Friday, August 14, 2015

Experiment with tarmac and cobbles

One feature of Ruston Quays is a large roadway area. In real life this would once have been cobbled but aside from being a long job to lay, cobbles say "nice olde worlde" to me.

I've decided that the cobbles have been tarmaced over in the pursuit of modernisation. Worn tarmac says "run down cheap and scruffy" to me, which is the atmosphere I want the layout to convey.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to show just how rubbish a job the tarmac gang did by having a few cobbles visible. Daler board is the same thickness as Wills cobble sheet so I laid the two together (Daler board, suitably painted and weathered makes excellent 4mm scale tarmac) and smeared some old ready-mix filler over them.

After it had dried, there was some sanding action and eventually I got a smooth surface with some cobbles showing.

Handy hint: If ready mix filler has gone off, throw it away. Do not mix it up and use. Horrible, lumpy mess will result.

Painting is still a work in progress. Precision Paints tarmac shades were streaked together but I'm not happy with the result, when I did it on raw card it looked superb but I think the less than porous filler hasn't helped.

The wiggly edges look nice though. I might re-try with fresh plaster.

More suggestions welcome.


Nick Brad said...

I think tarmac or road surfaces are one of the hardest things to get right, both in colour and texture. You don't want billiard table smooth, but similarly don't want it looking like it's been gravelled in a tarmac or concrete colour. Then getting the subtle variations in colour that both mediums take on over time is a fine art.
I'm confident you'll end up with something you are happy with by the end of play though :)

Huw Griffiths said...

Interesting ideas - and progress on the new layout should be worth reading about.

Have you had any thoughts about representing the water in the canal basin?

The reason I'm asking is that I'd imagine concealing a board joint here could be interesting, to say the least.

As for the "water" itself, I don't know if grey mounting board might work - with an offcut of clear plastic sheet on top (acrylic - or that clear styrene stuff they sell in DIY shops for indoor use - probably about 2 mm thick).

Another possibility might involve varnishing the top (and probably underside) of said grey board.

If the canal is set into cutouts in the baseboards, this might also offer the possibility of doing the canal as a drop in module - with working boat fitted to it, from underneath, using screws or even sections of wooden skewers used as dowels - and complete with "water's edge" piling / walls, made from something like wooden coffee stirrers.

If something like this could be made to work, it might allow you to do away with the join in the "water".

I'm not sure about this - I'm not even sure if there's enough depth available to allow for such a scheme.

Ultimately, it's only a random thought, which might (or might not) be workable.

Whatever the score, I look forward to seeing progress on this layout - preferably with lots of "how to" articles as well - after all, the magazine is called "British Railway Modelling".