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25mm Bridge from TCS


Small Flat Log Bridge
Product #
120
Manufacturer
Suggested Retail Price
US$4.25 unpainted
US$8 painted


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Revision Log
9 March 2000converted to new format
4 November 1998page first published

7,140 hits since 20 Mar 2000
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
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The folks at Tactical Conflict Systems were kind enough to send us this sample of their resin bridges. It measures about 6.5" in length, 2.5" across, and 3/8" tall, and is made from a tan-colored resin. According to the manufacturer, it is suitable for anything from 15mm to 25mm scale. There was no signficant flash. The underside of the piece is flat - in other words, there is no hollow area beneath the bridge.

I started off by washing the bridge with a mild detergent to remove any residue left from the casting process, and let it dry. Then I spray painted the bottom with flat black paint (looks nicer than leaving it bare), then primed the top with flat white spray enamel. I then painted the bridge itself with Apple Barrel color Burnt Umber, a watery dark brown which is one of my favorite paints for wood. This paint is dense enough to cover well, but watery enough to settle into the cracks and give them a denser color - so it automatically puts a lot of shading into the "wood" areas, and makes your work look good without a lot of effort on your part.

I also painted the dirt areas with a Sand color, and used black on the road ruts and the area beneath the bridge. I put a few drops of black ink into the "holes" in the wood on the top of the bridge.

basic colors on the bridge

I then came back with a medium Brown, and painted over the dirt areas which I had previously painted Sand. I also dry-brushed the same brown over the roat ruts, to make the raised areas brown while leaving the recesses dark. (I'm not thrilled with how the ruts turned out, and if I had to do it again would not use Black as the base color - I'd try a medium or dark Brown instead.)

more work on the dirt areas

It was about this time that my brain finally kicked in, and reminded me that I'd be using this bridge most often on a tabletop that was mostly green flocked. The areas I'd painted "dirt" wouldn't match very well with the green grass look everywhere else. My options were to paint grass colors, but I found it simpler to just apply green flocking.

When people speak of "flocking," they sometimes refer to two different kinds of products. One type of flocking is sand, and is sold in some railroad hobby stores. My impression is that this is the prevalent flocking material used by British hobbyists. In the United States, the primary flocking material is ground foam. This is sold in most railroad and plastic model hobby stories, and comes in a variety of colors and sizes (granularities).

In this case, I chose to use the "ground foam" type flocking. This can be attached to a piece by using glues, but I find it more convenient generally to use paint as the glue (and thus save a step). So I repainted the "dirt" areas with a generous coat of a dark tan color (a color suitable to show through in case of gaps, or if the flocking later wears off), then dipped the piece into a bowl of flocking while the paint was still wet. I find the flocking adheres better if I gently press down on the flocking, to make sure it sits deep into the paint. Then I remove the piece from the bowl, lightly tapping the bottom to get rid of excess flocking. (Due to the size of the piece, and the need to have wet paint when doing the dipping, I actually flock the bridge one end at a time.)

When everything has had time to dry, I give the grass an inspection. Finding a few bare spots, I touch up with more paint, and a little bit more flocking.

The paint-and-flocking technique holds the flocking on well enough, but for real durability, something more is needed. I find that clear paint works well, since the flocking acts like a sponge to soak it up, and the paint (when dry) forms a very strong bond with the surface of the model. In the case of this model, I want to give the whole bridge a protective coat anyway, so I spray the model with a flat clear coat (Testor's Dullcote), taking care to give a generous coat to the grass areas.

final bridge, showing road ruts bridge with grass

As a last step, I brush on a clear gloss coat on the black area beneath the bridge. What I'm trying to do is give the effect of there being space under here, and the gloss seems to do that for me. (Another option would be to paint this area to match the color of water.) Note that what looks like a sharp black shadow in these photos, is actually the area I've painted black - the bridge piece is perfectly flat, and has no arch built into it.

close-up of underside of bridge

All in all, this was a very easy project. The finished bridge looks great on the tabletop, although it looks best if you use flat waterways (with raised banks, the faked hollow under the bridge becomes more noticeable).