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justin1985

Brickpaper or Plastikard?

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I've made quite a lot of progress on CAD "kits" for the buildings for my little "Snape Maltings" shunting plank over Christmas, and I'm now trying to decide whether to build them with card using brickpaper or embossed plastikard. I had tended to think that brickpapers were more convincing, but in my experiments so far I've had problems with splitting along folds etc, whereas plastikard can obviously take a lot more abuse.

 

I quite like the Scalescenes printable textures, which I've printed with a colour laser. I had thought the Slaters 2mm embossed brick card was rather unconvincing, until I heard the tip of rubbing it down with wet and dry first to take the domed effect off. I also heard about the Southeastern Finecast 2mm sheets in both English and Flemish bond, which I hadn't seen advertised at all.

 

I've painted a few samples quickly (using Tamiya "Deck Tan" as a mortar base, and a mix of Vallejo "Orange Red" and "Red Leather") - I didn't take time to blend different colours or pick out individual bricks, which would surely have improved it. On each of the plastic pieces I rubbed down one end with wet and dry, and left the other as it came.

 

post-3740-0-27167900-1483192565_thumb.jpg

 

Left to right: SEF Flemish bond (sanded end closer to camera); Slaters English Bond (sanded end further from camera); SEF English Bond (sanded end closer). Underneath is a sheet of Scalescenes "red brick" printed on a colour laser.

 

I know Copenhagen Fields uses all embossed plastic (including custom pressed card, which is very thick), but I know there are plenty of 2mm layouts using both. I need to build up a maltings frontage nearly 30cm long (mixed red, cream, and grey brick), as well as a stationmasters house (cream brick) and a small goods shed (red brick). What do people think would work best? Any other suggestions? (I seem to remember there was a better brickpaper range that is no longer available?)

 

Justin

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Hi Justin

 

My own personal preference is for brick paper. A few tips:

 

Apply the paper to the card shell with Pritt stick. This avoids the paper getting wet and tearing or deforming.

 

Don't fold the paper around corners. Wherever possible build walls in the flat and apply brick paper and any other details. Leave the brick paper overhanging the ends of the wall. Once assembled trim back the paper using a scalpel or razor. Touch in the edge with a little watercolour.

 

Where you have to fold the paper, very lightly score it on the rear using a very sharp blade.

 

Good luck!

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I,m in agreement with Tony on this.  Look at the buildings on Mick Simpson's 'Wansbeck Road'.

 

I've been experimenting recently with the downloadable papers from Brian Taylor of Smart Models www.smartmodels.co.uk .  You can see some of my results so far at http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/65499-whats-on-your-2mm-work-bench/page-60&do=findComment&comment=2551255 .  This is a little diorama explained in post #1488 on the same thread.

 

Jim

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Hi Justin.

 

I've had a similar dilemma with the brick wheel drop building on Ropley. For a long time I was leaning towards embossed plastic using the SEF Flemish bond, however after printing a mock up version to check sizing, I've been swung around to using my own custom brick paper produced using a photo of the real building.

 

The main benefits are not having to mix up paint to get a colour match for the bricks, and also the printed paper offers a sharper appearance than the somewhat soft detail on the SEF sheets. It will need a little more work when it comes to sills & lintels and also hiding corners etc, but certainly in my case I think paper is the better option. 

 

The photo below compares the original printed mockup and the SEF sheet. 

 

post-1467-0-27814000-1483286352_thumb.jpg

 

Tom. 

 

 

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I was out and about yesterday, and looked at some actual brick buildings. It's worth noting that the brick courses with a pronounced inset mortar line is a relatively modern phenomenon (1960s?). Up till quite recently, bricks were mortared to the brick/wall line. There is some texture, but not much, on earlier buildings. There is a brick built terraced house (late Victorian?) near me that's been painted. There is quite a bit of texture, as the bricks are quite rough, but the mortar line is smooth.

 

For high quality brickwork, brick paper would suffice. If the bricks are rougher, perhaps Redutex, but the deeply incised plasticard ones are, even if sanded down, suitable only for modern buildings.

 

Mark

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I tend to agree with you MarkAustin. The reason older buildings are flush pointed is that they are built with lime mortar, not Portland cement. Lime is more porous; the flush finish gives the least surface area for rain to soak into. Lime joints are typically narrower than modern ones too.

 

Also remember that for those depicting railways in the mid 20th century, Victorian or Edwardian properties will be 50 to 80 years younger than they are now, and consequentially the brickwork would have a much crisper finish than today.

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Many thanks for the replies. Seems pretty conclusive for brickpaper - and thanks for the tip of leaving overhang at the ends of walls and tidying up afterwards - I'll give that a try. 

 

I've used Pritstick when I've built Scalescenes kits before, but I've wondered whether spray Photomount might be an easier way of getting a good stick over the whole sheet and avoiding lumps. Has anyone tried that way?

