Aging bricks

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by ezdays, Apr 9, 2003.

  1. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I've got an N scale brick building that is supposed to be over 70 years old. It is molded red, doors and windows included. I know I have a chore ahead to paint the doors and window frames, but I'm wondering about how to get the brick to look more realistic with mortar in the lines and old weathered brick. Would drybrushing give me this affect? I also have some "Doc O'brien's Weathering Powder, but I don't want to screw around with that until I know what I'm doing. I did one other brick building (my first attempt) and it didn't come out like I wanted. An India ink and alchohol wash helped so that at 50 paces it doesn't look all that bad, :rolleyes:but I'm gunna find it hard to run trains from that distance. so I want this one to turn out better. :D

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. I've seen some really nifty pictures here of weathered and aged buildings so I'm hoping someone will pass their techniques on for postarity.


  2. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Don, what I have done is painted the wall with the colour of the mortar being sure the paint gets into all the grooves. When dry I paint the brick colour being careful to just cover the bricks. Almost dry brushing. A second coat of a slight varience in the brick colour dry brushed gives a nice texture.
  3. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

  4. chapmon

    chapmon Member

    Check out this website:

    This fellow has an excellent mortar wash, that doesn't require wiping after application. He has it in light gray, dark gray, tan, and a brick color.

    I just purchased several bottles ($4.50 each) and he also has a general weathering and rust wash.

    Mike:cool: :cool: :cool:
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Thank you all for your tips and for the links. I'm astounded but impressed by the number of forums and other sites out there dedicated to MRR. I doubt that there is any other hobby that garners that much attention.

    I'm trying a few different things now and those washes look like they're worth a try.

  6. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Don--with styrene brick walls, I usually paint the entire wall the color of the bricks with acrylics. Then once dried,I lightly flow on super diluted light grey acrylic paint with a drop of liquid detergent added. It flows into all the cracks via a type of "capillary" action. Once the mortar dries I dry brush lightly with earth tone colors (your burnt & raw siennas and umbers). Then sometimes if the building doesn't look old and decrepit looking enough, I'll shave pastel chalks into a fine powder and apply with a makeup brush (heisted from the wife's cosmetic kit). A shot of Testors dullcoat and it's all done.
    Hope this helps!
    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Take a close look at a prototype building that is weathered like you want your to look. I've seen some of the old brick buildings in downtown L.A. that have bricks in the wall that are black. On the same building with the black bricks, I've seen some bricks that are almost yellow and just about every shade of red from pink to maroon. I've seen old brick that was plastered over at one time with bits of white plaster still stuck to it. If the variations get too bad, you may need to paint individual bricks a different color in order to get it to look like you want it to. Fortunately, you probably don't have to paint each individual brick, although I once saw a modeler do that to a DPM kit in ho scale! I would imagine that e few random bricks painted different colors than the basic red color will probably make it look a lot better.
  8. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Don, I've tried the technique of adding mortar lines using a light wash, as described here and several other places, but was unhappy with the result. Maybe I did it wrong, but I found that I ended up with a building that looked too "pink" -- red + white = pink.

    Around here, old weathered buildings have a built-up coating of soot and dirt that is basically black in colour. What I do is take Polyscale Daylight Red (more orange than red really) and mix it with Engine Black to get what is essentially a dark brown -- orange + black = brown.

    By varying the proportions, I am able to achieve different colours for the brick, so that no 2 buildings are exactly the same shade.

    I don't bother with the mortar lines, and here's why not. Although if you look closely at a building you can see the mortar lines, most people don't look that closely, and to my way of thinking detailing them calls way more attention then in real life. I know not everyone agrees with this and I have seen some nice results that use mortar lines too, but for me, they're not necessary.

    Here's a shot of a couple buildings I did using nothing more than a brushed-on coat of Val's quick brick mix. The one on the right is very weathered, while the one on the left had the bricks painted red - another typical sight around here.

    :D Val

    Attached Files:

  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Mortar is not always lighter.

    Take a look at some buildings of the age you are trying to replicate. Some buildings have the "traditional" light cement coloured mortar, others have dark, and some use mortar that is almost the same colour. The older the building gets, the closer the colours seem to be, regardless of how they started out.

    Don't forget too, that a 70 year old building may have been modified along the way, with repairs, stucco, re-pointing (redoing the mortar), different bricks added, windows bricked in or new doors added, etc. Painting brick buildings is also (unfortunately) very common, as Val pointed out.

