Sunday, 10 August 2014

All With A Grain Of Salt...


Funny how the most insignificant things can occupy, and to a degree, take over your mind.  This was the case this week with the besser block project. I certainly took on board the comments of fellow modellers and reassessed the various components manufactured thus far and upon reflection decided to trash the whole DAS clay "besser block" experiment...but as it turns out...not completely!

The moulds and stamps that had been created certainly had some basic flaws and I had to either look outside the square...or track down some proprietary off the shelf offerings...certainly not my choice of options.  I feel that the work to date had not been totally in vain, as there are definitely a few processes that could be utilised for the future...but just not this project.

While messing around with options, I decided turn out some walls using the same product as the earlier moulds had been manufactured from and this time carry out a "reverse" the most recent incarnation of the besser block walls now is laser etched and cut cast acrylic sheet.  The advantages with this material are is rigid, accepts paint perfectly (if prepared correctly), can be easily machined on both sides for applications that require visibility of both sides and the material use minimises construction time.   The mortar joints were cut a little deeper than would be normal and taking on board the methods of Iain Robinson...a DAS slurry was mixed and squeegeed into the lasered mortar joints to reduce the depth and add definition....kind of like grouting tiles.

I have included a couple of photos showing the phases of manufacture...

 Top...Directly from the laser and after first paint coat.
Middle: Following DAS slurry to the mortar courses
Bottom: Mortar joints softened with paint/satin mixture.
( Middle and Bottom example could be used according to required appearance)

   And so the weekend continued...

Apart from the above besser intended structure will also include a steel "H" frame sectional framework...or "RSJ" construction.  While I had the air brush and other equipment running...I decided to also conduct some trials on the required steelwork and reincarnate a method I have not used in many years.

The base material is store bought Evergreen extruded styrene...Plastruct ABS will give similar results with the right prep. 

Most of you guys would be aware of the "salt weathering" method and as much as I have used it on rollingstock and other flat surfaces over the years with a fair degree of success...I felt it would give me the effect I am after with the shed and I was keen to see if it was as achievable on smaller sections of material.

I have included some photos of the tests so far and I am fairly happy with the results...even on these smaller items.  It is a very handy method with a host of "methods within a method"  to achieve a great deal of variation...  and if readers would like a detailed " How To"  post to get you started...just let me know...

Showing the base colours (various rust browns) with the salt applied and the second coat being added...

Another variation with lighter corrosion spots and an incomplete paint layer...

Severe pitting and corrosion...Residual salt not yet removed... can be seen

Rust and pitting showing through several layers...



  1. Rod

    The Besser blocks look very good, I think I like the middle version better then the last.

    The steel looks great and I am sure that your followers would benefit from guidance on the process.


  2. Ray,

    Thanks for your input...Yes I can see a use for both styles and I have now much stock of both as I put almost an entire sheet through the laser...As much as we try to share our styles and information I was not sure whether the salt methods and variations were well known or not and thought it better just to put the offer out there...



  3. I have only just noticed that something must have gone amiss with my comment that I made about a week ago. I would very much like to hear of your methods for depicting rust using salt, it looks very interesting indeed!