New tests, old tests.

I have a testing schedule which I will work through over the next weeks:

  1. Road surfaces – working on this now – see below.
  2. Matt varnish –¬† I’m looking for the perfect matte varnish – one with no sheen! working on this now – see below.
  3. Trackbeds – I’m going build some more railroad trackbeds to test different grassing and track weathering ideas.
  4. Ammo oil brusher –¬† New product test. I’ve been watching military modeler videos on weathering and they recommended this product.
  5. Grass static applicator – I need to get better at using my static grass applicator. I’ve seen so many fantastic example of grass on model railroads and want to try to do better job myself.

Old tests either completed or nearly completed:

Crackle test is done, see other post on this. Weather-It is done – I found the product to be no better than the alcohol and ink method. Winsor & Newton Pigment markers – still have to purchase and test the missing shades of grey but so far they have been fantastic and I look forward to using them in my modeling.

New tests currently been conducted:

Asphalt road surfaces

Yes I have begun. I am glad I waited a couple of weeks as it gave me time to think things through. The test is the first step to creating a roadway surface for the model. As I want to build, color and weather the roadway on my desktop and then move the final result to the diorama I wanted to split the test into two parts.

  1. A test bed into which I can slip different road surfaces to give me an idea of how things are looking. This will have a grassy side to replicate the grassy side of the diorama (and generally a road in country).
  2. A reusable road-surface jig into which I can pour the road surface mixture. I want to create lots of variations of road surface and this jig will allow me to create one after the other.
The test bed. I want to be able to slide in road surfaces that have been created in the jig. The sides will act as grassy borders to the road surface.
The road surface jig. I’ll be able to reuse this to create as many road surfaces as needed. The jig allow me to pour in a road mixture, let it dry, extract the result to then color and weather. Note my pajamas¬† – it’s around 6am.

I’ll post the step-by-step methods of the test when finished.

Matte Varnish

I’ve been very disappointed with the various matte varnishes on offer and wanted to spend some time trying out various products until I strike gold and find a matte varnish that does not have any sheen. I find that in photographs of models, most that have been given a coat of matte varnish have a slight unrealistic glow. That’s what I want to avoid. I’ll be working on this test this week.

These are what I have on hand. If I am unable to find a varnish without a sheen I’ll continue looking.




Testing is going to be an important part of modeling for me moving forward. I don’t want to experiment on the final model or layout and would rather have a method figured out and practiced before applying it. In the past my impatience to see the final result tripped me up again and again. A method would be tried and I hoped that I got it right the first time. However that usually was not the case and I found that I would have to backtrack and start over. Sometimes after days of preparation the result would have to be scrapped leaving a messy stage on which to build the next attempt.

Most tests are simply preliminary stages of a build. I will practice making roads and then build a road. The tests simply help me work out the method. Other tests are standalone and not related to any particular build and would include trying new products, tools, and methods. I would write the steps or results down and store them with the test to refer to then in the future thus saving time down the road when I came to actually apply the test to the layout.

A typical test not related to any particular build. In this case I’m testing the three ranges of grey marker offered by Winsor and Newton. The markers are actually no longer being produced which is shame because they stain wood beautifully. I’m still in the process of collecting the remaining shades of grey. Also I purchased a label maker to make keeping notes a much more organized and easier task. I used it to print out the labels on the side. This card will be used for reference moving forward.


This is another product test. In this case Vallejo Crackle Medium. I’m working out steps and variations. I’m hoping to use it on the diorama in some capacity. I have a few more steps to go before this test is complete. Once again I will print out the steps using my label printer and store the results on a reference card.


This is a method test. These are the results of the first round of roadbed tests I built a few weeks ago. I’m about to start over in a much more organized way, keeping notes on materials, ingredients, steps, and particular methods employed. They will eventually be stuck onto a reference board/card and at some point a final version/test will be used on the diorama.


Tests need space and the more space I have the more tests I can run simultaneously. Here are the three main tests for this week. I’m working out the next set of tests right now.