    There are all kinds of "excuses" why things are not evenly weathered or coloured, or even the same material! One barn I drive by on the way to work has three different kinds of siding, and four different kinds of roofing!

  10. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Don!
    Here's a DPM structure on my layout...
    I'm no "master painter", so the process here is pretty simple...
    I started by spray-painting the entire structure Floquil Roof Brown...
    Then, I painted the molded-in windows & doors, & foundation with a small brush...(I removed a couple of the doors, & "boarded up" some of the windows to give it some "character")
    If you mess up painting the windows or doors, it's not really a big deal..just go back & touch it up if you need to, & weathering will kind of take the edge off of any glaring errors.
    I thinned some Polly-Scale Aged White with rubbing alcohol, & brushed it over the entire structure, doors windows & all...then I immediately wiped it off with a dry rag, wiping DOWN the sides of the building.
    After this, I spray the entire structure with a spray bottle of India Ink, & rubbing alcohol.
    These successive washes really give the building an aged, dirty appearance.

    Attached Files:

  11. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Here's my first attempt

    Thanks for all your input. I've soaked up all that you've said and looked at the links and a few books that I have and came up with this. It was a bright red to start with and all I did was paint it with a heavy coat of acrylic mortar color that I mixed up. I waited for it to dry slightly then took a coarse rag and wiped the surface. I cut all but about 14" off of the bristles on an acid brush and used it to clean up the hard to reach crevices and the subborn areas. I tried a very light drybrush on parts of the back and I seem to like how that turned out better than the front I then finished it up with an india ink/alchohol wash. I painted the roof with metalic silver acrylic and used the ink wash to age it.

    I will try some of these other techniques on a few others that I have, especially the DPM. I like the idea of reworking some sections to indicate areas of maintenance, and I may just go back and do some major rework myself. Hey, I have less than $5 invested, if I screw it up too bad, no big deal.:eek:


    Attached Files:

  12. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    It looks like you're off to a great start with that one Don!
    Nice work!
  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

  14. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Thanks guys. I'm hoping that I can get better as I go. I'm not that happy with the roof on this one, but I posted the picture thinking I'd get some feedback on what I did right or what I could do better. I apprecate your comments.

    I'm working on another one right now and I am trying another technique that was mentioned in this thread. I'll let you know how that turns out.:)

  15. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Don!
    It would never have occured to me to paint a roof like that a metalic color...but I don't think it looks too bad! Perhaps some dry-brushing with a dark brown, or rust color(s)...?

    I almost always make my own roofs, even if I don't change anything else about a kit. For one thing, the kit roofs in N scale tend to be a bit thick looking to me, & I prefer something like .020" styrene, & another thing is that kit roofs aren't quite as prototypical as I would like for my region & era(s)...

    Here are some examples of different type roofs that I use...
    This first one is of a small brick boilerhouse, with a wooden "lean-to" addition...For the brick section, I used a piece of plain styrene, painted black, brushed on some full-strength white glue, & sprinkled on some Woodland Scenics fine cinder ballast, to represent an asphalt roof, & for the "lean-to", I used some Evergreen V-groove siding, painted it black, & then dry-brushed it a silver color, to represent a tin roof.

    Attached Files:

  16. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Here's another one where I took some Evergreen clapboard siding, turned it sideways, & painted it mineral red.

    Attached Files:

  17. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Here's another one where I used plain styrene, painted black, glued on some strips of tissue paper, painted it grimy black, & then dry-brushed with some white paint...this is supposed to look like a tar-paper roof...

    Attached Files:

  18. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    Yeah, good idea, a bit of oxidation might be all it needs.

    Good examples of scratch built roofs. I would think that there are about as many techniques as there are people in MRR. Thank goodness, the best of them hang out here and are willing to share what they know :) :) :) :) I thank everyone for their input.:D

    Ya know, some of this stuff is scary. I just did four walls using a different technique and I though it was looking good, then came a light ink wash and I wondered if I didn't ruin the effect and was going to have to start over again. But the ink dried and the mortar lines came through the way I thought they should look.:eek: :eek:

    D :cool: N
  19. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Here's an example of a kit I just finished using the aging brick method I described above. The mortar has been aged and may not show up too well in this scan, but looks good up close

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.

    Attached Files:

  20. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Good examples everyone. Lots of ideas for all of us to try.

Share This Page