A few of the older neighborhoods near the tracks in Richmond still feature brick pavement on the streets and alleys. This one next to Purina sneaks between two buildings and showcases a wealth of inspiring details. The asphalt patch is all that remains of a spur track to a small coal dealer that once curved through here.
Ancient bricks, stone, concrete blocks and scraggly vegetation all form a composition rich in details worthy of close attention.

Further along the alley makes a jog to change direction. The brick pattern changes direction too. My guess is that this saved labor and materials in cutting filler bricks at the perimeter.

Where the alley dead ends at the street, the transition is rough. Low spots collect water that further undermines the soil below. Silt, sand, dirt and other debris collect here. The edge of the asphalt is deteriorated and crumbling. The details are all here for modeling.

I’m still an artist at heart and my eye is naturally drawn to details and textures like these.  They light a fire in my imagination about how to model them. While it’s easy to add such details haphazardly, some careful forethought will be richly rewarded.

Some questions you might consider are:

Does a horizontal surface weather differently from a vertical one?

What story do these scenes tell?

Why is this surface weathered as it is?

It’s obvious that the choice of modeling scale has a huge impact on such details. In N or HO, such close up views are far less visible than they would be in quarter-inch or larger like 1:22.5.

Such perspectives are how I see the world and what I focus on in that world. We’re all different for certain. Sometimes though, we miss what’s right under our feet until someone points it out.



A quick note to Kevin from New Zealand. Your comment on the last post was lost due to a glitch in the site. I did see it and regret it didn’t see the light of day. I apologize and appreciate your taking the time to post.


  1. Simon

    “Does a horizontal surface weather differently from a vertical one?”


    Yet, it had never occurred to me to consciously think about this before…

  2. mike

    Nor did I until writing this post. -Mike