Lighten up

I was talking to my friend Pierre Oliver yesterday and we agreed that the cinder driveway in Port Rowan was too dark.

After spraying the last of the unpainted rails today in Port Rowan, I loaded the airbrush with some diluted BAR Gray (it was handy) and gave the cinders a weathering job. The effect is much better, I think. But judge for yourself. Here’s a photo of the new, lighter driveway… and a picture showing how it looked before adding the grey.
Lighten Up photo PtR-Driveway-02.jpg

Port Rowan station parking area photo PtR-Driveway-01.jpg

8 thoughts on “Lighten up

  1. Trevor–I don’t find the original cinder driveway colour objectionable when compared against the real thing. Cinders are quite black, interspersed with little bits of iron and unburnt coal.

    • Hi Steve:
      Good point. The modelled cinders just looked too dark in the layout room. I’m not completely happy with it but I’ll keep working on it. So much more to do!
      How’s your layout, btw?

      • Trevor–

        The Peterboro portion from Brock Street Switch to the CPR diamond of my HO scale Midland Railway has been around for almost twenty years while I agonised over what to build next.

        I’m slowly erecting a five-track yard along a main and passing track for Lindsay’s Durham Street Yard using hand-laid Code 55 and 70 rail. All but one turnout is complete, and tracks in place from what will be Lindsay to Cambridge Streets in just under eight feet of run. I’m finishing wiring that last turnout and adding drops for DCC.

        As for cinders, I found the stock Woodland Scenics product too dark as well. What I did was to add some other ballasts in small quantities to it. My inspiration for modifying the WS product was Campbell’s long-out-of-production cinder ballast. A bit of light grey, buff, and brown ballast was added to the stock cinders in a large bowl. Stirred in a small amount of WS “dirt” as well. The base cinder ballast is not any lighter, but the added lighter coloured ballast brightens up the overall appearance of the ballast in track.

        I’ll add that I also am very impressed with your blog and layout. The UK press (especially Model Rail and Model Railway Journal) has been showing layouts that use static grass to good effect for some time now, but yours is one of the first layouts of Canadian outline that I’ve seen using this product. Nice!!!!!

        I am paying particular attention to your experiences with static grass, as I want to use it on my layout.

        All the best to you!

        • Hi Steve:
          It sounds like you’re making good progress. Well done.
          Thanks for the nice words on the static grass. I’m surprised everybody isn’t using it. Done right, it looks fantastic. Certainly, as far ahead of ground foam as ground foam was of dyed sawdust or texture paint.

  2. Hi Trevor,

    I had the same reaction as you and Pierre to the original colour, it simply looked too dark,……..for a model. I think this is another twist on the perennial question for modelrailroaders of “what colour/tone/shade of black looks best on my model locomotives?” and the apparent difficulties with the two absolutes of black and white.

    For locomotives, it is a question of taste and interpretation, but many people find that absolute black looks wrong and that a light weathering looks better on the model, as well as highlighting details etc. Maybe the same applies to your driveway?

    Keep at it, you are doing a fine job, not only on your layout but also this blog,


    • Hi Terry:
      Thanks for the comments on cinders. I continue to play with the mix and will post an update soon.
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog, too!

      • Hi Trevor;

        Nice to see the progress on your layout. Wish mine were advancing at anywhere near the same rate!

        On the cinder color, I think you need to consider two points. The first is the common problem all model railroaders face, that the amount of light on the layout is very much less than outside on even a cloudy day. Colors that are “right” outside are too dark inside. Even then, I see a lot of cinder closer to slate color than jet black.

        Secondly, that cinder driveway was probably not pure cinder after a few weeks. The surrounding dirt infiltrated up when it rained, and blew over it when it was windy. Try dusting it over with a light coating of your soil color (either actually ground cover or matching paint).


        • Hi Pieter:
          Thanks for the kind words. Thanks, too, for the thoughts on the cinders. I think I’m getting better results, having added some dirt and soil material to the base I’d established – as you and others have suggested.

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