Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Diorama: Abutments & Trestle/Bridge Painting

Painting is one of those things I always find intimidating. To a great extent, once you start, there's no going back - it's way too hard (in my mind at least) to reverse whatever I do. So the stress and anxiety builds. But I've started to develop an incremental approach, building up more slowly, so I can stop before things get too far. Here's how I went about painting/finishing the overpass and trestle bents.

I'd recommend roughing up all the simulated wood parts before you build this kit. Trying to do it afterwards was a bit awkward and I was worried I'd break something. Fortunately, all went well and I started the painting by giving it an overall light coat of gray from a rattle can.

While the overpass was drying, I took the trimmed/modified/roughened trestle bents and taped them to a piece of cardboard to make them easier to handle. and sprayed them gray as well to start.

The pic above shows the colors I used for "staining" the pieces after the gray paint dried - a variety of browns, tans, grays, and - of course - black. My biggest challenge during this stage of the process way to try and not cover over everything. I ended up going back and forth between full coats of color before I figured that out(!)

I the paint booth was still on, I shot the bridge track with some flat brown paint (again, from a rattle can) and used a wood block to wipe off the rail tops before the paint dried too much.

While the bridge/trestle pieces were drying, I decided to make some abutments for the trestle. I'd vacillated between precast stone abutments and scratchbuilding wood or concrete abutments, but I finally decided to do what my friend Pieter did for the Goff Brook Bridge and hand carve some foam blocks to simulate stone block construction...

Once I thought it through, it was pretty straightforward - I eyeballed a top course (cap) of concrete and then used my exacto knife and a straightedge to score the lines, as you can see in the pic above.

If you're going to be painting again later, you can save having to clean up and start over again if you use some plastic wrap to cover everything.
I used a "concrete" (gray/tan) color to brush-paint the cap and then used a variety of browns for the stone blocks. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a close-up photo of the result, but you'll see the completed abutments in the next post when I build & install the trestle.

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