Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sidewalks for my 28mm Cityscape

The Shell station and a factory atop their newly-created concrete sidewalk slabs - I was very happy with the look!
I've been really busy the last couple weeks creating sidewalks for my 28mm urban terrain. Although I like the look of the black wool felt I am using as asphalt for the streets, I was unhappy with how the equivalent gray felt looked as sidewalks. It was too flat and two-dimensional looking. I went through a few ideas in my head before I settled on creating them out of MDF board flocked with gray ballast.
Another view of my sidewalks using Fine Blended Gray Ballast from Woodland Scenics
I had a lot of assistance from Jenny on this project. Not only did she cut my MDF board with her power tools, she also helped me put felt on the bottom of all my buildings and the sidewalk pieces. I figured this might be needed to keep the buildings from sliding on the flocked surface. The basic idea was to cut a piece of MDF for each building I've made. The dimensions would be 3" larger in both directions than the building itself, giving about 1.5" of sidewalk all the way around.
The Eastmoor Kings gather on the concrete sidewalk corner and in the black wool felt streets
I would then flock the MDF piece with Woodland Scenics Fine Blended Gray Ballast. Sidewalk concrete can be anything from gray to tan, I've found. I liked the look of the blended gray, and I especially liked how it gave it a much more three dimensional look. I began by painting white glue onto the edges of a piece, then pressing it into a 13" square, plastic container filled with the ballast. I found doing the edges first prevented a ridge from forming up on the edges. I then painted white glue on to the top surface of the MDF board. Once covered, I shook the ballast onto the piece, being sure to thoroughly cover its surface.
Their foes, the Hilltop Highlanders, gather on the sidewalk in front of the Shell station
After about a half hour, I tilted the board over the plastic container and dumped off the excess ballast. I then set it out on a flat surface to dry completely. Once dry, I sprayed it with Krylon Matte Clear to seal it in. After that, I gave it about an hour to dry, then I elevated it off of the flat surface. I squirted on a 50/50 mixture of white glue and water. Using a wide brush, I spread it out so it covered the entire surface, including the edges. I made every effort not to over-soak the MDF board, knowing that warping was bound to occur.
After the 50/50 mixture caused some warping, this arrangement would flatten the concrete slab back down nicely
After about an hour, I took it off the elevated surface and laid it out flat on a surface, letting it dry for about four hours. Warping had occurred (as I expected). However, I took four large craft paint bottles and placed them in the center of the board, setting a heavy weight atop them. This forced the center of the board back down. I usually let this sit overnight. When I woke up in the morning, the concrete slab was flat. I sprayed it with Matte Krylon again, and then finally glued gray felt to the bottom surface of the slab so that it could stack on top of others without acting as sandpaper and rubbing it too much.

Only once did I set the plastic bottles atop the flocked MDF board too soon, leaving an impression. I fixed this by simply reflocking those impressions lightly. It covered up the round, flattened dents well. I'm really happy with how these concrete slabs worked out, and will be making more of these as I create more buildings.

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