In Military Modelling Vol.38 No.6, I explained the methods I use to simulate realistic wood on plastic card (see the links at the bottom of this feature). This time I'd like to show you how to reproduce brickwork using Canson featherboarding.

The method should interest the many creative modellers out there to help make varied buildings, walls or ruins... To explain this generic technique, I will use as an example building the small façade of a house that I needed for my northern French street in 1:72 scale. Lets see how to proceed using a step-by-step sequence.

Step 1

The first step is to cut the façade out of 5mm feather board with a sharp scalpel blade. The positions of windows and doors are drawn on very precisely and their openings are lightly incised using the scalpel. Once its done, the feather board is ready to be peeled off from the side to be embossed by slipping the sharpened blade between the cardboard and the foam at one of the corners. I hold the sheet firmly with a large metal rule and then take off the cardboard avoiding any possibility of the foam being torn away.

Step 2

The second step is to create a punch matrix the size of a single brick, to emboss the surface in the foam. For forming 1:72 scale bricks such an embossing tool can easily be produced from an old fine No.3 brush with no more bristles left. Once the ferule has been hollowed out, the edge of its open extremity is shaped to the size of brick required with a pair of small pliers and later refined and sharpened with a flat file to obtain a perfect rectangle.

Step 3

Embossing the bricks can begin first without applying too much pressure into the foam. It is best done in a staggered way using the metal rule as guide for the embossing tool. To give a more realistic aspect you can stamp deeper into the foam to create eroded joints in the brickworks mortar in some places, and carve off missing bricks or simulate fissures. These tricky operations in 1:72 scale can be made with a refined point of a needle.

Step 4

The items that can be painted when the façade is treated can now be done; for example, wooden and metal lintels, and other small details. At the same time such fittings as shutters, gutters, down pipes; air hole bricks, grilles and doors are scratch built using styrene, brass tube and copper wire.

Step 5

For the first painting phase I applied two coats of Humbrol Camouflage Grey 28 with a wide brush ensuring distribution in all the recesses. The foam is porous and the primer coat will be fully absorbed by it, so a second coat is imperative. When all is dry, a generous overall wash of acrylic matt black is applied. After 48 hours, the foam is tough enough to be gently sanded with 400-grade paper. This is done to polish the surface and give the bricks a texture true to scale. Carefully wipe off the dust from the recesses with a soft wide brush.

Step 6

The brickwork is painted with a wide brush and near dry paint, much like a quick dry brushing. I use acrylic paints by Talens, mainly two shades of red - Burnt Sienna 411 and English Red 339, mixed with matt black or simply just these two colours in various mixes on some random bricks to reproduce the many varied colours of real bricks.

Step 7

When it's all dry it's time to turn to the mortar courses between the bricks. (Pointing). These are simulated using white pigments applied overall onto the surface of the bricks with an old wide brush. After the excess pigment has been blown out, the remaining can be embedded into the joins with just your fingers. The bricks now appearing in relief are cleaned with a slightly dampened rag to remove excess pigment.

Step 8

This step will give infinitely more shades to the bricks and give them a definitive appearance. I re-use the paints I first employed in Step 6, but this time applied alternatively on each brick with a fine No.2 size brush.

Step 9

The last phase concerning the brickwork itself is to create the places where rainwater or humidity has eroded the mortar in the courses and given the bricks a greenish aspect. There are three easy steps necessary to reproduce this ageing effect.

1. Apply black pigments into the mortar courses with a fine No.0 brush.
2. Apply light green pigments on the appropriate surfaces.
3. Blow off the excess of powder and brush Sienna Earth coloured pigments onto the raised parts of the bricks.

Step 10

I finally enhanced the façade by painting and ageing the final details I'd added using a micro painting technique, which gives a realistic old touch to this brick built house.

Now all it needs is a roof, a chimney and so on... which I'll do later, but just to give some idea how it looks I displayed it near the façade of the garage I'd built earlier.

Availability

I mentioned in my article in Military Modelling Vol.38 No.1 that I get my feather board from www.zeublon-vpc.com

In Stan Catchpol's letter in Despatch Vol.38 No.2 in response to my first feature in Issue No.1, for useful materials he recommends Squires Model & Craft Tools, 100 London Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex PO21 1DD. Tel: 01243 842424.

CAPTIONS

STEP 1 HEADING pic

Realistic brickwork is not difficult if you follow the authors step-by-step method. Remember this particular façade is 1:72 scale and made to fit into French street scene.

STEP 1 & STEP 1b

The positions of windows and doors are drawn on very precisely and their openings are lightly incised with a scalpel. Hold the sheet firmly with a metal rule and then peel off the cardboard.

STEP 2

Create a punch matrix the size of a single brick, to emboss the surface in the foam, from an old paintbrush.

STEP 3 & STEP 3b

Embossing the bricks in a staggered way using a metal rule as guide for the embossing tool. Missing bricks or fissures can be simulated with a refined needle.

STEP 4 & STEP 4b

The façade is ready for painting and fittings like shutters, gutters, down pipes; air hole bricks, grilles and doors were scratch built using styrene, brass tube and copper wire.

STEP 5 & STEP 5b

Two coats of Humbrol Camouflage Grey 28 were applied with a wide brush ensuring this gets into all the recesses. The foam is porous and the primer coat will be fully absorbed by it, so a second coat is necessary. Polish the surface with 400-grade paper to give the bricks a scale texture and carefully wipe off the dust from the recesses with a soft wide brush

STEP 6

The brickwork is painted with a wide brush and near dry paint on its bristles; much like a quick dry brushing.

STEP 7

The mortar courses between the bricks are simulated using white pigments applied overall, onto the surface of the bricks with an old, wide brush.

STEP 8

More shades of colour were given to random selected individual bricks with a fine No.2 size brush.

STEP 9

Use the three-step sequence referred to in the text for the last phase creating the places where rainwater or humidity has eroded the mortar courses and given the bricks a greenish aspect.

STEP 10a & STEP 10b

A realistic old touch was given to the brick-built house and its derelict upper storey with boarded windows. For some idea how it would look in a row of buildings I displayed it near the façade of a garage Id built earlier. Making the garages wooden doors and the signs on them was shown in Military Modelling No.6.

This article originally appeared in Military Modelling Magazine Vol 38 Issue No 10, 2008