Mercantile Road

I wanted to get down and dirty on the road leading up to the Brick Mercantile building. To do that I decided to follow my own advice – Ancient Asphalt Redux .. to an extent. Let’s say .. use that as a starting point. The one thing that I am not changing is the idea of building the road remote from where it will end up eventually.
BitsAndPiecesNot even sure if that ‘Mold’ is the correct term. I will be using these pieces of 1/4 in. poplar (from Lowes) to form a temporary dam to cast my road. I am using a large tile as a base.

The round things .. well .. they are weights. They are used on a Tractor evidently .. found them at Tractor Supply .. could care less .. they work well as weights to hold the stripwood in place while the glue sets up.

BlockingI took a 18 in. tile (actually about 18-12 inches) and glued down some 1/3 in. strips .. with 2-1/2 in spacing between the long sides. This will let me pour plaster to form my road. The 1/4 in. wood dowel is 1/4 in. poplar from Lowes. I used some Aleens Tacky Glue as this ‘mold’ is only a one time use.

The round things .. well .. they are weights. They are used on a Tractor evidently .. found them at Tractor Supply .. could care less .. they work well as weights to hold the stripwood in place while the glue sets up.

I sprinkled some grout (SpectraLOCK) and then fine sift from Pave Base (Lowes → Decomposed Granite). I had a bottle of pump hairspray that has been sitting on my shelf or a year or so (before I found that aeosol was the way to go for the “hairspray technique”. I used this to hold the grout and decomposed granite down so the plaster won’t kick it up.

Well … I messed up from the ‘get go’. This may have been “quick and dirty” but it’s still a mold. I forgot to use any kind of release agent. The road was very ‘stubborn’ in releasing from the tile. That’s fine .. I’ll mark it up to “Lessons Learned” and do it again. I actually have some mold release – would have been very easy to paint that on before pouring the plaster in. That’s ok. I used this ‘mistake’ for a color test

Testing Coloring
ColorTestWhile I had problems pulling the road from the mold (→ Remember Ed – MOLD RELEASE! ←) .. it servers most adequately to test some coloring.

  • FolkArt Steel Gray – This craft paint was bought at WalMart. Doesn’t really matter as it is a cheap acrylic. The downside I find with using acrylics like this is that the .. binder? in the paint can obscure details as the paint has an obvious thickness when compared to a stain.
  • Dark AI – Ubiquitous Alcohol + India Ink stain. This was a rather dark version I have on the shelf. It is usually better to use an AI mix that is less dense .. you can always add more later if not dark enough.
  • Builders In Scale Silverwood – I had some close by so I tried this too. The downside of using this is the cost for excessive use .. JMO.
FolkArt Steel Gray (wash)
SGWashA closer look at using the acrylic as a wash. The white plaster stains easy .. the tannish grout still shows through a bit and the granite is obvious. Looks more like concrete I think. If I were in fact going for concrete I would probably just use the grout for the texture.
Alcohol + India Ink
AIwSGdbThe dark AI works well to color the plaster (of course) but works less well on the grout. Where it colored the plaster I think is too intense for an old road like this is supposed to be. I think that a lighter AI would work.

If the road came out of the mold undamaged then the darker AI works well with the grout for concrete. I sprinkled the grout on pretty well – a lighter use of the grout would allow more of the plaster to be colored – so doing that with a lighter AI might work well.

On the left I brushed on some of the Gray acrylic. It was more of a straight brushing as the surface was wet an I really didn’t get the drybrushing effect I wanted. The acrylic when like this tends to cover up the underlying shades. This might work better with an enamel or oils.

SWSilverwood from Builders In Scale. Like I said .. not really cost effective if you are doing any large surfaces. I’ve also heard that it isn’t light stable over time – but – gives an idea of what a lighter AI wash would give.


Mercantile Road — 5 Comments

  1. I’m gluing down the 1/4″ wood again for another attempt. This time I WILL use mold release! If the first one ‘pops out’ of the mold ok then I will try a couple different castings .. straight plaster .. heavy grout .. light grout .. grout and granite .. but that kinda sorta depends on how ‘pop outtish’ the castings are.

  2. Ed,

    What are you using as a mold release? Commercial brand, cooking spray, WD-40, soapy water, something else? I like what I’m seeing, and I’ve got a guess that this technique could work in HO scale as well.

    Thanks for the tutorial / pictures!

    Tom Stockton

    • Tom – I have some mold release I purchased ‘back when’ for something totally different (think it was a car part) .. just a general purpose Mold Release for polyester, epoxy resins. I think I got this at a West Marine store. For this .. a simple coat of Johnson’s paste wax would work

    • Toni – tell him to check back. I have the second casting pulled .. nice and undamaged .. currently drying so I will be updating as soon as it dries enough I can attach the Tulle w/the Modge Podge.

      Yeah .. like in the one I show as flexible .. you can do all the work on it at the workbench. With the Tulle embedded (way I did it last time) or glued with Modge Podge as I am planning this time .. you are basically working on a model that when finished you can then take and stick on the layout. The Tulle lets it flex to conform to the terrain. Now .. of course the plaster won’t actually bend .. but convex bends will create open cracks .. they can be filled at the time you put it on site.

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