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W C Greene
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Painting dirt for fun and no profit...
A couple of fellows wrote to me offline about this latest bit of craziness-painting on dirt. Well, first off, it ain't dirt like what your flowers grow in or what's on the floor after grandkids drop by. What I use is actually "crushed stone"-rocks that have been broken up, run over by heavy trucks, etc., and washed down the alley into the street and along the curbs.
Here in Texas, we have a white/gray "limestone" called Austin Chalk and it is found under "regular" dirt, in creek and river beds, and is used to pave gravel roads and even graded out before concrete foundations are poured. This is what I use. It is nice and light in color and can be "stained" for any variations. Behind my house, the trash trucks prowl the alley and crush the stone down into small and very small stones and very fine powder...just what I want to represent the dusty area I model in New Mexico. I also have some very nice reddish/pink stone from Silver City, NM that was sent to me by Duane Ericson. I sometimes mix these together, even dirt isn't the same color all the time.
So, I have some large areas to apply dirt & rocks and got tired of gluing small areas of dirt with a spoon and some 50/50 Elmer's & water. I want to get scenery done before St. Peter calls. The following photos may best describe what I devised to quicken the dirtification process.













The photos explain it better than I can. Try this and you may throw away your eye dropper and tweezers.



Here's a large (20 sq ft) area done this way...in less than a day!

Woodie

elminero67
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Looks great -it has the right texture and color.

NevadaBlue
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Thanks for that. You make dirt look easy. I'll have to try it.

Si.
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Hi Woodie.

Nice technique !

" The trash trucks prowl the alley and crush the stone down into small and very small stones and very fine powder."

I guess you don't have to run your diesel-powered stamp-mill in the garage anymore !

You do pan the processed ore for GOLD before applying to the layout, right ?

:moose:

Si.

elminero67
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As a footnote-I attempted a similar glue/dirt mix with fine material and it ended up shrinking and cracking as it dried. Evidently it doesn't work with all dirt.

W C Greene
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Duane-I found that the "slurry" needs to be about as thinned as latex house paint. Liberal spray-down of "wet" water makes it run down gullies, etc. and looks quite realistic-it does like real dirt does (well, it IS real dirt) and makes rivulets and gets into cracks like it should.
Try it...you'll like it (copyrighted commercial line)

Woodie

Si.
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Woodieland Scenics (TM) ?

:moose:

Si.

Kitbash0n30
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It likely will depend on the particular dirt. What we have around here, riverbottom black dirt, and a slightly clay-ey dirt almost the same color as Model Master "Earth" color paint will probably react differently.

Herb Kephart
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''Woodieland Scenics""

I like that, Si


Herb

W C Greene
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Maybe what I call "dirt" ain't your old out in the back yard dirt. What I am using is really stone, crushed into powder. You couldn't grow plants in this, it isn't soil but rock. I look at areas where there are gravel roads and driveways and get the "raw material" from there. The almost black dirt that is in my yard isn't suitable for what I want...too dark and it does become mud when wet. The stone resembles mud when wet but when dry it looks totally different. It pays to look for the un-obvious while walking around the neighborhood. The biggest problem I have with "material collection" is the neighbors looking at me sideways while I scrape up supplies from the street and alley. But then they know that I am crazee and build model trains.

Woodrow

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Looking at your 2nd & 3rd photos it will never catch on as a new breakfast product, even with guaranteed crunch.

Thanks for the photos Mr Greene, very self explanatory. The results are simply superb.

Regards,             Michael

W C Greene
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Thanks Michael, yep...maybe a bit of sugar and the bowl might be satisfying and filling. But the sugar would make the terrain a hot bed for unwanted critters (bugs!). Believe it or no...I use the paper bowls so I can throw them away after use but it seems that I tend to use the same bowl several times over. Thrift? No, crazy!
As for paint brushes, I do use the finest Windsor-Newton art brushes (left to me by an artist) for this "painting", I keep my .39 cent brushes for fine detail work on special projects.

Woodie

Salada
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Woodie, by strange coincidence two of us, today, both of of a 'certain age' as one says, were remembering WW2 rationing and the "joy" of eating sugar sandwiches (bread, butter & thickly sprinkled sugar) when sugar finally came off rationing, 1952 I recall.

Despite all the 'expert dieticians' of today we are both still alive & 99+% well (most of the time !).

Regards,           Michael

W C Greene
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Let em' eat dirt...and sugar!

Woodrow

Lee B
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Good techniques.
My parents got me a jar of dirt dug from the very area my layout takes place in, and I'm starting the scenery finally for my layout.
I need to sift through it with a magnet as that region has a lot of iron in the soil and ore all over the place.
Can't risk any of it getting into motors of locomotives going back from magnetism...

W C Greene
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Howdy Lee, getting the right color is possible if you dye/paint the "dirt". Over years I have tried dirt to get what I want but again, the dirt that grows grass and weeds is not the best. Crushed stone is the "key". As Duane mentioned, yard dirt may crack (especially when applied thickly) and tends to look like it is when water/glue is added-mud. I suppose that I am lucky since the area I model is light tan with a bit of reddish highlights and that is exactly what the crushed stone I use represents. When I built outside, the coloration was a mite different, indoors with "unnatural" lights the colors are somewhat muted.
I have also taken large chunks of the local limestone/chalk and reduced it down into powder and small pieces using a 5 lb shop hammer. For a large expanse of ground, this makes for some REAL WORK and I feel that I need to be wearing stripes and saying "yes, boss".
I never use a magnet since this stuff is not in an iron region but suppose that's a good idea.
As for holding this down, I have always overdone the glue, my dirt won't come loose till the "end times"!
Have fun and experiment, that's what gets the job done.

Woodie


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