 

Given that I've drawn up all of the buildings in .dwg format, I'm wondering about actually exporting to Inkscape and incorporating the brick textures there - it would certainly make incorporating the contrasting brick lintels\voussoirs and quoins a lot easier by"borrowing" texture from photos as Tom has done, or from one of the downloadable sheets. 

 

In terms of brick paper\texture, I quite like the Scalescenes ones, especially for the consistency in texture between the different colours. Even the "red" one I printed above seems a bit brown though. The Smart Models range has some very nice textures, but there seems to be a bit of a contrast between some (e.g. "red brick") which have a high contrast with bright white mortar (presumably these are drawn) and others with a more weathered mortar (e.g. the various cream brick ones, which look more "photographic"). Any other good ranges? 

 

Cheers

Justin

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A quick sloshing of solvent on the surface of brick paper is the best way to secure to plasticard. (Assuming the printing is relatively immune to the solvent.)

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I now normally print onto A4 label sheets, (used to get them from Staples, now they are disappearing I shall have to find another source), the advantage being the sheets are thin when peeled from the backing, and can more easily be wrapped around formers when needed, say for raised brick overlays etc. Generally I use a mountboard shell onto which the papers are stuck. Being self-adhesive is an advantage with avoiding wrinkles. The main glue I use (not for the label sheets of course) is Anita's Tacky PVA. Dries very quickly and any excess can be rubbed/cut off. Tends to go rubbery when dry to the air which aids removal where needed.

 

It's also quite easy to glue plasticard to paper using liquid glue and I find this material better anywhere there are hard/exposed edges etc, barge boards, valencing, as paper can tend to splay.

 

With regard to actual print patterns, brick etc, no one seems to do a good soft red variety. But there is nothing to stop you scanning any printed brick papers you may come across if printed, and adjusting them in, say, photoshop, to get the colour balance that suits what you need better. Just be careful with repeat patterning - moire - if using small samples to produce a large area. It's more easily seen in 2mm and can be problematic with readily available paper patterns at times I have discovered.

 

Izzy

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I tend to agree with you MarkAustin. The reason older buildings are flush pointed is that they are built with lime mortar, not Portland cement. Lime is more porous; the flush finish gives the least surface area for rain to soak into. Lime joints are typically narrower than modern ones too.

 

Also remember that for those depicting railways in the mid 20th century, Victorian or Edwardian properties will be 50 to 80 years younger than they are now, and consequentially the brickwork would have a much crisper finish than today.

Another thing I notice on old brickwork is the gaps between the bricks is often very small - millimetres in some cases - not to mention the larger brick sizes (at least around here) : those Victorian bricklayers were a lot more skilled than some of their modern counterparts.

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Hi Justin.

 

Another potential option for you.

 

At TINGS I picked up some Redutex and I’m quite impressed with it. Takes a bit of practice on corners, but saves the hassle of painting whilst giving some texture.

 

 

post-1467-0-02611700-1537436543_thumb.jpeg

 

Tom.

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I tried Redutex a few years ago and found the brick sizes to be grossly overscale - in excess of 3mm : foot if I recall correctly.

 

They may have altered it since. I hope so as the texture and colour were really good.

 

Richard

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Hi Richard.

 

You do have to pick your sheets carefully. The Flemish bond I’ve used above is one of the better ones.

 

Tom.

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I have found with brickpapers if they are exposed to sunlight through an adjacent window they fade badly.

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This discussion has come at a very appropriate time for me as I'm in the process of building a brick chimney for a canalside works on my H0m layout. I model French railways in regions where buildings are usually rendered but decided that a brick chimney would be both realistic and give some variety. I'm writing this while waiting for the glue to dry on three sides before tackling the fourth and the join (which will be facing away from any viewing angles so I hope unnoticeable and I'll then know whether I prefer it to embossed media.

 

The question of texture is interesting as I think it's often better to exagerate it slightly than try to scale it precisely. At 1:87 scale cement render is actually smoother than card but with no texture at all it just looks wrong to the eye so I think we perceive miniatures differently than full size objects. I've certainly seen layouts whose buildings looked fantastc in photos but far less convincing in the flesh and vice versa . I probably won't attempt to texture the chimney's brickwork but may experiment with that on some of the spare brickpaper which I printed myself.  

 

Further thought, it occurs to me that one reason why textures don't scale convincingly is simply that light itself doesn't scale so the scatter is different.

Edited by Pacific231G

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I have found with brickpapers if they are exposed to sunlight through an adjacent window they fade badly.

 

Depends on the ink used to print them, and what, if any, treatment they get thereafter. 

 

The worst for fading is probably home-printed with aftermarket cheap ink cartridges.  Some brand-name ink cartridges are very good in resisting fading.  Commercially produced depends on who did it, the best are very stable. 

 

You can coat the finished walls in artists acrylic varnish, which is clear and designed to stop UV light which is the cause of a lot of fading. 

