Just like red barns or wood-framed houses, concrete silos are a classic staple of the American landscape. Concrete silos can be seen over great distances from great plains to the industrial northeast, Atlantic to Pacific. Used for storing diverse materials ranging from concrete to grain, these industrial pillars can often be found alongside railroads, making them an important feature on many North American layouts. Follow this article to know how to give your plastic silo kits a realistic textured concrete appearance:

The first step is to assemble your kit.

This has to be done before any detailing or weathering. This kit can be found in both HO and N scale. Plus, the following steps can be applied to either scale.

The kit comes pre-molded in a selection of appropriate color tones.

Once you have your preferred color tone mixed, it’s time to start applying it to the model.

While painting, make sure to use broad strokes from side to side where possible.

This will help the overall appearance of the weathering job. As it will create a similar linear texture to the cast concrete seen on the prototypes.

Once your base coat has dried, you will need to go over with a second layer. Make sure to again use broad, side to side strokes.

Once the silos have been fully painted, move over to the attached corrugated loading shed.

This can be enhanced with a thin layer of silver textured acrylic to give it a metallic shine.

This can usually be found at your local craft store. Once all paint has dried, it’s time to begin the weathering process. A range of PanPastel colors from their Rust/Earth, and Gray/Grime/Soot ranges are a common option. Before attempting the more noticeable detail, it’s a good idea to apply to areas where dirt would naturally collect. The deeper the area for dirt to collect, the heavier the powder should be applied. Once this is applied, use either a finger or a paper towel to spread the grime appropriately.

This is the step where your silo might start looking a little strange

Once all the nooks and crannies have been weathered to your liking. It’s time to move on to the main weathering process. Many prototype silos have accrued “rings” of various grades of grime. Plus weathering due to years of being exposed to the elements. You may start with several rings of rust/earth tones. These should be a little lighter, as the more noticeable colors on the prototype are generally darker and closer to gray tones. Go one silo at a time, however it’s important to maintain roughly the same lines across all silos for the correct appearance. After applying the rust/earth lines, come back with your gray/grime/soot tones. You can use a variety of these to create different textures as you work your way down the silos. These rings should be more pronounced than the rust/earth tones.

Now that all rings and lines have been applied to your liking, it’s time to blend them into the structure.

Using a combination of white and light gray, gently dry wash the silos with these tones, ideally with a broader brush, from top to bottom. This will not only help to blend your rings into the concrete texture but will also create a realistic top-to-bottom texture flow. Once this has been completed to your liking on each silo, the final step is to add some “streaks” down the side of the structure for added realism.

For the finishing touch

Some rust and dirt streaks can be added to the corrugated loading shed at your discretion. At this point, your newly weathered cement plant or silo will be ready to add to your layout!

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