Zip Texturing

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by ScottyB, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    A few sites online talk about the use of "zip texturing" but none seem to describe exactly what it is. I was hoping someone at The Gauge might be able to help out.

    Best I can tell, it involves dry poster paint and plaster?

    I appreciate any help!

  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Woo hoo, I haven't heard that term in years. :) Ever since Woodland Scenics came out with their ground foam, that technique went the way of fiber tie strips and brass rail.

    You take and mix the plaster and dry tempra or dry poster paints (the ratios I've long forgotten) then sift them onto plaster terrain that's been wetted and stained with various colors. The plaster and paint mix and dry onto the scenery in a way that leaves texture and depth to the ground. Pretty cool for its day. A search on Ebay will get you "Scenery fo Model Railroads" by Bill McClanahan for $3-7, a long out of print but still usefull book by Kalbach Publishing that explains the technique in depth. Hope that helps :thumb:
  3. zedob

    zedob Member

    Wow, you know you are getting old when you hear about a 30 yr old break through scenery technique that is now relatively unheard of. I still have a box of Rit dye htat I used for zipping years ago.

    There was an article in MRRer years ago called ZAP texturizing. The author used a Van der Graph (sp?) static electricity generator to blast scenery flocking onto the layout. The flocking would stand up creating realistic grass and pine needles for trees.

    The generator created voltages somewhere around 70,000 V. Could be a problem for a modeler with a pacemaker.

    I always wanted to try it, but never had the extra money to purchase the rig from Edmund Scientific.
  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    OOOO yeah, Rit dye...the poster and tempra paints came about when they found that Rit had salts in it that destroyed rail.
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Geeze, you guys talk as if it were, like, maybe the dinosaur age for model railroading.:eek::eek:

    I may remember the dionsaurs, but I don't remember this stuff. Yeah, way before my time...:wave::D:wave::D

    Thanks for the good info on the past.:thumb: Hmm, Rit dye has salts that attack rails. I wonder, I've used Rit to color wood chips and sawdust for ground cover. I'd think the salts would have washed off in the process though....:confused::confused:
  6. stump7

    stump7 Member

    Scenic Express has something called a "Turbostat" static grass gun for under $100. I know a professional scenery maker who swears by this technique. I never had the extra $ to get one either, but it sounds interesting.
  7. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Ahhh, 'twas the age of sandcast iron and brass rail on fiber ties, when hardy souls dyed their ties in Rit dye and would handlay their track. Alas, the miniscule but mighty salt mites would come up from the aged dye and rust away the helpless spikes, who could then no longer maintain their grasp on yon rails. Verily, verily, 'twas a time of real modelers... ;)
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    Those flocking kits are also available at Rockler's. It is also a wookworker's supply store, and they have catalog sale and are also on the Net if there's no store in your area.

    Hmm, wonder how spray cans of Christmas tree flocking would work....
  10. zedob

    zedob Member

    I purchased some acordian like "puffers?" years ago at a hobby shop, that create a static charge while the fibers shoot out the end nozzle. That, or the fibers happen to line up while flying out the end. They work pretty nicely.

    I'm not sure of the manufacturer (the bag is long gone), but I want to say it was Kibri.

    I didn't know about the salt thing. I just figured WS changed the whole scenery scene when they introduced ground foam and everyone just said the heck with the Zip.
  11. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    I didn't realize I was going that far back in time! I was just hoping to get some quick texture down while I decide what to do next.

    Like I said, a few sites I stumbled across talked about it, but a google search didn't turn up much.

    Poster paint is pretty cheap, I may have to experiment next weekend.

  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Partof the drive behind Zip texturing was that the plaster used for hardshell (name escapes me) was so hard that it coulcn't be painted. The extra layer of a softer plaster let you add colour and other texture.
    The method still works.
  13. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I have Russ Larson's "N Scale Model Railroading", a Kalmbach Book.

    In it he explains Zip Texturing. Start with Hydrocal, a final layer of modeling plaster and then a spray with the dyes. next use a kitchen sieve and sprinkle the dry pigment on to the wet dye.

Share This Page