(Click for a larger image)

This little project is to take a portion of an injection-molded brick wall in HO scale, window castings for that wall, a wall mounted dust cyclone casting from Walt Gillespie (Rusty Stumps), some 90-degree and 45-degree pipe fittings and a length of #224 Evergreen polystyrene tube. These were all provided by Stephen Milley of Rail Scale Models to display part of a new kit from Rail Scale Models.

Stephen – “The image shows the approximate location I had in mind for the cyclone casting on the wall. The 2nd story tube through the window (ie, drill a hole into the window) is the intake tubing (from the 2nd floor of the imaginary structure), through a 90-degree fitting, into the cyclone. The tube out the bottom is the heavy waste output tube – through a 45-degree fitting, through a short length of 224 tube, to a 90-degree fitting, and into the first floor window of the structure – into an imaginary collection box inside the building.


This is going to be a pretty simple project .. but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with it. We have the following to play with:

  • An injection molded brick wall in HO scale
  • Injection molded windows for said wall
  • Cyclone Dust Collector resin casting from Walt Gillespie of Rusty Stumps
  • Pipe fittings from Walt
  • Evergreen tubing

Below I am going to cover each of these in depth .. why? .. because it is fun .. which is the “why” we are all in the hobby

Notes on the wall

if this looks a bit random .. it is. Just using this space for some temporary notes for later use (or not) … and please .. any mason that turns up .. be nice and correct me without calling me an stupid – it may be true .. but that is beside the point and I will claim ignorance rather than stupidity. “Ignorance can appear in three different types: factual ignorance (absence of knowledge of some fact), object ignorance (unacquaintance with some object), and technical ignorance (absence of knowledge of how to do something)“. 1 .. I think I am guilty of at least two of the three .. In any case, looking at the HO wall from bottom to top:

  • Plinth Course (?) : “It is a projecting course of stones at the base of a wall.2 – I added the question mark at the end as the joints in the wall casting are anything but narrow
  • String Course : “A horizontal continuous projecting course of brick or stone that provides an aesthetic appearance to a structure. It is also called a band course.2
  • Sill : “The prime function of a sill is to channel water away from the building. The sill may consist of a single unit or multiple units; it may be built in place or prefabricated; and it may be constructed of various materials.3
  • Arch : “The masonry arch is one of the oldest structural elements. Brick masonry arches have been used for hundreds of years.4
  • Stretching Bond : “Course of bricks that are all laid as stretchers. It is also called a running bond. If used as a structural bond it needs the proper reinforcement.2
  • Masonry Wall Cap : “The primary function of caps and copings is to channel water away from the building. The cap or coping may be a single unit or multiple units. They may be of several different materials.” 5 – Not entirely sure that this part of the wall is a cap or not but it appears to be masonry so will all it that.

We therefore have brick and masonry to color. The brick can be all one color or contrasting colors


This is an industrial building with the Cyclone Dust Collector mounted to the wall. That will ‘generally’ dictate wall coloring to some extent – modern(ish) brick industrial buildings will generally be plainer than commercial buildings. I said “modern(ish)” as in the past this wasn’t always true. I’m going to provide some examples from around South Carolina that I took photos of .. “interesting structures”.


A while back I spent a couple hours wandering around the old South Carolina State Hospital in Columbia South Carolina snapping photos. The old asylum is abandoned and the age and weathering makes for great inspiration.

The brick is a light red – more of a terracotta. I realized that the photo was taken with the sun shining on the face so that modified the apparent color some but everything we do when modeling is an approximation of the real thing. The lighting in our layout room is so much dimmer than it is outside that we need to modify the colors we use so this may work fine.

I took a sampling across this face from six locations and averaged out the RGB in RapidTables – RGB Color Codes Chart 6 and ended up with this .. call it a “light pink” color.

In this photo the mortar has aged to the point that there is little more than a slightly darker hue than the bricks themselves.

