Modelling Mortar for Brick/Stone

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by bigdonnie, Nov 13, 2004.

  1. bigdonnie

    bigdonnie Member

    About a year ago, my wife and I tiled the backsplash in our kitchen --- little did I know that it would give me an idea for modelling brick or stone mortar quickly, easily and cheaply --- plus I think the end result looks quite good as well :D

    I've lost count of the number of methods for modelling mortar I've read about over the years. I have a Dave Frary video that showed how to use Modeler's Mortar (from a company in Texas whose name escapes me right now), so I gave that a try and it does work well. However, it costs $4.25 for a small jar (per colour) and tends to dry out over time (although that was probably my fault :mad: ). One day I saw the box of tile grout we had used for the kitchen and it dawned on me that it might work for modelling as well --- and it does :thumb:

    I mix up a couple of good sized tablespoons of the grout with enough water so that the consistency is probably about the same as Hydrocal just before you pour it in to a mould (+/-). The consistency is not that critical --- I just played around until it worked for me. You then add acrylic paint to get the approximate colour of mortar you want. I use small cubes of the same sponge I used for the kitchen (you can buy them at Home Depot, Rona Lansing, etc.) to apply the grout mixture over the entire surface of the wall. Using another dry piece of sponge, I immediately wipe off the excess until I'm happy with the look. Finally, because tile grout leaves a glaze or haze when it drys, I take a third piece of slightly damp sponge and gently go over the surface to remove this haze. You can use this last step to vary the look across the wall (lighter mortar lines in some areas, heavier in others, etc).

    Here are two sets of before and after pictures to show the end result. The first is a Kibri kit, the second is from a structure kit I've just started which has very fine HO brick detail. The second one hasn't got highlighting and weathering yet, so I think the finished walls should look good when they are finished (the colour in the pictures is not very true).

    Would appreciate getting your comments/suggestions

    Attached Files:

  2. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Good concept, nice results.
  3. CharlesH.

    CharlesH. Member

    Very effective bigdonnie.
  4. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    hmmmm... Looking good. :) I'll keep that one in mind.
  5. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Duh!!!!!!! Can't believe I hadn't thought of that, Thanks for the tip! :D :thumb: :cool:
  6. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

    "NICE WORK" on the mortar.
  7. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    Another tribute to modelers' inginuity and never throw anything out - it may be useful on the layout.
  8. belg

    belg Member

    Donnie that was very effective,what did you paint the wall with acrylics? And what was the color(s)?Pat
  9. bigdonnie

    bigdonnie Member


    In this particular case I just sprayed on red automotive primer. It doesn't look that great by itself, but adding the 'mortar' tones the colour down to give it more of a brick 'look'. It will look even better (touch wood) once I hand paint individual bricks a couple of different colours (oh, my aching eyes!) and add some weathering.
  10. dhutch

    dhutch Member

    yeah, nice

    - i've been meaning to try out the trick for ages, beacuse i have two huge viaducts and a large retaining wall i want to "brick" and "stone"

    - beacuse my LMS sell these large plastic sheets of precoloured "bricks" - but theres no mortor!!

  11. bigdonnie

    bigdonnie Member


    The first time I tried this (with the Kibri kit), I experimented with a couple of the pieces I didn't need so that I got the hang of it ahead of time (ie I played around with the consistency of the 'mortar', how to apply it, etc, etc). You could definitely do the same thing if you are going to be working with the sheets of brick material.
  12. dhutch

    dhutch Member

    ok, thanks

    - what sort of constancy did you go with?

    - how "like grouting tiles" is it?

    - what did you paint your bridge with, did you give it a matt finish?

  13. McFortner

    McFortner Member

    Great idea! This one deserves to go into the Academy!

  14. bigdonnie

    bigdonnie Member

    Thanks Michael --- that is the ultimate compliment among this group! :oops:
  15. bigdonnie

    bigdonnie Member


    The answers to your questions are as follows:

    - I shoot for a consistency just a little bit thicker than Hydrocal before you pour it into rock moulds (between a paste and being 'runny'). I would suggest you buy one of the sheets you mentioned above and try, say, 3 different consistencies on 2" x 2" pieces --- you'll soon figure out what works best for you

    - It is much easier than grouting actual tiles --- the space between bricks is not that deep of course so this technique is surprisingly fast. I find that the small cubes of soft sponge work really well

    - I used the same colour in both cases --- red oxide automotive primer. If you do some test samples, play aroud with whatever colour you are aiming for (ie sounds like you want the look of stone, so try some different shades of grey and see how they come out). Once you're satisfied, away you go!

    Hope this is helpful --- if you have more questions, I will be glad to try and answer them


  16. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Great Work :thumb: :thumb:
  17. rebel

    rebel New Member


    the best way that i have tried is white ink and water as you can build up layers

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