Christopher Brimley updated October 13, 2011

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  • Modeling Streets and Roads Part 3B - Asphalt

    by Doug Geiger, MMR

    Photos by the author

    Route 66 markets a medium-density foam material that can be used for roadways. By applying some weathering, the dark black material can be considerably lightened.
    Model Railroading - August 2002 - Page 28

    This month, we continue with asphalt road construction. Another technique used for making an asphalt road uses another commercial product: a medium-cell foam sheet. Several manufacturers sell this; Route 66 is one such company. They offer sheets printed in several roadway widths (both in N and HO scale) and curves. Although one side has the printed roadway markings (all in white), the opposite side is plain and can be cut to fit the road pattern. A sheet is approximately six square feet. Scraps can be fitted together to eliminate waste. Powdered chalks are a key ingredient in this technique and are used to vary the color of the foam material. A black marking pen is used to create the tar repair seams. Although the price-per-foot is high, using this material can create some very effective asphalt roads.

    Model Railroading - August 2002 - Page 29

    After cutting the material to fit the location, glue it directly to the subgrade using white glue. The porous nature of the foam will wick up the glue and make a strong bond.

    Use a linoleum roller to gently press the material into the white glue. Pressing too hard will squeeze white glue through the foam and produce shiny spots.

    Several shades of gray chalk are brushed into the foam. Try to follow the vehicle paths with the chalk lines. Excess chalk will be difficult to remove, but can be disguised with a coat of black chalk.

    Tar seams can be added using a black Sharpie marking pen. Dont overdo this step unless you wish to simulate the need for a resurfacing job!

    With chalks, the darkness of the raw foam material is considerably toned down. The manufacturer has printed straight and curved lines on the foam. By using the blank reverse side, you can cut the foam to follow almost any roadway orientation and add your own striping.

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