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Brown color for under scenery

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Brown color for under scenery
Posted by Eastrail11 on Thursday, June 28, 2018 8:16 PM

Hello everyone, first time starting a thread.

I am starting to add detail to my 5x9 layout, and while talking to a friend, he said to paint the wood brown, with the grass being Woodland Scenics T1344 Fine Turf Shaker, Burnt Grass.

What color would you recomend, a lighter brown, darker brown, or more neutral brown. This is my first layout, so I know there will be mistakes. I just want to try and limit them with the help of the wonderful people here. 

For any other questions, I will try to answer them as best as possible. And if anythings is confusing, ask me and I will try and sort it out! 

~Eastrail

(Please excuse all typos and poor grammar)

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Posted by jrbernier on Thursday, June 28, 2018 8:20 PM

  The color will depend on where you live.  Here in the Midwest, I used Dutch Boy 'potting soil' for my base color...

Jim

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by Eastrail11 on Thursday, June 28, 2018 8:32 PM

jrbernier

  The color will depend on where you live.  Here in the Midwest, I used Dutch Boy 'potting soil' for my base color...

Jim

 

I live in florida, and I'm modeling the ATSF in 1966-1968 era, from the westmost area of the ATSF to the Eastmost area. It is a industrial layout, and hopefully I can make it to also be able to be switchable by CSX power in modern day Florida. Might sound ambitious, but I believe I can pull it off. Thanks for the sugestion. 

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Posted by kasskaboose on Thursday, June 28, 2018 10:25 PM

You're 100% right about mistakes.  I've plenty to share having done on the 1st layout and excited to avoid them with the 2nd one.  That said, the color brown really depends on your location.  You also have to remember that most people won't question the shade of color used unless it's too outlandish.  Consider that HD and Lowes often have an 'oops' area for unwanted paint.  Grab a shade of brown and you're all set!

You also might consider looking at your geographic area to model to match that shade.  Mother nature is a fantastic resource! 

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Posted by j. c. on Thursday, June 28, 2018 10:29 PM

i use 2 shades of misstint brown i got from box store in a random patteren.the lighter one wound be  close to tope the other a coffie brown.

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Posted by mobilman44 on Friday, June 29, 2018 4:52 AM

Having had a layout (O/N/HO) since 1957, I've found it a big plus to paint all of the layout surfaces - usually before roadbed/track laying.  It seals the wood, gives a nice look "pre-scenery" and eliminates the need to cover every bit of space with ground cover as the paint eliminates the showing of the bare wood base where ground cover is sparse.

I've used various shades of brown latex, usually something inexpensive.  

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by Deane Johnson on Friday, June 29, 2018 7:50 AM

I just went through the base color choice thing.  Since I use Homasote, I wanted to eliminate the grey color so it would look reasonably natural when it showed through scenery in thin places.  I tried the Krylon Camaflauge colors and decided on Brown.

I then had Home Depot scan a piece of styrene I had sprayed with the Krylon so I could have other paint mixed to match.  I use Behr flat for touching up the Homasote, and Behr eggshell to paint the fasica.  

The result is the edge of the layout disappearing into the surface and letting the structures and trains standout.

Eventually, this will change as I begin to include ground cover, etc.

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Posted by NittanyLion on Friday, June 29, 2018 8:02 AM

I've used tans for my base. Local soils in my layout region tend to be a darker brown, but that base makes the general scenery on top seem too dark for some reason, even when completely covered. Plus any tan showing through looks more like dried soil or dead grass than unrealistically brown dirt.

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Posted by Silverliner266 on Friday, June 29, 2018 8:10 AM

Eastrail11

 

I live in florida, and I'm modeling the ATSF in 1966-1968 era, from the westmost area of the ATSF to the Eastmost area. It is a industrial layout, and hopefully I can make it to also be able to be switchable by CSX power in modern day Florida. Might sound ambitious, but I believe I can pull it off. Thanks for the sugestion. 

