How many of you have hit a roadblock in this hobby, coming face to face with a task that needed to be done and you didn't have the confidence or skill to confront it head on and Just Do It? For some, it's benchwork - and they never even start a layout, contenting themselves with being "armchair modelers" and dreaming about "someday" when they'll build a layout - as if reading Just One More Article will magically endow them with the tools & skills they need. Heck, the same thing can be said about so many aspects of the hobby, whether it's electrical work, trackwork, structure building, or - in my case - scenery.
But if I've resolved anything for this hobby in the New Year, it's to confront this obstacle head on. I've been lucky enough to have some early success - and even luckier to have friends that have helped me along the way (e.g. less than 1/2 of the finished scenery on the layout was actually done by me). Having others help you - or actually do the work for you - while wonderful, does little to nothing to help you build YOUR skill and proficiency.
You just have to do it yourself - and try, try again if at first you don't succeed.
Fortunately, I'm here to share one of the rare times when a seemingly-insurmountable scenery obstacle actually turned out to be No Big Deal.
I'm talking about rock coloring.
Before yesterday, I'd never colored any rock castings & the only ones on the layout were done by others. But modeling a line set in Southern New England pretty much guarantees that I have to figure out how to do rocks at some point. So, now that I'm working in Dividend and will be modeling a railroad cut through a hill, it was high time to figure out how to do it.
I'd made some rock castings some months ago - a pretty easy process, all things considered - but they'd sat for months in the glaring white of new plaster. So, figuring I had a bunch of "extras" to practice on, I did some quick research in my extensive library of scenery books and got to it.
|The same castings, now colored|
In the process I discovered a technique for coloring rocks that's ridiculously simple and produces rocks that look very similar to what I see along my RR ROW everyday. I've only been coloring rocks for 2 days, so I'm certainly no expert - but I hope by sharing this super-easy technique that you'll be encouraged to try coloring some rocks too. It really is as easy as 1-2-3.
|The same castings once all dry|
But first, you'll need some materials.
- 3 Colors of Acrylic Craft Paint
- I used Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, and Black ($.50 ea at Walmart)
- Regular tap water is fine
- I used a 1/4" wide cheap china brush
- Small Dixie Cups
- Bonus if they're plastic, so you don't have to worry about them getting soggy
- Medicine dosage cup
- Optional - I have plenty on-hand and the measurement markings are handy
- Stirring stick
- Measure out 1 tablespoon of water, and pour it into one of your cups.
- Put 20 drops of Raw Sienna in the cup and mix it by stirring thoroughly
- Measure out another tablespoon of water, and pour it into your second cup.
- Put 20 drops of Raw Umber in the cup and mix it by stirring thoroughly.
- Measure out a final tablespoon of water, and pour it into your final cup.
- Put 7 drops of Black in the cup and mix it by stirring thoroughly.
|Here's the rock casting I started with - all nice and white plaster, but doesn't look like a rock.|
Step 1 - Brush on Raw Sienna