Ages old ground cover subject

MarkInLA Oct 1, 2013

  1. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

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    Do I assume correctly that a basic flat earth-brown latex ( which I've bought ) goes on everything first so that when dried-out real soil or stray ballast, dirt roads, or buildings are present there is no chance any longer for ply, plaster, or foam's color to reappear in scenes due to light chipping or other activity ? Many rock outcrops look near gray more than brown. Is this part of plaster left unpainted so that gray-brown stain fills in rock color and striations; brown latex applied up to, around, but not on it in here, only horizontal land up to where rock(s) begins ?..
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I use an off-brown shade, which looks more toward gray when dried. Always start with a lighter color, and proceed toward darker hues.
     
  3. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    I actually disagree, if coloring rock go black first as it will get deep in the crevices and create shadow. I know most will say start light, but I first heard start dark from bragdon enterprises 10 years ago and love the effect.

    As for latex. Paint anything that will be dirt or grass or unsure with a basecoat. Rock outcroppings should not get this, because the thick latex will hide detail. Streams, rivers and ponds should be painted with high quality paints. Acrylics being most typical. That avoids issues with cheap fillers off gassing.
     
  4. robwill84

    robwill84 TrainBoard Member

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    Whatever color you choose to use on rocks, always err on the side of lighter shades. Use thinned out washes, and let each dry and evaluate the color. You can always go darker, but its much harder to make a too dark color lighter. Woodland Scenics has some youtube videos on this method. On any flat surfaces, yeah, go crazy with the full strength latex, it can always be covered.
     
  5. robwill84

    robwill84 TrainBoard Member

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    Haha, two completely opposing posts within minutes. Viva la Trainboard!
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I learned to start light, and use washes to get into the crevices, etc. If you start dark, you end up in some places trying to cover, which does not go very well with washes, or will be muted by the wash in ways undesired. This was taught to me by a well known Pacific NW model railroader, who also gave many clinics in the region. For a living, he was an art teacher. I still have one of his hand-out sheets for painting back drops, etc.
     
  7. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    I didn't learn either process. It makes sense to me to at least dab black (or very dark brown) in the crevices first then paint the rest of the rocks. I'll have to paint a coal seam into mine so going dark to light may be my best bet.
     
  8. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Dave Frary painted rocks black and then highlighted with dry brushing. He was painting rocks and not staining.

    I always use light color and go to darker and I am staining.

    Not sure what the different appearance would be. Just different techniques.

    Maybe the difference in eastern US granite and western US sandstone.
     
  9. B&O GLENNWOOD

    B&O GLENNWOOD TrainBoard Member

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    If you are good at dry brushing then dark is OK but for a novice or someone who is not that talented the light to dark method is much more forgiving Paul
     
  10. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

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    If we are discussing painting plain plywood, it will require consummate skill to make the natural wood grain and fissures look anything but what they are. That is why I screen garden soil through a set of discarded pantyhose and sprinkle that over glue spread thinly over the entire wood surface to be covered. Atop that I sprinkle and glue-spray ground foam in at least two different colours.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

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    When sprinkling on real, dried/sifted dirt in horizontal, level areas, has area been hit with brown latex first ? Or, does real dirt by itself do the required job directly onto ply or foam using the H20 sprayer/ white glue dropper technique without necessitating a prior layer of latex ?
     
  12. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

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    In my own case, Mark, I caulked a layer of 1/4" vinyl underlay over the plywood deck, and over that vinyl was what I sprinkled the dirt. The underlay below the dirt you see in my photo is unpainted yellow.
     
  13. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Bragdon does clinics a trainshows all across the west in support of his various scenery and weathering products. Really what his method avoids is that final India ink wash. His work is fairly well known and easily found on the internet for examples. The fact that Frary does it too is good, but of course, starting light isn't wrong. It's just a preference.

    As for sifted dirt. That's an excellent ground cover, but I always paint first. There are places where dirt is the wrong texture and angles where the dirt won't stick. The paint insures no white or wood color coming through.
     
  14. mikelhh

    mikelhh TrainBoard Member

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    Funny thing about painting procedures. I like to mix it up. I don't believe in rigid formulae.
    If possible I start with the darks which I always keep thin and transparent, but that might not work too well over coloured surfaces like water putty, so I sometimes have to start with opaque lights to block out the base colour if it's undesirable. If the base colour is ok then I'll probably start with the darks. If I do start with darks, I never rule out the possibility that I'll have to rework them later on. I like to finish with opaque lights, perhaps drybrushed, or even to the point of picking out individual stones with a tiny brush. Even so, to settle an area down, or 'unify' it, it can be helpful to add a dark wash as a final touch.
    Like I said, I don't believe in being too rigid with my methods, and I've been painting professionally since 1990.
     
  15. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mark, With all these great points and techniques spelled out for you I hope you realize that your original question really has no single answer. To settle things in your mind you may want to practice with the different techniques listed. We all have different skills and what works for Joe my not work for you, but another technique will. Practice makes perfect.
     
  16. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

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    Yeah, 10-4..Just got to get in there and do it and see what comes of it..What am I affraid of ? ! Oh no ! The MRR police are at my door again ! Or should I say, the model RR police...They're gonna cuff me and take me in and cite me for falsifying scenic technique ! Should I call my lawyer ? How much is bail ?
     
  17. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

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    Thanks for all attention and imput...( input ?)
     
  18. Ristooch

    Ristooch TrainBoard Member

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    In my opinion, the base color can be virtually any earth colored latex paint. I tend towards the lighter shades, but don't think it's necessary to really worry if you're going to cover it. I do favor light colors for rock work. I will also tint my plaster or Sculptamold gray or brown depending on how I'm feeling at the moment. Then I go back to my rocks and flow on black wash to hit the crevices.

    I also recommend using that earth colored paint that you're slathering on your surfaces as an adhesive to hold your first layer of ground cover. Just sift or shake your chosen ground cover into the wet paint. Later you might have to flow on some thin white glue to bond everything, but there's no good reason to let that latex paint get dry before proceeding to the next step.

    Incidentally, in one recent issue of Model Railroader, flat black was advocated as the scenery base color, since it appeared (to the author) to do a better job of hding the scenery base.
     
  19. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

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    Yikes ! Flat black !! Sounds odd to me..I have been weathering track very very quick and easy with Rustoleum rust, then dark camoflage to remove the too much rust on ties..It dries and I bright boy tops of rails..Switches get hit too..Nothing gets fouled ! 3 feet in 30 seconds..No ballast yet, of course...
     
  20. mogollon

    mogollon TrainBoard Member

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    Well, the debate continues. If there are 25 posts about this subject, there will be 37 different opinions. Whatever looks good to whoevers' eyes is "the way". Real sifted dirt and rocks looks like real rocks & dirt...but then what do I know, I never build anything.

    Woodie
     

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