 

 

If you're doing a deserty scene I would go more tan than brown but that's really it. I am doing Philadelphia and I went with a color called "Brown" because I figured that I am going to cover it all with scenery anyway. 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, June 29, 2018 8:11 AM

I use Woodland Scenics #T49 "GREEN BLEND" ground foam for my base ground cover.

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Apple Barrel brand "ENGLISH IVY GREEN" is a perfect match for this and is available in 2 ounce bottles from Wal-Mart. I know everyone likes to use tans and browns, but this product has yielded the best results for me over the past three layouts.

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You can make a color swatch and get it color matched into a gallon of flat interior latex at Home Depot, but the 2 ounce bottles work for me. Cheap, small, disposable, and easy clean up.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, June 29, 2018 8:45 AM

I didn’t paint the wood on any of my layouts, I don’t apply my scenery ground cover directly to the wood.  I use Celluclay Paper Mache for my layout base and it dries a medium grey.  I do small areas at a time using Woodland Scenics C1229 Earth Undercoat.  The Paper Mache really likes it and as it soaks in the brownish color varies from slightly dark to slightly light, looks pretty realistic to me.  I cover the Earth Undercoat with WS ground flocking.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, June 29, 2018 8:50 AM

I don't know about painting wood - I'm not sure what you mean about that.  Maybe you mean the frame of the layout?  Many who have a fascia will paint it a complimentary color as a frame.  For example, an eastern forested layout might have a green, or grayish green shade for the fascia.  A western desert may use a grayish buff color that comliments desert scenes.

It is a good idea as others mentioned to make the actual scenery base consistant with what is in your area if the ground were bare and apply the scenery over that.

There are various options to do that.

- dye the plaster with a pigment (some like that because if the paster ever chipped away, there wouldn't be a white spot showing through.

- some use a celuclay material

- you can apply a layer of appropriate color latex paint as a base.

- In addition to a layer of latex paint, I appled a layer of colored sanded grout as a base (what I did over the latex paint) for a textured surface.

Here you can see the sanded grout gives a textured surface with a light sand color:

Then I shook some basic scenery foam over that and addes some scrub brush:

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Friday, June 29, 2018 1:57 PM

Eastrail11
I'm modeling the ATSF in 1966-1968 era, from the westmost area of the ATSF to the Eastmost area.

    So you are going to model from Los Angeles to Chicago? The old model railroad at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry was Chicago to Los Angeles. I loved seeing it when I was a kid. Now the new model is Chicago to Seattle.
    The color of the dirt will vary because you are talking about different climates. The more it rains the darker the dirt is. Mud is brown. Soil with a lot of moisture in it is also a dark shade but not as dark as mud. Dirt in arid regions like the western states is a very light sandy color. In some areas with a lot of clay in the dirt it can be slightly orange or red. You need to decide on an exact location and look at pictures of the area to decide.
    The color of MDF shelves is pretty close to the color of dirt in southern California. In some areas of the desert it is even lighter.

This picture is still a work in progress.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by Santa Fe all the way! on Friday, June 29, 2018 3:13 PM
I'm going with a light brown / tan as my layout will be in summer and the soil would probably be dried out.
Come on CMW, make a '41-'46 Chevy school bus!
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Posted by jjdamnit on Friday, June 29, 2018 3:33 PM

Hello all,

I agree that the base coat should match the terrain being modeled.

The word Colorado is anglicized from the Spanish words color rojo (direct translation: color red).

The color of the soil can vary from iron red to sulphur yellow.

When deciding the color wanted I went to my local hardware store, got some paint swatches and compared them to the actual dirt in the area I am modeling (Bowie Resource Limited; Paonia, Colorado).

I decided on a reddish-brown color called "Clay Pigeon" in an interior flat finish.

The base of my pike is 2-inch blue foam so I chose a latex based paint so as not to damage the foam and avoid excessive paint fumes.

Hope this helps.

Post Script:

Something else to consider is the color of the ballast. Some lines had specific types of ballast that set them apart from other roads.

Check out Arizona Rock & Mineral Company for some examples. 

