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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)
thelonioussphere Posted - 05/24/2020 : 1:01:35 PM
Kris, I offer you the highest compliment possible. Your modeling is superb. But to take the time to explain in such detail only a rare few could or would do. Thank you kindly for doing so. I read every word.
Pennman Posted - 04/23/2020 : 11:37:11 PM

I feel very enlightened by reading through your "novel", even if you think no one ever actually reads it. I want you to know that your efforts here are not in vain. I like the way you explained each successive layer that you achieve different coloring effects with each color used. I for one, don't seem to have the patience to wait for an application to dry before trying another color on top of one I just used. But to arrive at the same spot you are with this project, I must change the way I do things from now on. I hope this makes sense. Thanks for sharing.

TRAINS1941 Posted - 04/23/2020 : 09:55:46 AM
Looking forward to that next post Kris.
hon3_rr Posted - 04/23/2020 : 09:03:42 AM
Hello my fellow modeling addicts. As always, hope this finds you and yours well and safe.

I want to offer a big "Thank you" to Greg for the complement. I really appreciate the input from such an outstanding modeler. And I also want to thank all of you who are following along.

I dont know about you, but Ive found that Im feeling the need to go to the local hobby and art stores and spend some time viewing the goods. I need to feed the modeling addiction which seems to be only growing due to the elimination of all the usual side distractions. Maybe with the warmer weather the sideline projects will increase with the outdoor and garden duties. Heck, I may even clean the windows on the outside this spring.

OK.. Lets talk modeling. I thought that I might expand my tutorial a bit for those who may be following along. First, let me note that this primer is to help you consider the coloring and weathering techniques which I will be applying in the next series of steps. My goal here is to give you a peek into how I have been approaching the coloring and weathering of this bridge.

The next phase of weathering will be about bringing the highlights to the models sharp edges. In most of our modeling, this highlighting is about enhancing the bright areas which reflect more light. In general, model railroaders consider a final dry brushing to highlight the model as a intermediate or advanced technique. Im hoping to advance this technique for your skills toolbox with the following discussion. In a post following this description of what Im attempting to reproduce in miniature, I will provide the usual brief description of the materials and processes used.

The real bridge has the usual wind, sunlight and rain weathering furnished by Mother Nature. Man and machine further complicate the weathering with the use of:
A stain (creosote) which soaks unevenly to stain the wood different colors and does not evenly discolor over time.
Steam, under pressure no less, which will provide a bleaching effect. Also, the steam may dry with alkaline outlines. Cooling steam may form small pools of water on surfaces which will evaporate leaving an outline or discolored areas.
Ash and soot. These heavy particles are often airborne. When mixed with moisture, the ash and soot tend to become sticky. Remember, ash is a dark-gray to white in color while soot is usually black.
Metal components like rail, tension rods and N-B-Ws will tend to rust over time, providing orange-red to brown hues.
Possible mechanical scraping of sharp edges. Foot traffic, tools and snow plows are examples of items which can supplement the weathering process.

Now, lets consider the actual coloring/weathering issues presented by the above mix of stuff and their effect on the bridge coloring.
The creosote stain has been basically addressed. One of the most visible issues is the tie ends, which are a bit uniform in color. As these are exposed mainly to water and sunlight, these will be addressed with a standard dry brushing of a lighter wood hue.
The steam comes out of the engine in a low profile, and then will drift upwards and outwards due to the pressure. All of this occurs on the interior facing surfaces of the bridge and the top of the tie surfaces. To capture this weathering component, it will be necessary to focus the main coloring on the lower interior surfaces of the bridges, with a blending towards the lower 2/3rds or so of the bridge surfaces. Since steam/water usually produce a silver-gray hue on wood, a gull-grey coloring will be used. Keep in mind that the forced steam will tend to clean the areas adjacent to the rail-heads, requiring a higher concentration of color then the upper areas of the bridge.
Ash and soot are components which will only be partly addressed in this step. The soot, being a heavy dry component and mainly noticed between the rails, will be addressed later. The ash, which typically is falling from a top-down angle, will be added mainly to top surfaces. Tension rods probably have the soot and ash thrown at them from the interior of the bridge, thus the primary applications of color should be on the interior facing sides of the wire. My main goal in this step however, will be to provide a stronger brown-rust value to the tension rods. Rust pooling and streaking of metal components will be addressed in a later weathering step.
The mechanical scraping will be addressed with lighter wood toned values, both in the orange-red creosote hue and lighter water-silvering tones. These colors can be applied to selected areas of the bridge guard rails however.
Mother Natures weathering will be mainly focused on the bridge exterior or outer facing surfaces since those surfaces are somewhat protected from the steam blasts.

There you have it. The above briefly supplies you with my considerations for the highlighting along with the considerations for the application of color values.

Now, my question to you is How would you apply the various color values to the bridge components? My next post will answer that question for my modeling style.

Happy modeling to you all.
Ensign Posted - 04/19/2020 : 1:28:50 PM
Kris, it looks just perfect to me.

Greg Shinnie
hon3_rr Posted - 04/18/2020 : 3:23:37 PM
Hello my fellow reclusive, but safe, modelers. As always, hope this finds you and yours doing well. Thought that Id provide you with an update on the styrene bridge coloring for your review.

