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September 2002 - Page 30

Modeling Streets and Roads

Part 4A C o n c r e t e
by Doug Geiger, MMR
Photos by the author


he last three parts of our Roads and Streets series is concerned with making concrete highway surfaces. Concrete roads and streets are as prevalent as asphalt ones. The first concrete slab highway was US Route 1, built between 1910 and 1920. It ran between Maine and Florida and was just onelane wide with dirt shoulders. Many modern highways are constructed from concrete. For the modeler, making a concrete road is much easier than making the equivalent asphalt highway. Almost all sidewalks are concrete, so you can use these techniques for adding sidewalks to your towns and cities, too. The key to making an effective concrete road is its coloration. Two colors that work well are Testors Model Master Light Sea Gray and also their Flat Gull Gray. Both come in spray cans and bottles. Most paint labeled as concrete is much too dark and brown. Three alternatives are presented to model a concrete road. The first (included in this part) uses drywall compound, the next uses a commercial product and the third method uses plaster. Step-by-step instructions allow you to easily duplicate these three techniques. Also included are some tips for adding pavement striping to your concrete road. Drywall mud makes an excellent, tough and hard surface. Glues will not migrate within the mud, so foliage bits can be added easily to simulate an older road with grass growing in cracks. By using a damp sponge to smooth out any bubbles or dips, the technique is quick and fast. If a hole develops in the surface during this step, just apply more drywall compound, wait for it to dry and begin the smoothing process. The new application will feather perfectly into the surrounding mud surface.

After the subgrade is applied to the basic scenery, add a layer of drywall compound. Use the pre-mixed type to avoid improper blending of dry material.

Spread the drywall mud using a butter knife. Occasionally dip the knife in water to maintain a wet surface. The drywall mixture should be applied no greater than 1/8 in thickness to avoid cracking.



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