Author Topic: Mortar ... or not?  (Read 8583 times)

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MVW

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Mortar ... or not?
« on: September 22, 2012, 07:41:43 PM »
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I'm gettin' a bit frustrated. I'm trying my hand at scratchbuilding for the first time, and have been dinking around trying to get mortar to show up on painted plastic "brick" sheet.

I'm using N Scale Architect's sheet, spray-painted box car red. I'm using spray bombs, as I don't have an airbrush, but I'm keeping the coverage as light as possible to avoid clogging up the mortar lines.

I first tried using a wash of acrylic gray (4 parts water, 1 part paint), wiping it off after a few minutes. That succeeded in graying up the brick, but not much else. Did 4-5 applications of that before giving up.

Tried using drywall compound scrubbed onto the surface with my finger, then wiped off with a wet rag. Still no results I'd care to share (or put on my layout).

So ... how many of you do anything to bring out the mortar? Or do you just skip it?

I'd especially be interested in any (detailed) tips and pics from anyone who's working with the NSA brick sheet ... because I assume somebody has been successful.

Thanks in advance.

Jim

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2012, 08:38:14 PM »
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I've had good success with "Roberts Brick Mortar".

However I use it very sparingly meaning that I don't use it on all my brick-based buildings.  And why not? 

Go out and take a look at brick buildings.  I did.  And I realized that for many brick buildings the mortar is not distinguishable.  Either it has been painted over or it's so thin that you wouldn't see it in an N-scale environment or it's a dark color and can be duplicated with dark washes.

So I've done a couple buildings with the "Robert's Brick Mortar" and will leave it at that.   

nkalanaga

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 12:56:35 AM »
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As with Michael, many of my brick buildings don't show much mortar.  I've used several methods, including washes, acrylics rubbed on, and painting the mortar first then rubbing brick color on the surface.  All work, for certain buildings, but none are "perfect".  All of my brick buildings represent 30+ year old structures, and it seems that the less mortar that shows the better.  For many of them just lighter or darker weathering washes is enough.  Old mortar is seldom cleaning enough to show clearly from a distance, as long as the brick texture is accented.
N Kalanaga
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LV LOU

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 02:03:41 AM »
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I make sure the base brick color is really dry,at least 4-5 days,then I hit it with REALLY thin washes of medium gray acrylic mixed with water/alcohol,I use a big soft brush,start at the top,and just let it flow down then dry up,I may do it 2 or more times before I'm happy with it..It just lets the mortar lines barely show up,I don't do and wiping,ETC..

LIRR

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2012, 09:03:57 AM »
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I spray with the brick color first, then spray the mortar color over it.   Then lightly sand, the brick color is revelaed, the mortar color stays in the joints

LIRR

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2012, 09:08:43 AM »
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MVW

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2012, 10:00:31 AM »
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Thanks all, for your replies so far. I've got a couple pieces of "wall" painted up, and I'm going to try a couple more experiments.

As per LV Lou, I'm going to try an even more diluted gray wash. And then I'm going to see if I can make a wash with extremely diluted drywall compound.

LIRR, I previously got somewhat similar results as you show on your photo of Mick's. But I'm currently using boxcar red for a brick color, and the results weren't as acceptable. To my eye, anyway. Maybe I'm just too critical of my own work.

If my tests bear any fruit, I'll post some pics. And if nothing looks good, I'll abandon the whole mortar thing for now.

Jim

timwatson

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2012, 10:35:33 AM »
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I have a really good technique that is very forgiving. I haven't heard of a lot of people doing it so I'll mention it here.

I use tempura paint for my mortar on my buildings. Why use tempura. Well it has a very chalky texture. So it looks like "more like" mortar than the smooth plastic paints. Another very good thing about it is it washes off with a simple brush full of water. It's easy to control cause it's in a paint form and not for instance a chalk form and it can be tinted very easily to come up with any shade you like.

Here are some of my results:



This is a plaster casting of a Ratio brick sheet. I love plaster because nothing looks more like stone than stone products (plaster being the most hearty). The plaster casting was sprayed with red oxide primer a few times lightly (from a rattle can).

