Sunday, November 27, 2016

Initial weathering tests for the Deck Bridge

Now that the deck bridge is assembled, I want to get it painted and weathered before getting the track assembled to it.  At first I wasn't sure of what color I wanted it to be: Silver, Red Oxide or black?

While scouting the net looking for examples I stumbled upon a blog where the owner was building a similar deck bridge and he also covered how he weathered it, Bingo!  It was just what I wanted.

He painted his black and then showed a decent step by step method of weathering it fairly heavy.  He used a product from AK Interactive called "Heavy Chipping Effects"  I've heard of the product, but never looked into it.  After a few hours of surfing I found out it was basically nothing more than using the Hairspray method to resemble chipped and worn paint.

I set about to recreate this using a couple of El Cheapo Atlas plate girder bridges I had on hand.  The first thing I did was to paint them with Floquil Oxide Red, then went back over the ribs with the same Oxide Red but added a bit of Floquil Roof Brown to make a shadow rust color for a little variance of color.

Then I added some Bragdon Rust powders to vary the rust color further, then sealed it with a lacquer Gloss coat.

Next I sprayed on a good heavy coat of some El Cheapo hair spray for a the "Chipping Effect" later.
The next step was to add the salt for the "Salt Weathering technique.

Now I've done both sides of these two bridges, but I was a lot happier with Side "B" so that is what I'm showing, both side "B"'s. I had too much salt on the "A" side.

Once the salt dried, I knocked off the excess that was loose and I brought out the Flat Black acrylic paint and shot a decent coat over the remaining salt and let it dry (I'm showing side "A" because I failed to a shot of side "B" with the paint).

After the black paint dried I used a stiff brush to remove the remaining salt.

With the paint dry I grabbed a medium stiff brush and some water.  Now to see if the Hairspray technique was going to work?  I dipped the brush in the water and brushed it on the areas of the black paint and started lightly scrubbing.  Within a few seconds the black paint started to chip right off!
Look at the previous picture and you can see how much I "chipped off".

YES!  I was heading in the right directions with this!  But it was a little to stark of a contrast so I drug out my new Pan Pastel powders to work them over a bit to see if I could blend things together for a better contrast.

I used three colors, Black, Rust and Dark Brown.  This is what I ended up with.

I think this is what I'm looking for!  I might try to go back and touch up the black on the test bridges with a bit more black powder, or I'll use less brown on the actual bridge.

I got the actual bridge painted and ready for the weathering steps I listed above.

Wish me luck...


  1. I like the finished bridge. While the rust right after the salt comes off looks pretty wild, you brought it back to a great scale effect with the Pan Pastels. Nice work!

  2. Thank you very much Karl for those kind words. However one word of note, Someone on NSN thought that it was a little overdone with the Pan pastels, he was not not complaining. After going back looking at the original image, I think I pulled too much contrast while cleaning up the image, which caused it to look a little over-muted. The Black is actually stronger in person. I can't wait to get after the actual bridge.
    Thanks again Karl.

  3. Wow cool. I have done the hairspray trick to an 1:35 scale Abrams tank I finished before we moved out of the old house. It works a treat. Never used the salt however it is very effective from what I have seen. Allen maybe a small halo effect around the edges of the rust might give it some more depth. I have used oil based Vandyke Brown as a wash then very tiny dabs of Burnt Umber then some dabs of Burnt Sienna to give some very tiny (stippled)dots of dark rust this makes the rust look even older. Agreed it has been on the roof of cars however the effect turns out very nice.
    The new bridges should look very nice once completed.

    1. Thanks Rod!
      The salt trick is a winner! Easy to use as well.
      As mentioned above to Karl, I think I faded the bridge image too much by cutting back on the contrast. But your thoughts of the Rust Halo is a good one and one that I didn't think of on these test bridges. I will keep that in mind when working on the actual bridge. I mainly wanted to see how the salt and Hairspray worked together.
      Thanks again for the Props on the bridges and the word of encouragement.