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Weathering asphalt

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I am getting ready to start on a diorama of my teenage hangout and was wondering how to make a weathered asphalt look?

Elvin

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The key here is of course observation of real asphalt surfaces. Most any place you go a weathered,cracked and pot holed parking lot should be readily accessible. Check out abandoned or seldom used strip malls that have existed for a number of years.Be sure to take some photos for later reference. Cracks in the surface often have the look of lightning bolt patterns.For the actual asphalt itself I have used those thin sheets of paper backed Styrofoam sheet that are available just about everywhere for creating posters and signs. Be sure to peal the paper off of both sides of it to start because if you don''t it WILL warp. I use a small wire bristle brush to create wear and texture to the surface. The cracks can be produced by using a tooth pick.

For color I use acrylic flat colors and apply with a bristle brush. Paved surfaces are NOT black,. They are shades of dark gray.I often mix some black with the dark gray to darken the color,but I personally suggest starting with a dark gray as a base.Good luck with your surface project.Be sure to post photos here when it's finished.

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Hey Elvin, I ran into this problem not too long ago myself for my gas station diorama I am still working on.  What are you using for "asphalt"?  If you don't know yet, I use pink insulation foam boards lightly sanded.  Painted it flat black (airbrush) with acrylic hobby paint from wally world, then to lighten it up, I sprinkled baby powder over it and rubbed it in by hand.  you could use brown powder of sorts with the same technique to get a "dirty" look.  Watch out for anything that will tear up the foam.   It also makes great concrete!  Hope this helps!  That is what I use anyways....maybe someone has a better technique??   

IMG_2125.thumb.JPG.6f78200f9edd85fc5f5a75caf8f174ac.JPG

IMG_2162.thumb.JPG.a6368d9f50cf29d27e3c6a9da948e50b.JPG

 

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Thanks Tom and Bill, I was planting to use 3/16" corrugated sign board for the base because I an using 1/2" corrugated for the building and cover it with brick sheets. I though it would be easer to glue the building to the plastic board. I was planning to build a light weight wood frame to go under it.

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A simple answer would be chalk. Rub it on, brush off what you need for realism (an old toothbrush or fairly stiff paint brush).

Put some dark (or light) colored chalk on some scrap whatever, and blend it in with your diorama

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That foam technique looks good!

Here's an attempt using thin grey craft foam from the dollar store, torn to create the cracks and mounted to a foamcore base and weathered with a mixture of artists' chalks to darken it somewhat. A little more stylized than I would have liked, but I think the same technique could produce some realistic results!
DesertRoadBaseWIP_July152017-vi.jpg

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Here's an old (2007) thread from The Other Magazine site with some great ideas for asphalt/tar surfaces.  One idea is to use fine sandpaper for the basic surface. Example in the pic below.

Bill Lanfear above mentioned "pink insulation foam boards." I just recently bought some of that stuff.  The trade name is "Foamular." That's what you want to look for in Lowe's or Home Depot.  If you don't have a pickup truck, you might want to take a utility knife and steel ruler to the store.  Foamular comes in 4x8 foot sheets and the store employees are not allowed to cut it down for you.  I did that myself, in the parking lot.  It also comes in different thicknesses. 1/2 inch is the thinnest, but that works out great for scale model work.

http://cs.scaleautomag.com/sca/modeling_subjects/f/39/t/55704.aspx

asphalt.jpg

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Thanks Michael, I sell building supplies and we sell 3/4 1" and 1-1/2". After seeing what Bill did I am going to use the 3/16 corrugated plastic and cover it with the 3/4 foam.

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Elvin,  be sure to use acrylic paint as others will dissolve the foam, also be sure to experiment with glues to see what works.  I use elmers white, clear, and wood glue.  I have successfully applied static grass and the only major challenge with the foam is not scratching or denting it accidentally.  Good luck and can't wait to see how it turns out!

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Thanks Bill, I like the foam but I am going to make the base 48" x 42" and want something under it but I to keep it light.

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Yeah mines on 1/2 inch plywood very close to your dimensions...I left an area to place a road with another piece of foam.  I sand it down for approaches, the dome on the road and curbs.  Don't breath in that stuff when sanding!!

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On 2/6/2019 at 5:23 PM, bill lanfear said:

Hey Elvin, I ran into this problem not too long ago myself for my gas station diorama I am still working on.  What are you using for "asphalt"?  If you don't know yet, I use pink insulation foam boards lightly sanded.  Painted it flat black (airbrush) with acrylic hobby paint from wally world, then to lighten it up, I sprinkled baby powder over it and rubbed it in by hand.  you could use brown powder of sorts with the same technique to get a "dirty" look.  Watch out for anything that will tear up the foam.   It also makes great concrete!  Hope this helps!  That is what I use anyways....maybe someone has a better technique??   

IMG_2125.thumb.JPG.6f78200f9edd85fc5f5a75caf8f174ac.JPG

IMG_2162.thumb.JPG.a6368d9f50cf29d27e3c6a9da948e50b.JPG

 

Very nice..!!!  I have been wanting to build the same thing for awhile now.

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IMG 4245

Here's a product that I experimented with....   spray can, goes on thick. 

image.png.b818d0e7aa4993286e331ba4cb982a0f.png

I used it for the board I use for photos.  It's too glossy for me, it looks like the driveway sealer guy was just here!   But a good start for detailed asphalt..

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