I had so much fun building Lamont Camera that the moment I finished building the Flux Mill a few weeks ago, I immediately got started with another FOS Scale Models kit.
Just like with both of those builds, I set out looking to once again play with verticality and different terrains, landforms and textures. My initial thoughts were to set this diorama in a rural setting, but after some further deliberating, I settled on an urban environment as it offered more opportunity for what I wanted to play with — water, bridges, brickwork, fencing etc…
I built the kit pretty much to Doug’s instructions, only adding a scratch-built awning for the loading bay and some extra details like chimneys and ducting and billboards. I did alter some roofing materials, too.
The base of the diorama is entirely made from pink foam, bought in 2×2 sheets at Home Depot, built up in layers. The paving was made from spreading an even, but thick layer of joint compound, carving expansion joints when dry. The road is the same recipe I used on the Flux Mill and Lamont Camera builds.
The flowing water was made using a sheet of 0.7 acetate that was tapered (cut into a V shape of the flow), glued in place and then covered with clear epoxy. When dry, white paint was streaked over the top of the hardened glue for a white water look. For the foaming water, Woodland Scenics Snow and Mod-Podge (Glossy) was mixed to create a white slurry. This was spooned and brushed into place at the top of bottom of the fall. Careful application made it appear natural and animated. The deep water was a simple, colored pouring of Envirotex Lite.
For the bridge, I used a Rix Products kit I picked up for $8, but I only used the large I-beams. The road railings were designed and 3D printed. Other 3D printed details include the tall gas tanks, old dresser, chairs, table — and even the coffee mug!
There are many techniques to achieve a peeling paint effect and I’m still learning. Let that be known now!
My most recent efforts, however, yielded my best results to date, so I thought I’d share to save some of your sweat and tears by sharing them.
First things first, I used a few techniques in this above image so let’s first look at the one I used for —
Add grain, texture and nail rows to your wood. Unlike what you may already know, don’t use a razor sawfor wood grain. The teeth on a saw are too uniform and, remember, you’re modeling something organic! Instead, use a “plumbers pipe brush” or a “file card brush” (for cleaning the grooves in a metal file). The bristles on either of these brushes are much more random — perfect for wood grain.
Stain your wood. Be random. Lighter and darker shades. Avoid full coverage, the wood should look fairly patchy.
While the wood is drying, go and buy some Elmer’s Rubber Cement:
4. Apply it in globs using the applicator brush. It’s better if it goes on too thick than too thin. You should have patches of the stuff here and there:
5. After the cement has dried, paint your wood/walls.
6. After everything is dry, simply roll your thumb over the areas you covered with the rubber cement. You’ll see the rubber cement comes away super easily, leaving you a wonderful peeling paint effect. You can also use a toothpick (lightly) to pick at specific areas.
The peeling paint on this garage door was created using a different technique. It’s actually the same technique I used for the plastic doors and windows. So, I guess we should now talk about —
Unlike wood, you obviously don’t stain plastic. You paint it. So where do we start? It’s actually very simple.
Using the same brushes I mentioned above, add grain to your plastic. We’re wanting this plastic to look like wood, right? Adding grain (carefully and mindfully) ERASES the perfect plastic finish and CREATES a wood-like texture.
Instead of staining, paint your plastic using natural wood colors. Use more than one. Again, be random. Patchy. I use a very light beige/brown and then use a thin wash of similar colors to make the details go *POP*.
Important: seal your paintwork with a flat finish (Dullcote).
Now, if coloring other than white, follow the same steps using the Rubber Cement and painting as described above.
If you are painting a white finish… there’s something else…
5. Buy one of these:
6. Instead of both the rubber cement and painting, simply use the Wite-Out tape (Tipp-Ex Mouse, for those in the UK) to “paint” your windows and doors. It goes on easier than you think and sticks more than you expect! I accidentally discovered this stuff peels when I was trying to use it for it’s proper purpose — and failed! Go figure!
7. The vinyl-like finish of the tape makes it a perfect candidate to peel and pick at, create a easy-to-achieve peeling effect (how I achieved the above windows and doors)
8. You don’t need to seal afterwards, but feel free to!
And that’s it, folks. Don’t forget to weather with chalks and other things like oils and enamels for that extra worn look.
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I'm a guy who has many ideas, but little time. So little, in fact, this hobby is borderline dangerous. But I love dioramas, craftsman kits, conversions, tools and Oreos too much to ever let it go. So, here I am. Documenting my addiction. Warts and all.