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Coal Diorama | Part 1

| March 26, 2012 0 Comments More

Coal Tipple DioramaWe have the new Micro-Trains Line Coal Mine Tipple kit (MTL Part 799 90 955) in hand, ready to build the diorama for the upcoming 2012 National Z Scale Convention in Denver, Co.  I have to admit I was really torn on how to build this kit regarding the wall siding.

I often like to tweak kits just a bit and I thought the walls on kit would make for an interesting challenge. I thought about covering the existing wall pattern; I could lay in lots of individual strips of basswood, I could cover the entire piece in corrugated metal, maybe a combination of the two?

I did some poking around online for ideas and I came across an old postcard featuring a coal tipple in Hazard, Kentucky. Once I found this postcard, I decided to utilize the existing wall pattern and accentuate this pattern just with, using this old postcard as my model.

The tipple in the postcard has an interesting color to it so I began by painting the assembled kit a dark gray. I used gray as a base so my actual color coats could go on a bit lighter and allow some of the dark gray base  to show through. I used Polly Scale concrete paint for the walls. The postcard tipple has an interesting color, not quite green or gray or any color you could easily identify at a glance, but it does have a look to it! The concrete color does a reasonable job of simulating this color.

In the postcard image, some of the wall panels are noticeably lighter and some are darker. Much of this color variation can be achieved through weathering but I wanted to give myself a head start. Once a light coat of the concrete paint was applied, I went back and randomly masked off individual as well as groups of wall panels, then airbrushed the same concrete paint to the exposed panels. The result is sort of like a random checkerboard pattern. These lighter wall panel sections stand out a bit now but once weathering is applied, I think it will have that slightly random, aged look I’m going for.

On the support structure, or legs, for our tipple, I think this could be painted to look like wood or steel. I’m going here with a rusted steel look so I’ve given this structure a base coat of rust color. This will be toned down a bit during weathering, but it’s a good color to start with.

The last bit I’ve done here is to paint the detail on the end wall sections white and the air vents at the peaks of the roof ends silver. The white is a bit too clean right now but again, weathering will take care of that!

Having gone from the idea of laying in entirely new wall material on top of the existing wall pattern to using this existing pattern to my advantage worked out well. In the next article we’ll add the coal chute and roof.

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Category: Ztrains Build Corner

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