Constructing roads for an industrial park



I did a reasonably good job of paving a raod using drywall compound.
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I always use molding plaster or plaster of paris. Makes a great looking street , asphalt or concrete. For asphalt , I just mark where I want the road to be and brush the plaster on with a small brush and then use a putty knife to smooth it. Its so easy to feather the plaster on the edges and you can easily put a small crown in the road as the real ones have. Very seldom do you ever see a perfectly flat and smooth highway. Even a newly poured one would still have a crown.
When doing concrete streets I glue or pin small strips of wood , usually 1/8" x 1/8" or smaller , to create a form along each side of the road.I pour the plaster in and 'screed' it with a credit card or some other similiar straight edge. Just like pouring concrete. Concrete streets also have a crown . A slope of 1/8" per foot is common practice on many roads. If you don't want to 'eyeball' it , you can cut a small curve in the straight edge that you screed it with to get the crown in the center , or lay a wood strip slightly thicker than those along the edge to screed from. You can easily pull it up and fill in while the plaster is still setting.
For a long time I looked at roads on layouts and dioramas and some looked so real real and some did not and the differnce was not readily apparent. I did notice very quickly however , that the perfectly flat ones just don't look as good , in my opinion.
Look at the asphalt highways very closely. Not only is there a crown , but there will also be 'tracks' where the heavier vehicles have run and made a depression in the asphalt. I've actually laid a straightedge over these depressions ( model railroaders are a strange lot) and some have been as deep as 2". I sometimes model these depressions by dragging my finger through the plaster while it is still wet.
Another thing I love about plaster is that it's so easy make cracks , expansion joints and holes in the road. You can force dry it with a heat gun or hair dryer abd sometimes get some really convincing cracks. I have laid a small piece of plastic brick sheet under the plaster and then make some holes here and there and it looks like those streets that have been poured over the brick ones.
I've spent quite a bit of time looking at cracks , holes in the road and what you find lying beside the raod. You will most always find gravels and smale pieces of asphalt and concrete....even a tennis shoe , a shovel or pieces of tires that come off big trucks. Sometimes a groundhog eating things he finds beside the road. Sometimes mailboxes and no house anywher to be seen.
I do some strange things at times. My wife has finally gotten used to me constantly looking at rock cliffs , holes in blacktop roads , pointing out to her how oddlooking that last crack or pothole was , kicking up rocks and gravels and picking up twigs and things everywhere we walk. Not sure if she will ever understand when I come running up to her all excited " Honey , look what I found " and have nothing in my hand but an odd looking rock or twig. One time I told her to look out the back window , then the windshield and see the differnce in the color of the blacktop LOL This is true in some of the southwester states , but , so much for that.
Here is where I would say you need to get some pics of roads and side roads , both concrete and asphalt. Look at them very closely. For years I looked at highways but never really paid attention to what colors are there. I think if you look very closely you'll see colors and shades you never noticed before. Just do your own thing now and if you mess up you can always go over it again.
On concrete I start with a wash of about 65 % percent and 35% light grey. Again , look at some pictures. You will find all the above colors and even some shades of yellow. As far as coloring and lines there are many ways to do it and this really where the rubber meets the road (pun intended)
The only black highway I have ever seen is when the asphalt is being poured and a few hours thereafter , after that it's always varying shades of grey and in some cases almost white in spots. There are some really good articles out there in the magazines and books that go into great detail on the coloring and I would highly recommend Dave Frary's " How to build realistic Scenery". A great book and worth every cent IMO.
Not trying to act like an expert here for I'm certainly not. This is what works for me. For asphalt , I start with a light grey thinned very little because I want to seal the plaster a little so it won't absord the colors that follow. The color of light grey primer works very well and I have used the cheap aerosol cans. Just need to mask everything close by.
I imagine many of you have got bored before you reach this part , but just in case you didn't I'll continue. At this point an airbrush is invaluable. I always use an airbrush now and have for more years than I like to think about ,but I have done it with a small paint brush. If you don't have an airbrush here is where chalks really come in handy. Light grey , dark grey , black , which will be used very little and a couple shades of light tan. Also need some white to help tone down those places where you ended up a little too dark. All these colors come in the sets you can buy at craft stores , Wal Mart and other dept stores.
For the lines I make a mask of light card stock. I use a straight edge and cut a couple slots in it approx 1/32 " for HO and spaced the same. This will be approx a scale 3" with 3" separation .This is close enough. Here it's better to be a little small than large, IMO , especially when you take photos. I'usually cut one with breaks in it and one without. As for the curves it's usually as easy to actually mask rather than cut one to match the curves.
Here I use an airbrush and I thin the paint to the point that it's almost a stain. Again , I'm always looking for a used highway , not a freshly paved one.....unless you want to model a freshly paved and painted one. When I paint the lines I use a little more paint in some areas than in others . I try to get a varigated look so it won't look newly painted...again...unless you're modeling a newly painted. :-) In areas where the center line is crossed often , such as driveways or intersections I paint a little lighter.
I know some people will say this is way too much trouble to do highway. As I said before , this is what works for me and the other methods mentioned here also work. Many times though , all those little details , some be called subliminal I suppose , all added together make a scene look so much better but it's not readily apparent just what the differences are.
I hope I haven't been too boring here and I certainly am not trying to criticize any of the other methods. Each and every one of us have a different way of doing things and different priorities. Mine are in the details.
Ken Day
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Thank You Ken! Excellent tutorial -- I needed it.
--
73 de KT0T
Bob Schwartz
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Thank you very much. I'm glad it could be of help to you.
Ken Day
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Ken Day wrote: [..] Very seldom do you ever see a perfectly flat

All new roads (even gravelled ones) have a crown is designed to make the rainwater run off the highway into the ditches. After trucks (and studded tires) have worn ruts into the asphalt, rainwater accumulating there can cause nasty aquaplaning.
Good clear description of your methods. A keeper.
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Ken Day wrote:
"Look at the asphalt highways very closely. Not only is there a crown, but there will also be 'tracks' where the heavier vehicles have run and made a depression in the asphalt. I've actually laid a straightedge over these depressions ( model railroaders are a strange lot) and some have been as deep as 2". I sometimes model these depressions by dragging my finger through the plaster while it is still wet. "
I've seen areas of heavy truck traffic where the ruts in asphalt have been 6-8" deep.
If you have a cement or gravel plant you can have these where they turn off the road. Hitting these are almost as much fun as hitting a deer.
"The only black highway I have ever seen is when the asphalt is being poured and a few hours thereafter , after that it's always varying shades of grey and in some cases almost white in spots."
I'm wondering if the blushing dullcote with alcohol technique wouldn't be good for this?
Eric
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I experimented with several materials for paving over track in the street. The three finalists were Durham Water Putty, Smooth-It and Hydrocal. I thought Durham the best and have not been disappointed. There are some pictures at http://home.comcast.net/~Abrams_railroad/Street_trackage.html .
Plain molding plaster makes pretty good asphalt when colored with Rainbow dry color Lime Proof Black. A good realistic approach is to pave with a washed-ou grey and then apply a patch made using more color in the plaster.
While not very good for trackage, I also use DAP Asphalt Filler and Sealant in a calking gun for asphalt streets.
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