18 September 2018
Colouring bricks are usually simple enough, until we tried some laser-cut ones, where our 'usual' methods just didn't seem to work.
What we used
Humbrol Enamel 70 (brick) and 118 (Matt Tan)
Humbrol Dark Earth and Smoke Weathering Powders
Beige emulsion paint
The surface of laser-cut brickwork is sharp and accurate, but is too smooth to use the tried and tested pencil crayon colouring technique.
At first we tried to dry-brush the brick faces with enamel. It worked a bit, but an awful lot of paint was picked up in the mortar lines and the results were not much better than those achieved with pencils. Next, we ran thinned mortar colour along the grooves. It's a technique that many modellers use, but one that never seems to work for us. By the time the colour is thin enough to flow, there's hardly any pigment in it. If you can make this work that's great, and it might well be the solution to this problem.
This final method was partly inspired by the embossed Plastikard bricks on the popular layout ‘Overlord’. After painting the buildings with enamel, they are scraped with DIY store wall filler. This sticks in the mortar lines and pretty neat.
Playing with this, we didn't like the consistency or colour but it gave me the idea to try a thick paint. Something water-based seemed like a good idea, as we could wash it away if things didn't work out. A matchpot of beige emulsion was to hand, so we gave it a go.
First impressions weren't good but we found by applying the paint and then removing as much as possible from the brick faces, first with a scraper then some paper and finally a sponge, we ended up with a good looking result.
Experimenting with methods and materials is part of the fun in this hobby. Some methods will work for some people so, if you are struggling, don't give up – just change the way you are doing things. Very few mistakes can't be rectified and a good coat of weathering hides many mistakes!