Realism versus aesthetics

I'm building a 5 stall Roundhouse for my grandsons HO layout. I decided to paint the exterior walls gray and pencil in the cement blocks.
I've done the cement blocks on a test piece covering it with varnish and it looks pretty realistic. I have also painted the roof black and the whole thing looks terrible, maybe it should be slate or something not so dark? Looking at pictures on the net of a Walthers roundhouse I see pink walls and it looks very nice. I have never seen pink painted block walls anywhere however on any factory building. What to do? what to do? Ben
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Ben wrote:

Stick with the grey family of colors, especially if you are representing tar paper. The overwhelming majority of tar paper roofs in the US are light grey or darkish grey (use MS live local and focus in on Philadelphia or NYC (aerial images as opposed to Google Earth), to get an idea of the color scales out there). Whatever you chose, straight flat black is not that realistic a roof color.

Not on active factories used for industrial purposes anyway, albiet conversions to housing or retail centres, squatters, night clubs usage, lofts etc. might be painted in pink, purple, orange or other bright colors (or perhaps one or two factory buildings of a complex might have been painted that for advertising/PR purposes, especially if they're next to a highway or Passenger rail route).
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The inside of almost all roundhouses was painted white, ceiling, beams, building walls, pit walls.
May seem strange but it's true. Reason? Visability for the employees. White reflects light and makes the interior of the building brighter.
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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Ben wrote: [...]

That's actually unpainted brick.
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Ben wrote:

Mask off and spray the roof with dark gray auto primer. The stuff will cover anything, levels nicely, and is dead flat. Auto parts stores and good hardware stores carry it in push button spray cans. I would omit the varnish, 'cause it will come out shiny, and cinderblock isn't shiny. The pink walls you see represent red brick. You can mail order sheets of brick paper as well as sheets of plastic molded to look like a brick wall. Or you can just paint the walls with red auto primer, which, like the gray primer, covers well, and dries flat. I use the red primer for both brickwork and box car red.
David Starr
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David Starr spake thus:

Second everything you said *except* for the red primer: that would make the walls look much too red, too toy-like. Either paint them some more brick-like color, or try your hand at weathering, using acrylic paints, chalks, light sprays of black, gray, white, etc.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Red brick varies a lot from place to place and time to time. For instance an 1880's brick school in Pennsylvania is a very soft red without a hint of brown. The mortar had brick chips mixed into it and matched the brick closely so that the mortar lines barely showed. Montreal brick is much browner with very little red. Old brick in Boston is pink, new Boston brick is quite red indeed. I find the red auto primer a very close match for "modern" (20th century) Boston area brick. Older 19th century brick around here is lighter in shade than the 20th century stuff. It may not be such a good match for the brick in your area.
David Starr
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We've got a pink roundhouse here in Wisconsin. The 8-stall roundhouse in Wisconsin Rapids was painted white in the 1970s, but over time it weathered into a pink color. It is still standing.
You can catch a glimpse of the pink roundhouse in the background of this loco photo: http://www.greenbayroute.com/1990323.htm
__________ Mark Mathu The Green Bay Route: http://www.greenbayroute.com / "I started out with nothing and I still have most of it."
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