I have some ‘spare’ HO brick that I can experiment on .. I think worth the effort as the normal ‘brick color’ often use is very “in your face” .. usually toned down with a wash of a light colored mortar color. In this case I am thinking to pre-toned down with a wash of a ‘pink-brown’ to darken the mortar joints. I will use acrylics for the brick and when dry use a wash with a solvent base so after that dries a Q-Tip damp with solvent can be stroked across the face of the brick to remove any tint on the surface and leaving the darker mortar.

Dark and Light

The problem with sampling the sun-lit wall is that this is not true color. We see this all the time when we look at a paint swatch outside and then again inside the house and it looks totally different. Color appears differently under the sun, incandescent, LED and Fluorescent all depending on the Color Temperature. Let’s go back to the building and sample bricks from the shadowed side.

The color in the shadow is strikingly different. This pretty much shows to me that an overcast day may well be the best time to photograph a building that you want to match color with.

A middle Ground

So .. if we consider the sun-lit wall and the shadowed wall as extremes .. then .. perhaps we can find a middle ground? What if we “mix” the colors and see what results.

The Sun-Lit wall has a RGB of #DEADA0 or R:222 G:173 B:160
The shadowed wall has a RGB of #52352F or R:82 G:53 B: 47
Combine and / 2 has a RGB of #987168 or R:152 G:113 B:104

We end up with a .. umm .. brick color. Does this have anything to do with reality? Got me. Was fun doing it but .. that’s a nice color!

Old Paint on Old Brick

Before we leave the Asylum let’s take time to look at this photo. The brick is red .. in fact .. “a bright Brick Red” where the paint has worn off the face of the brick. You have to look closely but there was a much older arched window that has been bricked up over the modern windows as was door. This is where the paint has come off of the brick face.

In the area below the window on the right is a much darker red brick where there isn’t paint the mortar is either missing or has darkened.

Around the left-side window more paint has worn off the older darker brick so it appears pink – again the mortar (or lack of) is very dark.

Replicating this would be interesting. I started to type ‘fun’ but thought better of it .. what is ‘fun’ to me is possibly an agony to others. My process would be to paint first with an acrylic and let that dry well. Solvent based washes would be used over that which when dry you can use a Q-Tip dampened in the solvent to remove the paint/wash/tint from the face of the brick while leaving the wash in the mortar. The acrylic is not affected by the solvent.

  • The unstained intact paint on the brick I would use an acrylic to cover the brick and mortar both
  • The pinkish brick around the left-hand window I would use a pink acrylic followed by a dark reddish solvent based wash and then the Q-Tip
  • The Dark Red brick .. I would paint with a dark red acrylic followed by a dark solvent wash and then excess tint removed from the brick face with a Q-Tip
  • The brighter bricked up windows and door I would use acrylic paint followed with a more opaque solvent based wash (color to match the intact paint) and then the Q-Tip

We can make our brick walls on our models much more interesting by simply re-creating something similar as this gives a ‘history’ to the building.

Prepping for Paint

When painting styrene I make sure to clean what I am painting well. There may be oils and other release agents left from the injection molding and oil from our hands. Luckily just yesterday bought a new toothbrush so I scrubbed the wall well with dish soap and warm water. When it had dried I looked to see what primer I had. I bemoan that Walmart cheapo 98¢ primer is not longer to be found – It may have sucked at say .. priming a car because it was so thin .. little filler .. but it was perfect for modeling. Oh well. Onway and upward .. or something.

Paint. In the end all the playing around with sampling photos and such had nothing to do with what I painted the wall with. I did what many of us do .. look what I had on hand. Krylon Colormaster Red Oxide Primer.

  1. Ignorance[]
  2. Top 10 Need to Know Brick Masonry Terms and more[][][]
  3. Technical Notes on Brick Construction[]
  4. Technical Notes on Brick Construction[]
  5. Technical Notes on Brick Construction[]
  6. RapidTables RGB Color Codes Chart[]

2 thoughts on “Milley Rail Inc.”

    1. Thanks. I picked up the enamel paint I am going to use for the mortar .. was catching up on things today and will be getting back to the build shortly. I also made good progress on the Dust Collector so that will be soon also.

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