This project has lingered unfinished for over a year. I finally wrapped it up over the holidays. It represents the remnants of an old loading area next to the Pole Track on the layout. As you can see from the photos it is right on the front edge where one can get a close look at everything. An abandoned station platform in West Harrison IN was the inspiration plus, I really wanted to model broken, crumbly concrete.
To make the individual sections, I cast them from Hydrocal in a homemade styrene mold. They are a scale ten feet square and only 0.080″ thick. For many of the pours I sprinkled in very fine sand for texture. In several cases I got the mix of water to plaster off and the sections came out very crumbly and fragile. This was fine since it just added to the deteriorated nature of old concrete that I was looking for. The many cracks seen are completely natural from de-molding the pieces.
They’re applied to the layout with full strength yellow glue one section at a time. The more broken ones were carefully laid aside while the glue was applied, and then just as carefully repositioned. It was like doing a jigsaw puzzle!
Coloring was done with Folk Art and Apple Barrel acrylic craft paints in the following colors:
Folk Art: #420 Linen, #736 School Bus Yellow, which is an intense color used VERY sparingly to warm up the mixtures.
Apple Barrel: Eggshell, a warm gray; Caramel Candy, a warm brown as the name suggests.
These were applied and mixed by eye until I was satisfied with the results. I brushed them onto the raw plaster without any primer coat, letting the color soak in and do what it was going to do. After the base coat was on, I went over it with washes of the same colors to tone and blend things together, and to tone down any garish looking areas. Additionally, I stippled on a color called Charcoal, an intense dark gray, for added interest. Stippling means to get a little bit of color on the tip of a brush and then apply it with an up and down jabbing motion for a random mottled look. It’s similar to drybrushing and can be easily overdone.
When everything dried I took some finely sifted dirt and rubbed it over the entire platform. This step is essential in my view as it blends the platform into the surrounding scenery, evens out the colors and adds a dry texture that eliminates any sheen. The weeds are static grass tufts torn randomly from the mat and applied with yellow glue. More dirt blends it all together. Modeling concrete is an evolving skill. I’m satisfied with the result, but always wonder if there is a better way.
Very kind. Thanks for the mention on your blog but, trying to match the color of old concrete can be maddening. In spite of many years of painting watercolors, matching the color of an object isn’t my strongest skill. You wouldn’t believe how big a difference rubbing the dirt onto the surface made in terms of color and realism. So much for skill!