Modeling a Harbor with Martin Tarnrot

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Duration: 17:32

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In this video, modeler Martin Tarnrot will demonstrate how he models harbors. When it comes to model railroad scenery techniques, harbors are a beautiful and unique way to add more operations to a layout. The wooden jetty and stone dock are scratch built and will also be demonstrated in this video. The scratch build of the stone dock begins with styrofoam. The styrofoam piece is two inches thick and a ¼ inch wide. Martin has cut these pieces from a homemade styrofoam cutter, which consists of a heated wire. To begin engraving, he has also made his own engraving tool that is folded from 0.4 mm thick aluminum sheet. He starts to create divots with the tool into the foam where he had pre-measured marks for the stacked stones of the wall. To create an uneven texture over the rock, he rolls over the top of the surface with a ball of aluminum foil.

For the grout, he uses a sand-based plaster intended for walls. He rubs it on the styrofoam and then wipes away most of the plaster from the surface with a finger or a wet sponge so there is only plaster in the grooves. Once dry, he starts to paint the wall using a flat gray acrylic paint. Black, white, and a portion of raw umber make up the paint, creating a warmer, more natural color. Next he paints some of the stones red and brown and then adds a thin wash of black and raw umber. This wash will darken the grout and the overall shade. For more model railroad scenery techniques on the harbor, watch the full video. For more on making model train scenery water with plaster or tips for touching up model railroad scenery water, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.