J.J.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Friday, June 29, 2018 4:45 PM

I went to home depot with glass jar of dirt, compared the dirt to the different browns, picked the one I like the best.  I then had the lady at the counter scan the color and mix up one gallon of one of the cheaper paints in flat color.

I think I ended up with book leather or some such.

 

 

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.

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Posted by bogp40 on Friday, June 29, 2018 4:53 PM

I'm a real fan of dying all my products for scenery base. Weather hydrocal for rock castings or hydrocal or ground goop scenery base. Powdered masonry dyes come in a range of colors. I mostly use iron black, brown and red clay. A bit of color mixed in dry will be your rather close dried color once cured.

tunnel portal,retaining wall and liner were also dyed plaster as well as the scenery base

2nd coat of ground goop colored befor application and note the abutment hydrocal pieces dyed plaster from custom molds

Every casting and scenery base shown is dyed

In some case for extreme large areas, appropriate colored paint is used, an advantage is a coating of ground foam can be placed on the wet paint.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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Posted by Eastrail11 on Friday, June 29, 2018 6:01 PM

Hey guys, thanks for all the responses! I am so grateful that you guys decided to help me. For the area I'm modeling, I am modeling a Kansas area of the ATSF. Also the soil where I am is so dark its almost black han brown. 

I think I've decided on what to go for, but any additional feedback it alway helpful. Thanks again. 

~Eastrail

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, June 29, 2018 6:35 PM

Not quite what you asked, but Ken Patterson ground up old leaves to model old leaves under trees.  Hey it qualifies as brown.  It was a messy job.  You can use your search skills on youtube to find that video.

I use the $0.50 paint rejects you can buy at Home Depot in greens or browns.  They come in plastic jars about the size of old Noxema jars.  My uncle's father was cheap and refused to lend money to his neighbor the druggest, who had this idea for something called Noxema.  

All the painting is meant to be covered mostly by ground foam or sifted dirt, but if it's not, it's no big deal, as stated above.  I live in an area with very sandy soil.  It is easily sifted and is light brown. It works for me.  I've not checked for magnetic particles, but it's not a bad idea.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, June 30, 2018 10:33 AM

I'm a little late to this thread, but a few thoughts come to mind. There were several good ideas from several different posters, so using the quote feature of the response might not work too well.

I painted the entire surface of the plywood deck in an effort to seal the wood and give it that clean 'scenick-ready' appearance. Yes, the wood is sealed, but it isn't completely entirely sealed in the moisture-proof sense. Mostly sealed to smooth over the gaps and tie up the splinters and fuzzies into the paint surface matrix so that they can be cut off at the knees with a quick once-over with a sanding pad. The paint is cheap generic big-box flat matte latex wall paint; color Sahara Sand. Flat. Matte. Very few shiny finishes in nature.

Right now the color is very uniform throughout. But in the real world, there is no such uniformity. So the plan is to dab on here-and-there splotches of various earth tone paints using a dry brush technique. I have a few dozen little squeeze bottles of acrylic paint purchased for about fifty cents each at Wally World or Michael's or Hobby Lobby or someplace. The point is to really go wild and mix up the colors and apply it in a haphazard sort of way. And don't worry about blotches; what at first seems like a big mistake might turn out surprisingly realistic. Same story with the ground cover and vegetation. Mix it up. Random patterns. Varied colors and textures.

And, oh yeah . . . don't forget to post photos.

Robert 

LINK to SNSR Blog


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Posted by Medina1128 on Saturday, June 30, 2018 10:35 AM

Try looking at the area you will be modeling using Google Earth. Start zooming in until you can see the base color of the soil, then choose your color accordingly. I found a gallon of mistake batch of tan paint from an Ace Hardware store for $5. 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, June 30, 2018 12:09 PM

Eastrail11
....I am starting to add detail to my 5x9 layout, and while talking to a friend, he said to paint the wood brown, with the grass being Woodland Scenics T1344 Fine Turf Shaker, Burnt Grass. What color would you recomend, a lighter brown, darker brown, or more neutral brown.....

