Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Building Calamity - Painting the Sarissa Precision RR Station

Production pretty much stopped on the Calamity scene while I was getting ready for the convention. The process on painting the building started about three weeks ago, not long after it was weathered.

The first step was weathering the building. After working with the MDF a bit more it appears that if you need to prime it Kilz is by far the best thing to use. The MDF just seems to soak everything else up and ask for more. I managed a much smoother coverage with the Kilz and used a lot less of it than the two other regular primers I tried. Before I started up the airbrush I thoroughly taped up the building so I was only painting the surfaces that I wanted to paint and not worry about overspray.

The next step is to take the rubber cement and dab it on in patches on the building. Pay some attention to where you are applying it. It should be mostly on the lower exposed surfaces rather than on more protected areas. It can be higher up on a wall as long as its in an exposed spot. Take a look at other 9as in real life!) buildings and see where the paint is peeling. Trim is really susceptible to peeling paint. If you don't like the rubber cement then you can try the same hairspray technique that is used on military models. The hairspray you want is the pump spray type, and it should be applied with a brush, rather than an aerosol can.

One you have applied the rubber cement to the weathered surface its time to paint the whole building or at least the surfaces that you intend to have paint on them. It wasn't uncommon for only the front of a building to get paint. So I painted this a nice red as you can see in the photos, and then I couldn't decide on the trim color so I decided to go back an paint it yellow instead. Then I thought it would be interesting to show both coats of paint so before I applied the yellow I dabbed on some more rubber cement and then sprayed on the yellow. I did use my airbrush for both the red and yellow coats.

Once the paint had dried I went in with an eraser and started to rub it gently over the surface. The eraser will remove any paint that has a layer of rubber cement under it. The eraser I had was to hard though and I managed to get all the way through the weathering to the primer in a couple of spots. So be gentle with this technique whether you used rubber cement or hairspray and use a softer eraser. I have a couple of big pink erasers at work and I think I'll try one of those next time.

Then I waited for it to dry and started painting the window and door trim with a nice green. I left the tape on the building so I could get a little sloppy with areas near the platform. I still need to do the side trim and I'll apply some weathering to that but I'm going to keep it fairly light as the green tends to high the exposed weathered areas.

I'm not completely happy with the way things are going at this point though. The problem with the out of spec MDF is really becoming more noticeable as I move forward with the finishing work, particularly at the puzzle cut corners. I am hoping that when I add the trim to hide the puzzle cuts that it will also hide the poor fit in a couple of places. The eraser removed to much of the weathering that I exposed and its harder to see than I thought it would be. On the plus side I think I can go in sort of redo that and make it more apparent. It didn't help that I managed to erase all the way down to the primer in a couple of spots, which muted it more than I wanted. The inside may be tougher to deal with at this point too.

I'm going to finish this building. I think I'm going to chalk this up as a test piece and consider replacing it. Of the five manufacturers: Battle Flag, Knuckleduster/Tri-City laser, Aetherworks, Gamecraft Miniatures and Sarissa Precision, Sarissa is the only one that makes a railroad station. I may replace this one with a scratchbuilt station as that would make me happier about some of the inaccuracies in the structure itself. Not that the gaming group is going to notice those details but I do. I would definitely salvage the platform if I go the scratchbuilt route.


  1. I like this building!
    I think that the red was good: it seems that the weathering of the yellow gives an impression of rust which is not welcome on wood!
    maybe the yellow in first and the red over could work well...
    But that's just and advice!

    Thanks for the "How-I-do" : very useful and interesting!

    1. The how to is definitely one of the things I like to blog about. We all tend to talk about doing something but never really discuss how it was achieved. I see your point about the rust look but its not quite that rusty looking person. I'm quite happy with the colors. I'll be doing a fade on the yellow so that will tone it down a bit as well plus its not quite so bright in person.

    2. definitively agree with you about the "how-I-do"!
      I don't make a lot ... but it's more because I'm lazy!

      I like the colours too, it's just that I like the red!
      I know that it's very difficult to paint wood (coloured or not) and if you're satisfied, that's good enough: it's your work!

    3. I don't find wood hard to paint at all but then its been something that I have been working with for years now. MDF on the other hand is harder, it just sucks up paint. The Kilz primer really helped with that, its the first stuff that I have found that really seals the MDF.

  2. Once done be sure to thoroughly rinse the area with a sponge and clean water until the water runs clear.