• Welcome to Westlake Publishing Forums.


    REGARDING MEMBERSHIP ON THIS FORUM: Due to spam, our server has disabled the forum software to gain membership. The only way to become a new member is for you to send me a private e-mail with your preferred screen name (we prefer you use your real name, or some variant there-of), and email adress you would like to have associated with the account.  -- Send the information to:  Russ at finescalerr@msn.com

Main Menu


Started by finescalerr, May 25, 2016, 05:59:18 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


That's when I realized the board and bat siding was from the high quality, hard Strathmore Bristol I mentioned above. I knew I could replicate the board and bat result so I tried something a little different with that paper: First I applied a couple of washes of Apple Barrel acrylic tan to my hastily scribed boards. The result was a color close to raw, freshly cut pine. Before the acrylic cured I applied streaks of dilute brown watercolor and dabbed the crudely scribed knots with dilute brown. Then I brushed on three coats of Silverwood.

I let that sit for about three hours and brushed on three coats of a dilute wash of India ink and alcohol. In retrospect, I'd use SilverWood again; it's less coarse and more elegant. I let the result sit overnight.

This morning I lightly rubbed in brown and gray Bragdon weathering powders, brushed off the excess, and washed everything down with two brush swipes of acetone. Under close scrutiny, the result comes closest to the appearance of the weathered wood in Chuck Doan's barn/Fordson tractor diorama and surpasses any result I've previously achieved with stripwood.

So, by combining Ray Dunakin's method of carving styrene boards with the essence of Chuck's wood staining technique ... after finding the right paper ... I've obtained the best results of my life. It takes no more time than it would had I chosen stripwood and the results seem about equal.

Your comments, criticisms, or ridicule are most welcome.


Chuck Doan

Starting at reply #13, you really got my attention Russ! This is really looking good. I think you should be happy.

If the center of the knots had a bit more definition...color/detail...not sure what approach to take, but I think that would be the last hurdle.

"They're most important to me. Most important. All the little details." -Joseph Cotten, Shadow of a Doubt


Ray Dunakin

Color and texture look great! Only minus is the knots which, as you say, are somewhat crude. They could also use a bit more color.
Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World


That looks really good Russ. Realistic graining and nice subtle variation in color.

What do you scribe the grain with?


I wanted to use a wire brush or even a razor saw but they tend to cut through the skin of the paper and produce fuzz. So I resorted to my standard and always excellent scribing tool, the metal point from a student's compass in a pin vise. It's the same as using a pencil. There is no trick to scribing grain; almost anything you do will look decent. As everyone seems to have noticed, though, creating knots is a little more tricky. (Maybe the toothpick trick will work with Strathmore.)

The good news is, these boards are for 1:32 scale (or smaller) so in actual viewing you can't see how lousy the knots look. To put that into perspective, the actual size of each board in the final photo is about three inches long by about half an inch wide.



Your definitely (finally ;) ) on to something.
The knots and surrounding grain are the only giveaways.
I'd say look at some real wood and you will have complete perfection.

Glad you didnt give up!
Cant wait to see what you build!  :o


Bill Gill

Russ, Those new boards are very good looking! I like the color, grain & knots a lot. I think you found the right touch and combination of paper and colorings.

Two possible ideas that you might look at if you experiment further (though these samples look really good as is):
There are various size blunt needles for sewing different materials, tapestry, raffia, etc. Some are thick and fat, but I think some are very thin and maybe they could add a little variety in grain thickness, or could help detail any future large knots without tearing the surface.

This might be way overkill, but if you did fiddle with more grain/knot detail for close up photos, what if you took a B&W photo of weathered wood, scale it and turn it into a high contrast B&W only image so just the grain shows, lay it on a light table as a 'tracing' guide and put your untreated Strathmore plate Bristol over that.

Like I said that's probably a lot more than necessary for any models you'll build, but it might be interesting to see how far you can extend your success.


Russ I am with Chuck on this. From response 13 onwards you are getting it right, and the colour is spot on. . I agree that texture and the knots are the two things to work on. Have you tried making tools to burnish/compress the wood a little to give a slightly layered effect to the wood grain? Its just a thought.
You may ask yourself: "Well, how did I get here?"



I have spent at least an hour or two every day this month trying to devise a consistent, simple, reliable technique (beyond what I've already shown) to replicate unpainted wood with paper. Please keep in mind that the photos I have posted show strips measuring about 3/16-inch wide so the flaws and over-scale detail appear grossly exaggerated in the highly magnified images. Suggestions for making special tools or using microscopic embossing needles simply won't work, not only because of the small size of the examples but also because the surface of even fairly robust paper is very delicate. A smaller needle causes tears.

Some techniques produced very good results but are inconsistent; one piece looks very good, another looks mediocre. The papers themselves, and I've tried half a dozen, are too delicate to permit the use of a wire brush for subtle grain. Paints and stains go on unevenly or dry to a speckled finish. Any brush harder than camel hair tends to raise fibers (as some earlier photos reveal) and the only reliable way to add grain is to draw it in, very delicately, with a scribing tool. If the point is too fine it will tear the surface. Bottom line: What a frustrating pursuit!

Still, under the magnifying glass, I was able to create 1:48 scale paper boards very close in appearance to distressed and stained wood. The macro lens is powerful enough to reveal the differences (as the photo shows) and the paper boards are slightly closer to the camera than the wood so everything looks a little bigger. In person, the difference between them is negligible.

The technique is simple: Scribe the paper, stain with a dilute mix of India ink and denatured alcohol, use a small brush to apply pastel powders, and wash the result with more denatured alcohol. Of all the papers, Strathmore bristol, readily available in pads at art and craft stores, is the only one reliable and robust enough to yield consistent results and no fuzz.

I'm not finished with my experiments but I am getting pretty tired of imperfection.



Here's another photo showing real wood and a variety of papers and coloring techniques. What surprised me is how the 1:48 scale wood planks (stained with India ink and alcohol about ten years ago) certainly look like wood ... but don't look at all the way full size weathered wool planks would look. A couple of paper samples come closer!

As I said above, what an exercise in frustration.


Bill Gill

Russ, I looked at your most recent photos a lot but couldn't find the "imperfection" parts, please mark them so they can be critiqued :)