Sunday, February 27, 2011

Paint & weathering for the platform

It's been a productive weekend.  After finishing the ballast on the track I weathered and re-installed the already painted station platforms.

This photo shows the colors I used on the platform structure, the asphalt platform deck, the awning support columns, and the safety stripes.

Kato platform kits come with a set of stickers which include yellow stripes to simulate the bumpy yellow safety stripes that run along the length of the platform.  I could not get the results I wanted with those so I masked the platform and airbrushed the stripes.

Bragdon Enterprises powders were used for weathering.  This station is being modeled at near the end of service life so it should look a little worn and I really like how weathering brings out the details. Later the awnings will also get weathered.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ballasting the tracks

It's time to ballast the track and while I have ballasted my share of N Scale track, this project presented some new elements. 
  • Using some pre-ballasted Kato Unitrack I wanted to match the color of that so I used Arizona Rock and Mineral Co. Gray blend limestone, part number 105-2.  I like to use HO scale material for ballast because I will use N scale material for the smaller gravels like roads.
  • First time using the Micro Engineering turnouts.  I want to be real careful about getting any glue into these as I've already seen that they are more delicate than the Peco turnouts.
  • Also the first time using any track with concrete ties, how will that look ballasted ?

So I started by removing the station platforms and placed blue painters tape over the area that the platforms go on. 

Before applying any ballast I decided to paint the sides of the cork roadbed with some gray paint.  This will help to hide any bare spots.

The cork roadbed could also be painted before laying the track so that the areas between the rails would also be covered but most of the bare spot problem occurs on the sides.

I apply the ballast first between the rails and then along the outsides of the rails.  I like to use an old painting pad like the one shown in this photo to evenly spread the ballast.  A small dry paint brush is also used.

This is what it looks like with the dry ballast spread on a section of the track.

I used a "wet water" solution of 2 drops of liquid dish washing detergent to a 1 ounce bottle of water.  I gently stir the solution and don't shake it so it won't get any bubbles.  Then with a pipette I slowly release small amounts of this solution over the track and let it spread.

Then I used a 50 / 50 mixture of white glue and water mixed in an empty 1 ounce paint bottle again applying it with a pipette.  I do between the rails first then along the outsides of the rails.  I let this sit overnight to dry.

Here is a small example of the finished work.  After the blue tape is removed, the platform has a clean area so it will sit flat and level.

While I am generally happy with the result I do think that the contrast in texture between the ties and the ballast cause the ties to look like the plastic that they are and if I were to do it over I would first air brush the ties with concrete colored paint.  But you know everything we do in this hobby is a chance to learn something new.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A row of Green Max houses

Green Max kit # 34 is a set of 6 two story Japanese houses.  The design of this kit is very similar to the stores in kit # 33.  The roofs and bases are common to both kits.

Like the stores, these kits are easily modified to create some very unique structures.  I thought these would be a great way to add depth to the scene around the station.

I used about half the kit to build this small row of houses that will be used on the module.   
Each house comes with a small base.  I used two of those and made a custom base of .040 styrene for the middle house.  After this small scene is painted and detailed, it will be attached to the module.