Unless you're modelling areas like those on riogrande5761's or Rob Spangler's layouts, where theres a lot of exposed dirt, I don't think you need to be too concerned about the exact colour of brown, but only that it's not too dark or too light.

The dirt under my front lawn is a completely different colour than the several colours found in the backyard's dirt, but because it's mostly covered with grass/weeds/flowers, and shrubs, it's not really noticeable.

For my layout, I went to Walmart and asked for their cheapest flat interior latex paint, in a "dirt" colour, and was handed a sample chart of the available browns.  I picked the one which looked the most similar to some of the local dirt.
My main aim was to colour the plaster-on-screen landforms which were in place, since the high lighting levels in the layout room created a situation close to what I might call indoor snow blindness.
I found that it was difficult to brush-on the full strength paint, so thinned it quite severely with water, which made the task much easier.  The paint went a lot further, too, and acted more like a stain, although I doubt that it penetrated too far into the hardened plaster.

Here's a partially completed section with ground cover applied to most of the scene, save for the area at centre-right...

....here's the same area after applictions of various colours and textures of ground foam, followed by some static grass...

While I make use of a lot of Woodland Scenics' "Burnt Grass", I usually start with a light application of fine dark green foam in low-lying areas, then add lighter colours and varying sizes of foam to achieve an almost  complete covering of the underlying plaster.  The foam ground cover is mostly not brown, but the colour of the foam "suggests" the type of underlying dirt, and its moisture content (a big factor in the colour of most dirt).

I also wanted to include several bridges on my layout, which would allow me to create varying elevations for the track and scenery, and also allow for some water scenes.  This "river" is simply a well-supported sheet of 3/8" sheathing plywood...

...but with a thin (1/8"-or-so) layer of Durabond patching plaster, along with some of the full-strength "dirt-coloured" paint, resulted in this...

The dark grey/green paint used for the water, was also used on some of the background "trees", which are simply pieces or strips of upholstery foam, shaped with scissors.  The full strength paint was applied with a brush, then some ground foam sprinkled on to create texture and highlights...

This area, with the thinned "dirt" paint applied, will eventually be covered in trees and undergrowth, with a river running through it...

...while this area (the same colour, but looks lighter due to the proximity of the overhead room lighting)....

...finally received some attention...

...more trees were added to this area, but there is some of the original "dirt" colour showing in the area of the little-used path...

 In the photo below, the only place the dirt colour might show through at all is on the gravel driveways at the left edge of the photo (any of it showing would be the thinned version)...

...while that visible on the riverbank in the distance is the full-strength paint, applied at the same time as that used in the muddy water.

My suggestion would be to go with what looks good to you, taking into consideration the area you're modelling and the level of lighting in your layout room.  Once the rest of the scenery is in place, I doubt that much of the underlying colour will be noticeable, as long as it's not white plaster, pink or blue foam, or bare wood.

Wayne

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Saturday, June 30, 2018 6:12 PM

An easier way to find a dried leaf video would be to look up Luke Towan's channel. He did a video on it, plus he has other super good MRR content.

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Posted by SouthPenn on Sunday, July 01, 2018 6:57 PM

I used a light brown for dried out dirt and a dark brown ( think chocolate ) for fresh dirt or different areas. I put the light brown over everything then applied the dark brown in a pattern that looked like a two-color cow. Be sure to put the lighter down first and then the dark. It's a pain trying to get the light color to cover up the darker color if that's what you want. Then when I added grass the different colored paint gave different shading to the area.

The paint and colors came from the local Ace hardware store. I bought a gallon of each almost 20 years ago and never used most of it. I had to throw it out when the bottom of the cans rusted through and the paint started smelling funny. A quart goes a long way on a layout.

South Penn
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Posted by Medina1128 on Saturday, July 07, 2018 7:42 AM

Oh, and make sure the paint you select is dead flat. Any paint that is exposed after adding scenery will leave a shiny spot, if not.

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