"Ghost Sign" Models

Discussion in 'Architecture Models' started by sakrison, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. sakrison

    sakrison Member

    Ain't Photoshop great?!
    The model railroaders among us are familiar with Design Preservation Models' HO scale buildings--nice storefronts and wall details, at a very affordable price. I'm experimenting with mixing media, replacing plastic sidewalls of these building kits with photographic walls printed on paper.

    The photo came from a "ghost signs" site. For those of you who don't know, a ghost sign is an old advertising sign painted on a brick or concrete wall.

    I used Photoshop to straighten out the wall (eliminate perspective), bring out the colors, and add a plain brick wall and concrete subwall below the sign. (The building will sit on a sloping street on my layout.) I used more plain brick for the back side of the sign wall (above the roof line). The concrete wall is from a photo I took along the Georgetown canal in Washington DC about five years ago; the plain brick wall was photographed here in Ripon.

    I've cut out and recessed the windows of the ghost sign wall. Combined with the 3D cast storefront, and some other 3D roof and wall details, it should blend right into the urban street on my HO model RR.

    I was at a large model railroad expo in Milwaukee last Sunday. Looking at the many fine layouts on display, it's obvious that model railroaders have embraced paper as modeling medium--and not just for background stuff. I saw more than one layout where photos turned into card models held their own against any plastic or wood craftsman kits. One of the keys to any good card model seems to be to provide just enough actual 3D detail to fool the viewer into thinking it's all 3D.

    I've started carrying my digital camera with me as I drive around East Central Wisconsin. Almost everywhere I turn, I find interesting buildings, walls, doors, windows, and other details and textures that can be turned into models or backdrop details with Photoshop and cardstock.

    Here's my ghost sign wall, as modified in Photoshop. I'll send more pics as I complete the building.

    No worries,

    Attached Files:

  2. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    Very cool! I love the texture :)

    Going to make the whole model available in downloads when you are done? :D
  3. sakrison

    sakrison Member

    That one wall might be "the whole model." The rest of the building will be parts from the plastic kit.
    I don't build (or detail) what can't be seen by a viewer, so a lot of the buildings have only 2 or 3 finished sides--since the remaining sides will be hidden by other buildings or other sceney, or simply facing away from the viewer. This building, locate on a street that angles away from the vewer, will have only its ghost sign side, its front, and its roof finished. The other side and back will be unfinished cardboard or balsa.

    I am working on several other "hybrid" buildings and structures, and I will make the paper parts available on this forum, as I complete them.



    There was an artical in one of the model RR mags. a couple of years ago about applying textures to walls by printing on decal film . I'll seee if I can find a reference.
  5. RichBohlman

    RichBohlman Railroad Card Modaler

    Sounds Great! Thanks and looking forward to seeing more RR items! :)

    Model Rialroad Mag purchased an article from me about Cardmodel Buildings about 3 months ago
    and I'm looking for it to appear in print any time now!

  6. sakrison

    sakrison Member

    You beat me to it! I've been thinking about submitting an article on paper models to Model Railroader for several months. Ah, well. Fair is fair and you got there first.:thumb:

    I'll watch for your article.

  7. RichBohlman

    RichBohlman Railroad Card Modaler

    That's just because us Wisconsin folk think a like - Born in Milwaukee 1948!


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