Watching Paint Dry

October 31, 2011 § 1 Comment

.. hopefully not what your experience is of reading this blog, but what I have been doing this month. I have been experimenting with brick colouring and painting techniques trying to reproduce the look and feel of a typical section of Berlin Stadtbahn. My prototype is the stretch along Dircksenstrasse between Alexander Platz and Hackescher Markt seen here courtesy of Google.  This has been particularly difficult because of the relative colours of the bricks and mortar. Due to the weathering of the lime mortar it is mostly darker than the sandy coloured bricks. This has presented two problems; the first of which has been trying to get a good match for the exact brick colour. This has involved mixing paints, something I am reluctant to do for large areas of brickwork. It will be impossible to paint all the bricks in one hit, and it is because it is difficult to mix paint the exact same colour twice, the resulting effect can look patchy (look at the stripy effect on the town hall roof, as each strip has been weathered differently). The second problem is that the resultant mixture of yellow paint is always slightly translucent, and does not show up strongly enough when over-painting darker mortar. The solution is to paint the bricks first and the mortar afterwards. The mortar needs to be watered down quite a lot so that it does not modify the  colour of the bricks, but will stain the unsealed mountboard underneath.

I have also started to layout the arches, a particularly laborious task given that the brick courses are header bond. Of course I have again been aided by AutoCAD to accurately and consistently draw the arches. My next dilemma is how to model the top. Various modifications over the years have seen the addition and expansion of a concrete deck to carrying the trains and the loss of the ornate brickwork cornice and turrets that run along the parapet. The whole look and feel of the Stadtbahn was substantially altered too when the Fernbahn (long-distance) tracks were electrified soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Due to lack of space on the train deck itself the signalling and catenary gantrys had to be mounted on the side of the stadtbahn again requiring additional structural concrete intervention. They are not visible on the above view as it from the side of the S-Bahn tracks which are powered by third rail. I do not have the luxury of space to be able to model 4 tracks, so my model will not have this distinction. As much as I would relish the challenge of modeling my own electrification, it is not something I have attempted before, and there is much more to do before it becomes a consideration on this layout. My main memories are from the divided Berlin where the Fernbahn tracks only carried the diesel hauled Korridor-Zuge, long before an ICE ever made it to Berlin.

There has been some progress on the Post Office, mostly drawing and painting more in the same vein as what I have published already …  and just in the nick of time I have managed my monthly update (believe it or not I did start writing this at the beginning of the month, but there have been many distractions, and not much model making)!

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