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Convincing pavement

01-20-2014, 11:51 PM
I feel like this is probably covered somewhere, but how do you diorama guys out there make convincing concrete or asphalt? I have seen a few how-tos but they are for much smaller scales, for model railroading, and nothing I see really looks very good in 1:24 or is very feasible for a surface as big as 1:24 would require.

Any idea? What materials? I feel like sheet styrene could be a great material for construction, but the what do you paint it with? How do you get a little texture? I'm pulling my hair out!

01-21-2014, 12:01 AM
What is it that you are trying to do? are you looking to make a street diorama?

01-21-2014, 12:20 AM
Coarse sand paper + some weathering = asphalt

01-21-2014, 08:38 AM
What is it that you are trying to do?

Always an important thing to consider first. The surface of a race track is different from a mall parking lot or a runway. Having reference pics is just as important here as it is in building a car.

For mine, I wanted to simulate a large, flat recently re-sealed parking lot type surface- something perfect for an autocross course. This is a 2' x 2' piece of 1/2" ply. I mixed some white glue with water to thin it, and then brushed it onto the board with a large disposable brush (a "chip brush", in the painting section of your home improvement center for $2). Then the surface was liberally sprinkled with fine grade model railroad ballast. I painted it with Badger Airbrush paint- that inexpensive stuff they sell in squeeze bottles at art supply stores for painting Tshirts and sidewalks. I mixed white and black until I got a decent shade of darkish grey. This is one of the few times I've ever had to resort to a large feed bottle on the underside of a siphon feed airbrush- trying to do it by filling the cup on a gravity feed would have kept me at it all weekend long.

If I wasn't doing a recently repaved surface, I would have weathered it (and I probably should have here also). Uneven sun fading, oil stains, water/salt deposits, cracks, patches, dirt, etc- whatever is appropriate for the surface I was simulating.

It came out pretty well I think. If I was doing it again (and I might), after the ballast had dried in place I would brush it again with white glue, to give it a more tar-sealed appearance. In direct low angle sunlight, I think that the grit of the ballast is a little bit too apparent.

drunken monkey
01-21-2014, 09:46 AM
how you dress the surface and scene is going to make huge difference to the overall appearance.

01-21-2014, 02:27 PM
How about these options?

1. Black paint with sand:
(scroll down a bit)

2. Sandpaper, see my thread for an example:

3. Tamiya texture paint:
Don't know how good it looks in our scale, but should be worth a try, I think.

01-21-2014, 11:34 PM
You're right! I made the classic ask-for-help mistake and didn't say what I was doing. D'oh! Well, I am trying to make a street and sidewalk. That sandpaper looks a lot better than I would have expected - though I really like the idea of the glue over the ballast too, I think that would leave the texture but really put the aggregate into a binder so to say. Some great help already. I think it's a lot better than the pour-plaster-and-tint-it technique I see everywhere.

01-22-2014, 12:57 AM
Look into some of the textured spray paints. Rustoleum has one called aged iron that would make a great road surface. They also have some sand colored ones as well as different textures. I think the sand would look great as a sidewalk surface too.

Eric Cole
01-22-2014, 09:21 AM
I use Rustoleum textured spray in black, spray that onto the surface as the base and then use various other colors such as dark grey, light grey and maybe even a little bit of white or dark brown all sprayed at a distance just to add a dusting of paint to the black textured paint. If it comes out lighter than what you'd like, dust it with a little flat black to darken it up again. Not perfect asphalt but convincing enough for me.

You can see it here:

01-22-2014, 09:22 AM
I think that would leave the texture but really put the aggregate into a binder so to say.

Yes, that's it exactly. :grinyes:

An issue I see with sandpaper is edges. If you can find a sheet big enough for your needs (like if you're making a small base for a diorama) it can be fine. But for a large surface like a photo background, long straight edges will make it look like sheets of sandpaper.

For doing concrete curbs and sidewalks, I'd use cardboard. In 1/24, concrete has no texture at all. The right appearance will come from giving it a good, even surface and a geometric, slabby layout- and painting and weathering it.

Figure out how tall your curb needs to be (maybe 1/4", for a 6" curb?), and use a strip of wood to build it up. You can shape the edge of the board by sanding it, to make whatever profile (rounded, sloped) of curbing you want. Then cut appropriately sized/shaped "blocks" of cardboard and glue them in place, butting the edges together. Stevenski did it here a few years ago. ( Take a look especially at the curbs, where he rounded the cardboard blocks over the edges. I think you'd be hard pressed to come up with anything that would beat that look.

Adjust the size and shape of the cardboard sections to simulate concrete slabs instead of stone blocks (yes, go out and measure some sidewalks and curbs!), and paint/weather to match your references.

01-22-2014, 11:37 AM
Great picture of your 360 MPWR... still one of my favourite models on here. As of the pavement sorry I couldn't help as I have no clue on how to make one.

drunken monkey
01-22-2014, 02:26 PM
Have a look for this stuff.
It has a very slight grit to it and dries to a matt surface.

Railway guys use it.

Also comes in difference flavours.


and here's a vid that seems to be advertising their range of products in application

01-23-2014, 02:37 PM
To reproduce asphalt, I use a sheet of 600 grit sandpaper, glued with white glue to a wooden plate.

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