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)

Friday, February 3, 2023

Painting an HO Scale Brick Building - Part 1

If you aren't familiar with the Lodo district in Denver where my Warehouse Row layout will reside it is full of brick buildings, in fact its all brick buildings. Every structure on the street is built from brick most dating back to the 1900 - 1920 period of Denver history. What that really means is I need to get pretty darn good at painting brick.

To go along with the little HO miniatures project I figured a brick background would be appropriate. I dug out a resin kit that has been sitting around for a very long time now. Its was built and primed and apparently I started to at least work on the wood portions. Its also missing a door (reminder must find something to fit in the space). I figured the miniatures would look pretty good with the building as a backdrop. Plus I find it easier to work on multiple projects at a time rather than a single project. That way I can move back and forth between them as I wait for something to dry or set up.

I'm not who sure who made this kit. I think it might be a Mainstreet Heritage Model kit but I'm not sure. They don't seem to be in production anymore. If someone out there can identify it just leave a comment.

The missing door. Will have to go through my stash of parts and see if I have something I can make fit.

I watched some videos grabbed some paints and started in. You don't learn anything without experimenting a little bit so I dived in with the brushes. I used a mix of cheap artists acrylics and craft paints for the first three colors on the brick.

Still looking a bit to orange at this stage. Although bricks produced in the Denver area did tends more towards orange than red.

Since I wasn't entirely happy with the color. I kept moving forward and seeing if I could darken it up with a bit of a shift towards red.

Its hard to see, but I applied a Dark Wash by Ammo overall the brick to get into the mortar lines

I think my light is to harsh and its hard to see the changes

After the wash, which you can see better here, I started to pick out some of the bricks in other colors. I used a light tan, and then two darker colors. This picture is after the first bricks had been picked out.

At this stage, I think its starting to look pretty good. The different brick colors are making an impact and I have gone over all the wood areas with a basic greyish brown.

After this I'll randomly apply chipping fluid over all the wood so its ready to move on to the next colors.

That was all basically done in an hour. I realize now that the top of the front brickwork is actually more brick. For some reason I was thinking it was terra cotta tiles. And you can see in this last shot the disadvantage of one piece molds. There is no brick work on the back of the front cornice. I'll have to figure out something for that now.


  1. It's looking good so far. I need to find a way to paint brickwork that I am happy with for 28mm buildings for my De Lancy project. So far I haven't needed it, but at least the bank will need to be a bit more robust than a timber frame and plank build. So I'm watching with interest. Plus I'm hoping for a return to Calamity for more inspiration.

    1. I have enjoyed the experimentation aspect of this building. Since it doesn't really have a place its taken a lot of pressure off of getting it "right". I've gotten to play around a lot more with what works, what's quick and what's time consuming.

      It's interesting that you mentioned Calamity that's certainly been on my mind lately and I think some of the techniques here will lend itself to Calamity builds. Part of the issue with Calamity is materials and what will work best to make things easy. Old West buildings can be wildly different from each other but I'm going to compromise on some things there, like windows and doors, and make them as similar as possible. I just need to get that laser cutter up and running!