 

I've had a home printed (HP ink) brick paper building, coated with artists varnish, on my shelf for years.  It doesn't get much direct sun, but the position is bright.  Very little, if any, fading when compared to the parts of the building on the "inside" which isn't subjected to sunlight.

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This is an interesting discussion, and it seems to me that modelling brickwork with printed papers vs textured materials is quite a contentious subject.

 

I have not used printed papers on my layout to date, preferring an exaggerated texture over printed finish accuracy. I would add that there has been very little brickwork required so far, only a few chimneys and a partial platform side.

But I admit that some printed brick finishes look very good indeed. 

 

To me, the printed papers look very good when viewed directly front on. I can recall admiring the brick and stonework on a couple of layouts and having it confirmed that they were printed surfaces. They can look very good in photos as well, but as mentioned in earlier dispatches - less convincing in the flesh.

For me the printed paper finishes look less convincing from an oblique angle - there's a kind of flat sheen to the surface which gives the show away. So I feel that it's not so much a texture debate, but how light plays on the surface. If we apply the scale texture rational, then why don't we use printed paper for road surfaces as well?

I'm also not sure about how printed paper responds to any other weathering effects like moss and grime around the footings of a wall etc. that one might want to add?

Maybe the users of printed paper don't do extra weathering - or don't need to.

 

On the other hand, as others have mentioned there are issues with the textured materials that are available and I have not been able to achieve the level of detail sharpness in a painted texture as that of the printed variety yet. Still, having said that, I'm yet to give it a real good go.

 

I'm still not convinced enough to say printed brick papers are the only answer, but if I had a lot of brick work to do, I would be definitely investigating it seriously.

 

My conclusion is that like the great coupling debate, and the photographic background vs painted debate, that it comes down to personal choice and which compromise matters the least to the individual. 

 

But I will be following this thread with open minded interest

 

SteveM

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A slightly better photo showing the Redutex Flemish bond brick texture:

 

post-1467-0-66900200-1537794152_thumb.jpeg

 

Tom.

post-1467-0-66900200-1537794152_thumb.jpeg

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Hi Richard.

 

You do have to pick your sheets carefully. The Flemish bond I’ve used above is one of the better ones.

 

Tom.

 

Hi Tom,

 

Can you tell me what size the bricks are and hat the item number is for Flemish bond?

 

Regards Roger

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Hi Tom,

 

Can you tell me what size the bricks are and hat the item number is for Flemish bond?

 

Regards Roger

 

 

Hi Roger.

 

I'm away until Monday but will measure them for you when I'm back home & check the item number. 

 

Tom. 

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Have you had a look at this free site (donations welcome though) for making brick papers? Endless variations in colour, bond and mortar colour

 

http://paperbrick.co.uk/

 

Although I've just tried the site and it's having problems generating the pdf. Let's hope it's soon resolved.

Edited by Rowsley17D

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Hi Tom,

 

Can you tell me what size the bricks are and hat the item number is for Flemish bond?

 

Regards Roger

 

 

Hi Roger.

 

Hopefully this helps?

 

post-1467-0-83906700-1539645363_thumb.jpeg

 

post-1467-0-41242100-1539645346_thumb.jpeg

 

I obtained my sheet from DCC Supplies. 

 

It does take weathering powder quite well I've found if you need to adjust the colours or add weathering. 

 

post-1467-0-77778800-1539645439_thumb.jpg

 

Tom. 

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Amazing work there, as always, Tom! The Redutex Flemish bond does look better than some of the other types I've looked at (rather over scale tiles etc). Is it a trick of the light, or is there a hint of translucence around the corners though?

 

I'm very tempted to build the same building twice to compare results between brick paper and one of the textured materials. I'll need a GER 1865 crossing keeper's cottage on both my main layout, and a fiNetrax shunting plank I'm working on, so that seems a good candidate.

 

Justin

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Is it a trick of the light, or is there a hint of translucence around the corners though?

Perhaps a little, the material is quite thin. Where I tried scoring the rear surface to bend it around a corner at the rear of the building it did turn the brick a slightly lighter colour, so cutting & joining is possibly the best way to do corners with it. Next time I’ll probably try using black plastic as the base colour to see if f that makes any difference.

 

Tom.

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Hi Roger.

 

Hopefully this helps?

 

attachicon.giffullsizeoutput_137e.jpeg

 

attachicon.giffullsizeoutput_137f.jpeg

 

I obtained my sheet from DCC Supplies. 

 

It does take weathering powder quite well I've found if you need to adjust the colours or add weathering. 

 

attachicon.gif9Q3A1122.JPG

 

Tom. 

 

 

Excellent work especially considering it is in N Scale.

 

As an aside, I have just visited your YouTube channel from the link and I must say that your videos using the drone are quite superb, the also bring back happy memories of Corfe and Old Harry Rock, thank you.

 

Grahame

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