Rendering

I’ve managed to get some work done on the mill building this week. My method of applying DAS modelling clay to my buildings requires some sort of form work to the rear of the window and door openings and I use sheet and strip styrene to provide this. I apply a sheet of 1mm or 1.5mm white styrene behind the apertures and then trim around the openings in strip. In this case I used Evergreen #167 strip (.080x.156″). This choice will depend on the thickness of the plywood I’ve used. I want the DAS to drop about 2mm into the openings giving me a “cement” or brick surround to the windows and doorways, thus making the windows and doors appear to be “set” into the masonry at depth. This is one of the main reasons I use this method to make masonry buildings. I have never found a satisfactory and easy way to get this depth effect using embossed styrene. I’m sure it’s possible but I find this method easy and quick and it certainly means the buildings should outlast me by a long margin 🙂

Once the styrene form work was in place I commenced applying the DAS to the wooden carcass. This is the same method as described by Gordon Gravett in his books on O-scale and scenery modelling. If you don't own copies of these I highly recommend them. In fact I correspond with Gordon via email and have asked his advice on hiw he might go about colouring this building. I'll let you know what he says.

Once the styrene “form-work” was in place I commenced applying the DAS to the wooden carcass. This is the same method as described by Gordon Gravett in his books on O-scale and scenery modelling. If you don’t own copies of these I highly recommend them. 

As you can see in the photo I’ve roughed in some ground surrounding the base of the building and covered most of one side with DAS with brick sections on the front can be seen peeking through the render. I like the organic feel of this method of covering buildings with masonry. It’s not all neat and straight the way embossed styrene would be and I love the way brick course lines and the window reveals travel seamlessly around corners. These features make the buildings so much more realistic. I apply a little PVA wood glue to the surface of the play, ball up a small amount of DAS in my hand and then shove and squeeze it into position until it’s where I want it. I then dip the tip of my finger in some water and smooth the surface of the DAS to blend the layers together. I specifically don’t try to be too neat at this stage. I want it “organic” and ultra straight lines would ruin this affect.

The downside to this method is that you really need to plan out features such as the bricks peeking though the render well in advance. You can’t just get started and then decide to add this feature a some point half way through. Also this is a big model, although in this scale it’s still quite small. But it’s BIG! (if you know what I mean). I can’t sit at my workbench and work on it, it’s just too high on the side I’m working on so I have to stand while I’m working on it. As this means I’m bending over the model, I find my neck starts to hurt after about 30 minutes. This allows a few square of inches at a time to be applied which might sound slow but I’ve applied all the DAS you can see in the photo in about 2 hours. You can still see it drying on the leading corner. This turns out not to be that much of an issue really. After a certain amount of DAS is applied I tend to find I’m prone to sticking my fingers in the spots where the clay has already been applied on a fairly regular basis making small dents in its surface. Applying the DAS in small stages lets it dry and this means fewer divots.

Once I get the whole building covered in DAS I’ll sand the surface with some fairly rough glass-paper and scribe in a sandstone block foundation. This will run around the base from the top of the foam “ground” to a line just under the doorway you can see in the photo.

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2 thoughts on “Rendering

  1. It’s painstaking work as you say Trevor, but the end result will be worth it! All the best for Christmas and the New Year!
    Cheers
    Kimbal

  2. Kim,
    Thanks, same to you. I’m hoping to get a bit of work done on the project over the next couple of days in the leadup to Christmas. I’ve finished applying the complete coat of DAS to the exterior of the building tonight with just a small strip left to apply along the inside of one of the roof ridges. As soon at this dries I can sand the exterior smooth and start some clean up and detailing like scribing in the block foundation. All that should really only be a couple of hours work spread over a couple of days.
    I’ll post a photo when I can.
    Trevor

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