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Quick Model Train Asphalt Roads

| July 11, 2017 More

Quick Asphalt RoadsIn need of some quick and easy asphalt roads for a retail project I have upcoming, I spent a little time poking around and seeing what others were doing for their asphalt. I tend to model more rural scenes that include dirt roads or old and chewed-up blacktop, but here I wanted to go with something that represented more of a main road.

Two interesting looks I found online included using 1mm foam for the road base, and the other technique used only spray paint for the road. I’ve included links below to the source material I used for making these roads.

On the foam, I found some folks online using 1mm closed cell foam sheets as the base for their roads. The only place I found this 1mm foam was on eBay at a cost of $10.00 for 14, 12” x 9” foam sheets. This foam is very easy to cut cleanly and adheres to MDF nicely using a thin coat of yellow carpenter’s glue. Two good foam colors from the eBay seller for roads were black and gray; I went with the black foam for this test.

My road paints of choice, going on a YouTube suggestion by Luke Towan of Australia, were Rust-Oleum Flat Gray Primer and Rust-Oleum Satin Ivory Silk. The techniques for applying the paint couldn’t be easier. For the foam road, I used only the Satin Ivory Silk paint and applied it to the black foam from a distance of about 24”, give or take.

You want to apply more of a mist than an actual coat of paint. When you apply the paint from this distance, you find some of the paint dries before it even gets to your road. This actually worked out well as I found I applied a bit too much paint, and the dried excess paint was easy to wipe away with a soft, dry cloth. This had the added benefit of simulating a little bit of traffic-wear.

For the paint-only road, the top coat of Satin Ivory Silk is applied in the same misting manner on top of the Flat Gray Primer. Again, I ended up wiping some of the Satin Ivory Silk paint mist away as I applied a bit too much. This time though some of the paint smeared just a little bit, as it was applied to a hard primer base instead of the more absorbent 1mm foam. I actually like this smeared result as it gives the asphalt some road-wear character.

I quickly added some ground cover for these photos to add a bit of scenic context, but I stopped short of adding the road markings as I feel this test was already successful. This was a fun and useful afternoon project, and I have to say I do like both of these techniques for road making.

Article Links

Luke Towan YouTube Channel
Luke Towan

1mm Foam Sheets
eBay Seller

Foam Sheet Road Example
http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/17438

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Category: Useful Tools

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