The technique is to brush the paint in the mortar joints at the regular paint consistency. Then when it starts to dry take a slightly damp rag and rub the top of the brick faces. If it's too wet it will wipe away the mortar so be careful.



Tempura paint is a water activated paint. Add water to dried out paint and it's as good as new. Watch out though the same is true when you are working on your models.
I usually seal my mortar with dullcote. Just remember not to alcohol wash that building later (so you can avoid the while "scales" from the alcohol and dullcoat mix).



It's been my experience that you only need 2 colors. You might also get a brown but these should cover most your mortar needs for a long while.

The beauty of this technique is that if you mess up just take a wet brush or cloth and wipe off the mortar lines since tempura is easy to wash off you can get it off of there easily. Nothing special here - good, flexible and cheap technique.
Tim Watson

My pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nscalerail/sets/

Modeling a version of the Jay Street Connecting RR. in Brooklyn.

MVW

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 12:00:58 PM »
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Now THAT'S a nice look, Tim. I'm gonna have to play with that. Be interesting to see if the results are as good with NSA sheets -- as I imagine the mortar lines may be more shallow. (And, of course, it's plastic instead of plaster.)

Here's a little sidy-by-side:



There are four different samples on this little rectangle. The base color is Floquil boxcar red. From left:

1) With an India ink wash
2) Base color only.
3) With a gray wash and wiped down.
4) Gray wash, wiped down, India ink wash.

A bit more of a closeup:



I gotta say, at this point I prefer options 1 and 2. Hm, I wonder how a light-colored ink wash would look.

Jim

mmagliaro

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2012, 11:21:39 PM »
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Is that the brick sheet you are using?  It looks like there are not clearly defined bricks with mortar lines,
like, say a DPM wall has.  That may be making it very hard to get a clean mortar line look.

Anyway, I usually use some sort of acrylic or other water based white, off-white, or gray paint, thinned with some water, flower over the surface.  When it is mostly dry, I wipe it off.  Nothing very inventive there.  But I don't like the look of that brick sheet.
I don't really see mortar lines in it to hold the white or gray paint.

Chris333

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2012, 12:35:12 AM »
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This was made with N-scale-arch N/Z brick sheet


I think the sheets are vac-u-formed so yeah the mortar line aren't the best in the world. I had to settle for just a light grey water based wash.

BrionO

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2012, 10:51:38 AM »
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I think I have tried all of the above mentioned techniques with some success.  The technique I have settled on is to paint the brick sheets a flat mortar color.  After it has dried I then use colored pencils and rub the brick faces for my bricks.  I then seal the walls with dullcoat.  I like this method because it is easy to control and you also don't have to be extra careful painting the trim or windows because the pencil will color over any minor mistakes.  I also like that it is easy to simulate different color bricks by randomly touching bricks with a different color.  I have found some difference in pencil brands; some are a little waxy and some are more chalk like.  You can experiment to find the brand that works best for you.  Some brands also offer the same colors in a stick which is great for covering a large area.  I did not come up with this idea.  I read about it on one of the forums.  Sorry I can't remember which one at the moment but a search may lead you to it.
 

wazzou

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 11:38:54 AM »
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I've tried many methods.  One I like though, is Flour affixed w/Dullcote.
Bryan

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Roger Holmes

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2012, 03:09:32 PM »
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I've tried many methods.  One I like though, is Flour affixed w/Dullcote.

All purpose, cake or semolina?  Any photos?  This sounds intriguing and definitely frugal.
Best regards,

Roger

There are 10 kinds of people in the world.  Those who understand the binary system and those who don't.

wazzou

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Re: Mortar ... or not?
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2012, 03:14:22 PM »
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All purpose, cake or semolina?  Any photos?  This sounds intriguing and definitely frugal.


I think all we ever have around the house is Gold Medal.  I'll see if I have a structure that needs a little mortar and also locate one that has been done in this manner.
Bryan

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