Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bridge Piers and Abutments

Happy New Year!

As with the color of the bridge, I wasn't sure what I wanted to use for the bridge piers?

I had several of the Chooch cut stone piers and abutments that I'd been saving for these bridges, but when it came time to use them I found it was going to be a bit difficult to get them to work.  The main problem was the offset of the ledge and trying to line them up so the track was level.

I was told to make and use concrete versions, this would be easier since I could "make" them fit the bridges.  So I sat about looking for some samples to go off of.  I found one of a Z scale abutment which I thought look very nice and it gave me a starting point.  It also gave me some ideas.

After a few quick measurements, I grabbed the bridges and ran over to my shop.  Once there I scrounged up some scraps of 1/4" and  3/4" MDF.   Within a few minutes I had a simple design for the Truss bridge sketched out,  A couple of quick cuts on the saw and I had the pieces ready to glue together.

A few minutes later I had the abutments and piers ready for the Deck bridge.

Then I set them up so I could test the fit of the bridges.

The next thing was to paint them but before I did I wanted to add a little character to the Truss bridge abutments.  I added a small section of .040" styrene just to give it a bit of relief.  It kind of reminds of a simplified Art Deco look.  Once it was dry I took my #11 Exacto blade and started chipping away at the MDF in hopes of giving the looks of chipped and worn cement.

Next I was going to sealed the MDF with some yellow carpenters glue but my bottle had dried up. Looking around, the first thing I found was the bottle of Modge Podge I used for the lake in Malvern.
I smeared some on and let it dry.  Instead of sanding them smooth, I let them stay rough in hopes of giving them a rough concrete texture.  Then I found a bottle of light gray paint, the cheap acrylic stuff.

This looked to be a little too light but I planned on covering them with a black wash and finally some weathering powders.  So starting out lighter is better.  

I used a black wash made from Lamp Black artist oil thinned with Mineral spirits. After the wash had dried I started to brush on some Bragdon "Ol Yeller" powder to tone down the gray.  Next I grabbed three colors of Pan Pastels to simulate the rust and dirt.  I started out with the lighter color first brushing it on in a wider pattern, as I grabbed the next darker color I narrowed the pattern with s smaller brush.  When applying the darkest of the colors I used the largest of the Micro Brushes so I could make the darkest part of the rust stains as narrow as I could get them.

I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out.  They may not be perfect but once I get them sat into place and get some scenery around them and water done, I'm hoping they blend into the scene.


  1. Oh my gosh Allen! Those look awesome! Nice job!

  2. Allen those are some of the best looking bridge piers and abutments I have ever seen, fantastic job!

    1. Thanks Brad! ;)
      They were incredibly easy to make and weather.

  3. Great looking bridges and abutments !

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you Rod!
      After posting them on the Railwire, it was brought up that I should not have had the top of the abutments be the same level over the entire surface. I plan to notch the top to the thickness of the cork and leave a small thin section across the face so it doesn't look so deep.