Ask Phil - Making a model road

20 October 2020
Can you advise me how to model a road? I'm not keen on stick-on versions. Ian, Abingdon.

There are loads of different methods to model roads. Here are a couple of my favourites.

The easiest is simply to take a couple of car primer spray cans - black and grey - then randomly shoot paint over a sheet of MDF from two to three feet away.

Work quickly so the paint mixes slightly. Holding the aerosol further away then the instructions recommend will ensure a slight texture to the paint as it will be slightly dry before it lands.

Definitely a technique to practice on a scrap piece of material - but for something so easy, it's surprisingly effective. Just remember to cover the rest of the layout up before you start.

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For a more varied effect, I prime the MDF (you do need a very smooth surface) with grey and then splodge Phoenix Precision Paints tarmac colours everywhere using a piece of sponge.

Again, work fast so the colours blend. Finish up by dabbing talcum powder on the tacky paint then brush this off with a 2-inch paintbrush. For extra detail, mask square sections to represent repaired tarmac and dab those with the darker shade.

For road markings, I use the masks produced by ScaleModelScenery. Hold the mask in place and dab with Humbrol 147 Pale Grey using a sponge. Doing it this way, rather than with a brush, allows you to model wear an tear on the markings. It's rare they look brand new after all!

If you have a model railway question, e-mail Phil and we'll try and answer it in the future newsletter.