Trolley Modeling in N Scale

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Roofs and Shingles ~ Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The lasercut house and garage kits I've been working on both come with some paper to represent tar-paper roofing. There's nothing wrong with it, but I decided to give them both matching wood shingles. I've had some peel-and-stick paper shingles from Republic Locomotive Works (I can't find this on their current catalog, though) sitting around my parts box for several years, and this seemed like the time to try them.

Putting on each row, and making them all line up, is painstaking work. Sometimes when I work from home I end up just watching a computer to see if a program is going to eventually crash. This is a good time to work on this sort of thing.

At the ridge lines, I put a strip of individual shingles squares, cut off from the unsegmented strip that's supposed to hold them together (that in other rows is covered up by the next row up). This was the trickiest part. They didn't want to hold on that well like that, and tended to get caught on things and come off in handling, so I soaked them with some super/crazy glue. This has the effect of making paper into a hard and fairly permanent shape. There were also a few places where the shingle stickers didn't hold on very well (perhaps the sticky backing has lost some effectiveness during the 5+ years the shingle sheets have been sitting in my garage!), so I glued them down a bit there too.

When the shingles were finally all applied, it was time to color them. Since they were paper, it occurred to me to try just using ink. I have a set of wood touch-up pens from a hardware store (note: if you go looking for these, they seem to vary pretty widely in price, so if the first place you find them at lists them exhorbitantly, keep looking). This was almost a brilliant idea.

I used the lightest color pen from the set, and the results were pretty reasonable. The only problem was that wherever I had used superglue, the ink just didn't soak in. It occurred to me later I could have colored all the shingles very conveniently while they were still on the sheet! Oh well. In the case of the main roof of the house, I ended up spraying on a coat of white primer, and then tried using the marker on top of that. It sort of worked. Eventually I just put a wash of Floquil "dirt" (from the railroad weathering set) on all the roofs, a little more on the main roof than the others. The results are ok.

Generally, adding colors in more than one pass is good for materials like this that are actually made up of a combination of colors in real life. I'm considering drybrushing on a darker brown, which will make the shingles like they've been on the roof a few more years. After that I need to add a stovepipe and all the various other things that stick up out of the roofs of houses.

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