Select Page

How To Model Roads – Part 3

How To Model Roads – Part 3

This article comes from fellow club member Tim who walks us through the process of modelling tarmac roads.

So today we continue with Part 3 of our How To Model Roads series. And to start with, let’s have a quick tip! In the previous instalment we got as far as painting up your foam-board for the road surface using a variety of spray paints. Now your foam board may well warp during painting, as we are using a strong glue and weights don’t worry it will come back into line as the glue dries.

We now have a very clean textured and basically coloured road glued into position. The reason we don’t weather until it’s on the layout or diorama is so we can be logical and accurate as to where details and colours go.

The detail and story of the road.

That might sound a bit OTT but having an idea of weather your road is old, new, country, town, why is it there, what does it lead from and too etc all affect the way we should tackle the next stages.

My road in the photos is a modern ish 1970s replacement of an old bridge that was narrow and demolished a little further down the layout, you will see this story in the next couple of pictures.

It also replaces an old bridge that ran down to the scrap yard, part of that road has been retained but now just as access to the car sales lot. You will see the old main sewer pipe that now hangs in mid air after the bridge was removed.

The road also serves as a modern feeder ring road connection to the flyover that will run above the station to right on the higher end.

It has a pedestrian foot bridge that links the old part of the road at the lower level to the middle layer road and up one side on the final quarter of the new road. That will need pavement on the one side and a low concrete strip on the other with steel railings along that side.

It will need manholes, inspection covers, street lights, road markings, street furniture and a weathered road pattern that reflects the usage.


Off to the top left is the scrap yard, also the skip hire company. Their yard tracks a lot of oily mud where the wagons leave, if turning left the markings will mainly be tight in as we drive on the left. Turning right requires tracking across the road, a turning wheel marks more than one going straight. You can see in the next couple of photos where I have started these marks with a powder. I have also painted the old road section to reflect its low traffic but poor maintenance status. There will be a wall of course at some point. Although the Dukes of hazard thought does keep nagging!

The next area is the middle T junction, general wear and tear, a bit shiny, some rubber, oil or rust water stains as vehicles stop at the Junction?

We then have the top T junction, this will wait until the connecting roads are in place.

Back down at the steep start we should think about skid marks? Corner wear? Some ground scrapes? Etc, also the turnings into the dairy and industrial units. The timber and building merchants with heavy wagons. All of these needthinking about. The road also meets a side street at the tunnel end and there is a  soft Tarmac access road to the flats. These were not heavily stoned due to cost so are much smoother, great for skate boarding I recall!

Some areas may have regular parked cars so wear will be less, a bit more gravel still around.

Roads get repaired and I use a worn Tarmac paint for this then line around the repair with a black paint pen to get that hot bitumen joint.

Again, think about the story, if there’s a manhole was it always there or did they dig a trench recently? All of the story telling helps the whole scene fit together. Just as an old building tells a story the scene will always be more absorbing if the virgin viewer can make sense of things without you explaining. That is at the heart of the realism we seek.

Here is a quick story board of the same process but done insitu and on changing surfaces. I decided this surface was older, more worn, more repaired patches and being the hollow would attract and retain a lot of road wash debris. It is a steep hill so rain will run down and trucks will Rev hard and struggle up it. What that means for our road is heavy weathering, scrapes and worn areas.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About The Author


Favourite Scale: OO / 1:76 Likes: Making small stuff on the laser cutter Dislikes: Counting rivets Other info: Starting to dabble with the world of 3D printing a bit to enhance the products we create on the laser. Layout: Whitwick Grove

Leave a reply

Become A VIP Today!