Thursday, April 17, 2014

Re-paving Paradise in the O-Gauge Zen Garden (Part 1)

I was quite happy with the results of my last project for the layout (Shedding an Image). Happy that is, until I looked closely at one of the photos of the finished project. (click on images to enlarge)

Pavement shouldn't be warped and wrinkled.
The construction paper I used to represent roads and parking lots had been there for some time -- long enough to absorb some moisture and wrinkle. Before I had completely finished with the shed project, I knew what would be next -- replacing that old paper!

It turned out I had a ready-made solution. When I built the layout, I happened to have a roll of cork board in the garage, left over from an old project. There was enough to carpet the surface of the layout, which helped cut down on the noise somewhat when the trains ran.

I had already used some of the cork board for sidewalks. Painted with primer and then flat gray, it looked very much like poured concrete. I decided to do something similar to simulate paving.

The cork board was trimmed at an angle to create the shoulder of the road.
I experimented with a scrap of cork board and some paint, and got the results I wanted by simply dabbing the paint onto the cork (without primer).

I prepped the area by taking up the old paper, and cut out the edge of where the paving would be with a box cutter. I made sure to cut at a slant, to represent the shoulder of the road.

Then it was just a matter of taking a bottle of flat black model paint and dabbing it onto the surface.

I finished the main road with the black paint, and it looked like pretty convincing asphalt. There was a parking lot just off the road for one of the train stations. In real life, parking lots use a different (and less expensive) type of paving material than roads that have to bear constant traffic.

To model that, I mixed a little grey paint in with the black, until I found a shade I was satisfied with. You can see the results below.

Parking lot on left, thoroughfare on the right. Still to do: paint the crossing
ramp to match the pavement.

I was happy with the results, but there was a problem. This parking lot/access road part of the layout was the smaller of the two areas that needed "paving." And I had already run through five bottles of paint. Fortunately, there was another solution for the town's main street, as I'll explain in part 2.

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