N-B-W Hardware and Tension Rod Coloring :

A) Rustall #1 Liquid Rusting Agent https://www.rustall.com/
B) Rustall #2 Blackwash
C) Windsor & Newton Spray Satin Varnish https://www.dickblick.com/items/00486-1007/
D) Silverwhite 1500S #2 Round synthetic brush https://www.silverbrush.com/1500s-silverwhitereg-series.html
E) Silverwhite 1500S #5/0 Round synthetic brush
F) Silverwhite 1500S #0 Round synthetic brush

I revisited the N-B-W hardware castings as the coloring has become muted. Thus, this step is to brighten the hardware while increasing the 'metal' look. The tension rods also needed to have the red hue muted. Two of the three goals in this description of coloring styrene appear to be at odds with each other, but actually can be blended to achieve the look being pursued.

1) RustAll rust was applied to the N-B-W castings using a 5/0 brush. The brush was dipped into the rust wash left over in the bottle lid after shaking of the bottle. The bottle was shaken frequently during the application process. Tension rods had the RustAll fluid applied from the top down, using a stippling brush stroke. The N-B-W castings were colored from the bottom of the castings by holding the model upside down. The model was then allowed to dry sitting in a upside down position for 24 hours. The reason for application to the underside is to make the top of the castings a lighter rust color, increasing the shadow effect of the castings. Also, since most viewing is done from above, the red-orange hue may become a bit more pronounced to the viewer's eye. Very, very subtle here as we are talking about such small castings, but hopefully the red-orange hue will capture the viewer's eye to bring the castings to the viewer's attention.
2) A second RustAll rust wash was applied at random on the tension rods. Any excess wash was mopped up using a single ply of tissue paper edge prior to moving on to the next set of tension rods. The N-B-W's did not have a second layer of rust wash applied. The tension rods were allowed to dry for another 24 hours, this time with the bridge sitting in an upright position.
3) RustAll #2 - Blackwash was applied to all N-B-W castings and tension rods using a #2 round. I started out with the Silverwhite, but also used a #2 round watercolor brush, mainly on tension rods. Again, excess wash was immediately wicked away using the edge of a single ply of tissue paper.
4) I next applied 2 layers of Windsor & Newton Professional Spray Varnish - Satin. I allowed a full 48 hours (two days) between applications for the varnish to cure dry. The varnish was applied to the entire model in both applications, trying to make sure to get some spray on the insides/between the support cross braces. I made a very conscious decision to use a satin finish varnish, thus resulting in a prolonged wait time in the process of waiting for my supplies to be delivered. I wanted to use the satin varnish to create a surface which will allow a bit more control in the blending process which will be used in the next step. Im also hoping that the satin finish will allow the acrylic brown wash which Ill be applying to the tension rods will assist in further allowing me to mute the reds and shift the tension rod color more towards the brown rust hue.

Please note that in the pictures below, the first picture has only one layer of varnish applied to the model, and the model is still damp, thus being somewhat reflective. The second picture is what the styrene bridge looks like after the second satin varnish coat.

As always, comments and questions on the good, bad and ugly are always welcome.

Terrell Posted - 04/07/2020 : 10:23:54 AM
Very nice !!
Pennman Posted - 04/07/2020 : 07:55:01 AM
Love it, Kris. Exceptional tutorial and work! It is well worth the extra steps.

Michael Hohn Posted - 04/06/2020 : 06:55:04 AM
These last couple of steps have made a big difference in the colors. Outstanding work.

TRAINS1941 Posted - 04/05/2020 : 5:24:01 PM
Great tutorial Kris.

And the bridge in the last picture I love the coloring exceptional job.
hon3_rr Posted - 04/05/2020 : 5:12:40 PM
Filter Application - 2nd Coat 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) AK Interactive Wash for Wood #263 - https://www.amazon.com/AK-Interactive-Wash-Wood-263/dp/B01DCOYWDQ
C) Mineral Spirits
D) Mr. Color Leveling Thinner 400 - http://www.mr-hobby.com/en/itemDetail.php?iId=158
E) Pro Art #8 Shader 3/8-inch soft synthetic brush
F) Silverwhite 1500S #2 Round synthetic brush https://www.silverbrush.com/1500s-silverwhitereg-series.html
G) Paint Palette - https://www.dickblick.com/items/03429-2806/

The second layer filter mix was created to reduce the ample orange hue of the bridge from the first filter application while providing a blending of the red-brown colors of the bridge. Keeping in mind that a filter created from scratch is approximately a 80:20 thinner:paint mix, this filter mix was created to be a bit more on the thin side.

I added to about 10-12 drops of mineral spirits 2-3 drops red-brown wood filter #262 and 1 drop of wash for wood #263. I did not measure with a dropper the volume of filter and wash as these two components were added via small brush-loads of paint to the mineral spirits.

This filter layer was applied using the shader brush making sure that the brush was only damp. Pooling of any filter mix indicates that the brush has too much filter solution. The filter was applied using short strokes to the wood surfaces, always following the grain pattern. Around the bridge sides the filter was applied using more of a stippling motion. The insides of angled support lumber had the filter mix applied at random. Note that the ties were also colored at random and no strong attempt was made to apply filter solution to the tie sides, only the top surface of the ties had filter applied.

After stippling around the joints and seams of the structural components at random, I did have a few places where the wash built up in the seams. To remove this semi-dried filter excess I used the tip of the Silverwhite round brush which had been dampened with the Mr. Color thinner. A light scrubbing with the brush tip was all that was required to correct the problem.

I have decided that I will correct the paint build-up in some of the seams/joints with a application of real dirt (dust) held in place by some medium. I will decide on the dust gluing medium when we get there.

I also have a second issue with the tension rods and N-B-W's coloring. This coloring and weathering issue will be addressed shortly.

When reviewing the pictures please remember that there is still a high gloss finish which is taking my photographic abilities to task... and then some...

NOTE: Edit includes new pictures showing color values closer to reality. And Jerry gets a redo on his last posting... BTW... Tx Jerry.

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!


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