I'd like to know how Downtown Deco carves in all that fine brickwork on these Hydrocal kits. It really is remarkable the level of detail that they achieve. And if or when a few bricks become slightly damaged, the buildings seem to look even better.
Over at www.tws-rustbucket.com, there's an incredible group of modelers where you can learn a tremendous amount about building models and weathering. I log on there pretty regularly. A few months back, there were a couple of threads posted by Rodney dealing with Hydrocal models 10 feet and 5 feet long. I tried to provide the link to Rodney's remarkable thread, but it didn't appear to work here. I don't know why not.
I picked up a significant tip from his threads called "pre-shading". This is a simple process where you paint areas of a kit dark (generally with black paint I take it) before you paint it with the actual intended colour. Taking this extra step gives the model some colour tone variation. Pretty cool idea. I'd never heard of it before.
Downtown Deco recommends sealing the plaster with white spray paint because the plaster will just soak up paint like a sponge. I didn't have white spray paint, so I just went with Krylon Clear Matte. Here's my building, sealed and with some of that pre-shading done. I didn't think I was going to like the end results from those 3 vertical stripes I had sprayed as shown below, so I sprayed more black over the whole lower half of the side wall.
In the picture below, the dark pre-shading shows through the brick colour on the lower half of the side wall, and around the windows. Turned out pretty good I thought for the first time trying this technique.
The paints I used are acrylics: Craftsmart Black for the pre-shading, and Folk Art Honeycomb for the brick colouring. The black pre-shading was sprayed with my airbrush, but the Honeycomb was applied to the brick with vertical strokes using a flat half-inch wide artists brush.
The window sills and foundation stones were painted with ModelFlex Concrete Grey. Pretty well the whole building was given a wash or two of alcohol and india ink to bring out the mortar lines.
Also in the photo below, you can see that the brick side wall is bowed outward about 1/16th of an inch, maybe even just a touch more than that. It came that way out of the box. I didn't know how to straighten that, or if it could even be done, so I just left it alone and did the best I could with it as is. This side won't be visible when it's in place on the layout anyway. I shortened the front porch about 1/2" because it stuck out further than I think would fit into the space I'll have available.
A view showing the back of the building. I might have gone a little heavy with the India ink/alcohol wash, but I wanted it dingy back there.
The roof material, a small piece of styrene sheet for use as a base, along with piece of black construction paper to represent a tar paper roof, is supplied with the kit.
Following a suggestion in the assembly instructions, I laid out the tar seams with a black Sharpie pen. Then, using a toothpick, I went over the lines with some white glue. This raises the tar seams just ever so slightly and gives them a little bit of a shine as well. I thought that was kind of a neat little detailing trick. I wouldn't have thought of that.
The two chimneys come in the details package, and I did the same painting to them as the building walls. Too bad they're not hollowed out down the centre. I just stuck 'em onto the roof with some white glue since I had it out anyway for the tar lines