3 minutes, than a bit of scrubbing with the brush, and possibly, a bit of acrylic thinner medium allowed to soak on the area will correct the mistake.

The 2nd and 3rd applications of the Burnt Cad Red paint was to insure that all the castings were evenly covered with the paint and that no spots on the tension rods (brass wire) were unpainted.

The Vallejo Burnt Cad Red paint is pretty strong in the red hue, as can be seen in the following pictures, and looks unnatural. This will be mitigated by using yellow and brown toned rust washes.

The initial weathering of the NBWs and tension rods was done over two days. A very small amount of Vallejo Panzer Aces #303, Yellowish Rust was applied as a thin wash. The brushes used were the same as in the previous Burnt Cad Red applications. Care was taken to not allow any of the Yellowish Rust wash to dry on any surfaces except the tension rods and NBWs. The coloring is very subtle, but is apparent. Additional applications of the Yellowish Rust will be applied in later steps to further mute the strong red hue of the Burnt Cad Red base.

The final pictures were taken using outdoor lighting to better capture the real colors of the bridge at this stage. You may want to expand the pictures to better review the color hues of the bridge at this stage.

I have also applied 2 coats of **gloss** varnish from a rattle can. https://www.amazon.com/Grumbacher-Picture-Varnish-Acrylic-Painting/dp/B002643F0A These varnish coats were applied after again allowing the acrylic paints to cure dry for48 hours after the last acrylic application. I allowed 24 hours between varnish applications. The gloss varnish was used as the surface is smooth, allowing the following weathering applications of washes to be wiped from the model surfaces to produce the desired effects.

Im currently trying to decide if I want to use a commercial enamel panel wash or thinned oil paints for the pin wash applications. Im planning on using a commercial brown-red filter to adjust the color of the bridge. Ill describe these applications in my next update.

BTW the last picture of the giraffes is the work from the wife's studio which is next to mine. This painting was created last week. Its a bit of different art then what we usually work with, but figured some of you might enjoy something a bit different.

Tyson Rayles Posted - 03/24/2020 : 08:29:19 AM
George D Posted - 03/24/2020 : 06:34:34 AM
Great looking bridge, Kris. Thanks for sharing the good info.

TRAINS1941 Posted - 03/24/2020 : 12:12:37 AM
Kris thanks for the tutorial.

Some good tips in there for weathering in the future.
hon3_rr Posted - 03/23/2020 : 5:27:10 PM
Good day to all my fellow railroad-line forum modelers. Hope this finds you and yours doing well. An update for your afternoon modeling session side thoughts.

First, let me answer a question I have received.
-- How was the wood grain/texture created? --
First, please note that I work in HO and O scales. Thus, you guys working in N-scale can probably get by with a far less intensive texturing process than I'm expressing below, and the techniques/tools would need to be modified.

Almost all of the texture was applied to the various sized styrene strips prior to cutting strips to size. I have found that adding texture to both wood and styrene strips is easier if applied prior to the cutting of material. I also am a firm believer that no single texturing technique provides a good looking texture, thus multiple techniques are almost always utilized. I usually apply deep texturing prior to the lighter texture. Applying the graining to the stock material prior to cutting the pieces also has the advantage that the weathering will be more random and thus will look more realistic. To help reduce warping and increase random texturing, I texture both sides of wood and styrene stock.

