Martin Tärnrot demonstrates how to enhance the appearance of ready-made plastic buildings. At swap meets, markets, and on eBay, you can buy pre-built plastic kits at a low cost compared to buying the kits and building them yourself. But many of these have two problems: too much glue, and they are not painted. With a little work, however, you can save money and have good-looking buildings for your layout.
Also sometimes you can find ready-made built kits that are no longer available and that fit into your prototype. With some easy fixes, you’ll have buildings that look right. Let’s get started on weathering plastic model buildings.
Martin has a church and a hostel that he bought assembled. He points out the areas that don’t look good—too much glue has left unsightly stains in some spots, the surfaces are unpainted and glossy, and the tiled roofs have the wrong color for the area Martin is modeling. Also, the look of tile grout needs to be added between the stones on the wall portions.
PAINTING THE ROOF
Starting with the hostel’s roof, Martin mixes up three shades of gray and turns them into washes by adding water. He paints the roof with the lightest gray color and adds details with the darker two shades and a little black.
The result is that the roof looks whitish—but it’s an easy fix. Using the darkest gray, Martin paints a line across the top of the roof, then sprays it with a mix of 9 parts water and 1 part alcohol. The dark gray shade spreads over the roof.
PAINTING THE WALLS
To give the walls a more realistic concrete-like appearance, Martin paints the wall in light gray, sprays it with the water/alcohol mix, then removes the gray from the areas (window casings, tile section) that should be another color.
Next Martin adds a brown wash to the wooden surfaces on the walls.
WEATHERING PLASTIC MODEL BUILDINGS
For more on weathering plastic model buildings, see our videos on weathering cars and applying and weathering decals.