Saturday, July 25, 2015

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

As well as water one of the main features of the diorama I'm planning is the rock outcrop that supports one end of the bridge. Now I have cast and painted rocks before but on that occasion I wasn't trying to match the rocks to a specific spot, so I decided some more experimenting was in order; yesterday I cast a bunch of rocks and today I've slowly painted up a few small pieces to get a better idea of what colours might work.

While there are five rocks I've used just four different, heavily diluted, Woodland Scenics liquid pigments to paint them; four used just a single colour for the base coat, while one used a mixture of two colours. Starting at the front we have a small rock painted with black. Behind it on the left the rock was painted with concrete, while the rock on the right was a mixture of stone gray and black. At the very back on the left the rock was painted using just stone gray, while on the right I used earth undercoat. Once the colours had dried they were sealed with a thin layer of scenic cement and then a wash of black to help highlight the details.

I think the rock at the front that used just black is probably the closest to what I need although it needs lots of lichen and gunk adding. I'm not convinced by the two tone rock (second row, right) and the concrete is way too light. The stone gray looks good but I think even with dirt added etc. would be too light. The rock I coloured using earth undercoat is obviously very wrong for what I'm currently modelling, but if I wanted a sandstone outcrop I think it would work quite well.


  1. Back left works best for me if you're modelling granite. It would I feel be worth experimenting further with washes of black ink to darken it slightly. Don't forget that it will look different when surrounded by foliage. Front right has a gritstone look to it.
    For lichen I'd search Iain's blog, I'm sure that he's added lichen to asbestos roofs.

    1. Seems back left is getting the votes on the forum as well, so I guess I need to experiment a little more with the stone gray pigment.

      Why didn't I think about Iain's blog. If I remember correctly it's the asbestos roof on the clay dries that I need to hunt down. Thanks for the reminder.

    2. I would go for back left as the rock looks like conglomerate as well :-) Yes, it was the clay dries, I am flattered that you both remembered!

  2. They all look good, Mark...but I guess it depends on the rock in the area that you are modelling. I don't know what the predominant rock is, but from your photos it looks like conglomerate...the nearest match to that would be concrete, as it is basically just lots of bits of rock cemented together by heat and/or pressure. They all look rather good though. For the algae spots, I painted on blobs of yellow/orange gouache, 65% yellow ochre and 35% cadmium algae is quite bright in summer and again I used gouache, hooker's green and white...the shade is a bit like light Southern green. That's just the way I do it, and I am no expert, so feel free to ignore all that :-)

  3. These look fine. If you need tiny pebbles have a look at glass micro balls. They use them as a filler in epoxy resin to make it sandable.


    They may add a little something extra. I enjoy your modelling.