a) First step is to remove the very clean and sharp edges of the stock material. I do this by lightly scraping a #11 or single-edge razor blade at random along various edges.
b) Draw the material through/over 120 or 220 grit sandpaper. Make sure to sand the edges of the construction medium if possible. This step mostly applies to styrene, but I sometimes will do with wood.
c) Draw (never push) a file cleaning card https://www.walmart.com/ip/Osborn-International-75116SP-Steel-File-Card-3-3-4-Brush-Area-Length/402956644 over the stock using moderate to heavy downward pressure. I usually do about 2-3 passes. Another technique is to tap the file card on the construction medium. This will add a rough texture and further diminish the sharp edges of the construction material. If tapping of the brush is used prior to drawing the brush over the material, a somewhat deeper and more grained/ripped texture can be achieved in the tapped area.
NOTE OPTIONS FOR THIS STEP: I will sometimes use in combo or just by itself a stiff wire brush https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-welding-stainless-steel-brush-kit.html?SRCCODE=PLA00020&gclid=CjwKCAjwvOHzBRBoEiwA48i6AuT7Rt7EFlPhAc7MsZl6SIrkCB-KgmwnRuP1uC5xI98OHbxdEWIPLRoCtNIQAvD_BwE for rust removal or a Zona Razor Saw blade.
d) Use a softer wire brush to add medium grain. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Lincoln-Electric-3-Pack-Wire-Brushes/1001282304?cm_mmc=shp-_-c-_-prd-_-tol-_-google-_-lia-_-217-_-welding-_-1001282304-_-0&store_code=102&placeholder=null&gclid=CjwKCAjwvOHzBRBoEiwA48i6Au8g_K5ys8Xno4_KvLKSDCPVJR9uEcRfm_xh2g4hSZLmieOBAUnzZRoC914QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds Note that on wood a brass brush will produce a different final color tone than a steel brush. This may be used to your advantage in some weathering/coloring applications.
e) Add knot holes at random. I usually add about 2-3 holes per actual foot of stripwood or styrene stock. I also try to vary the size of holes and hole angle. I tend to use #69 thru #74 wire bits to drill the knot holes. I will also sometimes just use the tip of a #11 blade twisted to create the hole.
f) Lightly sand with 600 grit or 800 grit sandpaper. I'll also frequently use #0000 steel wool or a green scouring pad in conjunction with the sandpaper.
g) Lightly wipe down and clean the material with rubbing alcohol, MEK or a tack cloth. This is to remove all fuzziness, sandpaper grit and sawdust along with cleaning the grease and other gunk off the construction materials. Be aware that MEK will melt styrene, so use sparingly to clean styrene, particularly thinner strips.
h) After cutting larger timbers to size, I will rotate the timber ends on medium grit sandpaper to introduce some end grain.

Sorry for the short novel, but hopefully someone can pick up a technique or two to add to their modeling tool box.

OK... on to the current coloring of the bridge. I'm at that spot where we all come to where you are saying to yourself, "Oh God, what have I done?" I know the bridge looks really appalling at this point, but I think that it will start to come back to life in about 4 more weathering steps. Or at least that is my hope.

I'm becoming concerned with the build-up of paint along some of the seams, as can be seen along some of the joints between the ties and guard timbers. I have tried to avoid wash buildup to prevent this in the prior coloring applications, but I'm still getting it. Using a sharp instrument like dental pick or wooden toothpick only scratched the paint to the styrene and did not fully remove the excess paint. I also have not been able to soften the paint with an acrylic thinner to remove the buildup with a brush.

My plan is to continue to try to limit the excessive paint buildup as much as possible and address the issue with the final wood wash. If needed, I'll also apply a pin wash to help cover the wash surplus.

Prior to this group of coloring sessions the model was given a brief bath in soap water along with a quick rinse. A hair dryer on medium heat setting was used to remove the water from the model as quickly as possible. This was to remove hand oils and dust which may accumulated on the model. By keeping the bath/rinse as brief as possible and using the blow dryer, any possible damage to uncured paint coatings was eliminated.

All coloring at this stage was a wash composed of AK Interactive acrylic Medium Grey #787. https://ak-interactive.com/product/medium-grey/ Note that I'm moving from dark to light in my coloring, keeping in the umber hues. The first application was a 25:75 wash, paint:water. The second application was a 30:60:10, paint:water:Golden Airbrush Extender. https://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo/technicalinfo_high_flow_med The final wash was a 25:50:25, paint:water:Golden Airbrush Extender. I again allowed 24 hours drying time between wash applications.

The first wash was applied using a 1/4 inch flat stiff bristle (boar hair) brush and a stippling motion. The wash was applied at random, but making sure to get some of the wash to more difficult to cover areas like between the ties and vertical supports. The wash was also applied more heavy to the top tie surfaces towards the bridge ends, about 5 ties onto the bridge deck.

The second wash was applied mainly using a stippling brush strokes with brush held at a 60 to 90 degree vertical to the bridge deck. **No** wash was applied to any underside surfaces. I used a 1/2 inch flat boar hair brush and a #0 synthetic round (Silvewhite #1500). Random tie surfaces also had a bit of wash applied using the round brush. Tie surfaces towards the ends of the bridge were the primary beneficiaries of this brush treatment.

The third wash application was a 100% top down application, meaning that all wash was applied holding the brush 90 degrees vertical to the bridge deck. The surfaces were colored using a stippling motion with the wash areas focused mainly on the bridge periphery, for example the outside vertical supports and stringers. Only minimal stippling was applied to the bridge deck, and that coloring was mainly focused on the outer guard rail. I used the #0 round and a #10 soft haired filbert. (ArtistLoft: Level 2 Artist)

In the first picture below, you can see the subtle broad-streak fading on the outside stringer under the first 5 bridge ties, along with the paint used for this coloring session. (You may need to expand the pic to see the coloring.)

Ensign Posted - 03/20/2020 : 5:57:28 PM
Looks excellent to me!

Greg Shinnie

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