31 January 2008

Paint That House Tom Sawyer!

Step Five -- Paint the House and Interior Ruins
Typically, I paint the roofs of my buildings first with a shade of mid-gray or reddish brown acrylic paint. Here, the color was Liquitex Red Oxide. Apply your color fairly thickly and straight from the tube, brushing it from top to bottom. Faint brush lines will remain when the paint dries, which help suggest a shingled/tiled effect.

For subsequent coats, lighten/darken the basic color with white, a tiny bit of black, or grey and brush it on in irregular, rectangular patches, to better approximate the look of a real roof with shingles or tiles of different ages and conditions. You can, of course, leave the basic colors untouched, but the dusty, “used” effect that comes through the gradual application of multiple coats and judicious drybrushing is pleasing to the eye.

For chimneys and brick walls, I next used Liquitex Burnt Sienna mixed with a healthy amount of white, to approximate a dusty, generic brick color. I paint these areas, mixing small batches of color as needed. Don’t worry about matching the exact shade. Slightly different patches of dusty brown will give your walls the appearance of aged brick. If you take time to examine old brick walls and houses from a distance, you’ll observe slightly different shades of brown and brownish-pink from one area to the next. And that’s what you should strive for in miniature.

What about the gabled front wall of our merchant’s townhouse? Well, many of the old houses and buildings across Northern Europe and the Baltic region display incredible colors on their ornately gabled facades. In the old centers of Brussels, Brugges, L
ΓΌbeck, Stockholm, Riga, for example, you’ll observe blues, reds, yellows, greens, and so forth. For this particular model house, I mixed a light pink-rose color and applied it, taking care not to slop it onto the finished roof or brick wall areas. My paint was a bit grainy, but I didn’t worry about it because that helps the house to look more seasoned. You'll see this completed painting stage tomorrow.

Finally, the internal ruined base. Here, I slopped some grey paint, picking out a few stones/bricks on the walls once dry. There was a tiny bit of warping on this part of my model as the paint dried, but that magically worked itself out by the next morning when I returned to the table.


In general, warping has never been a problem for me despite my almost exclusive use of cardboard for models like this one. I think it’s a combination of heavy cardboard, careful construction of joints, the natural strength of triangles, and reinforcing the interior of buildings with pieces of balsa wood and more heavy cardboard. Even the complex model of Hougoumont I built several years ago has survived well, without any warping. Good, thick coats of acrylic paint also add to the overall strength of model buildings made from cardboard I think.


Tomorrow, you’ll see the completed exterior of the townhouse plus its "ruins". We'll then look at the sixth and final step in the completion of our North German/Baltic townhouse – the windows, doors, and a hanging sign. See you then!

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...

I use foamcore for my buildings . . . but that's fairly thick and wouldn't work as well for the inner "ruined" building look that you also have (and I obviously don't). But foamcore works well as a building material too.


-- Jeff

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