Why Choose Laser Cut Wood?
We believe that wood provides a surface texture that represents brick and masonry much better than shiny plastics. It is easier to work with and more robust than cast plaster.
Fine details and reliefs can be “3D” laser etched into the surfaces to represent masonry, concrete or steel.
Paint penetrates the surface rather than building up on top, resulting in a realistic matte finish.
That controlled penetration allows for colour layering and a translucency that you see in real life.
It also provides a "tooth" for the use of pigments, chalks and pastels either as a primary colour or as weathering accent.
Wood is very easy to cut and shape with a variety of standard hand tools, and bonds together with many types of adhesives ... from simple wood glues to ACC "super" glues.
We use premium quality aircraft plywoods imported from Finland, and MDF hardboard direct from the mill in Quebec, Canada.
Please see our product photos for examples of detail and "colouration" possible with our ITLA Scale Models laser cut wood products.
There are many possible painting / weathering techniques which each modeller may have a preference for, we’ll explain the simplest one we know of here.
Our models represent the older, well used brick structures you see in many towns and cities. We envision that many of our structures were built in the 1920’s / 30’s and have had decades of weathering into the 1950’s.
Our wood product easily takes on colour using basic "rattle can" spray paints as shown on the sample we’ve provided (note that airbrushing solvent or water based paints works well too).
On the sample pictured below we lightly “dusted” the raw wood walls with an automotive Red Oxide Primer to represent a red brick wall.
Note: Light spray effectively colours the brickwork with a flat / matte finish and won't hide the fine details we've etched in for you.
Choose any other flat / matte base colour to represent various colours of brick (grey, buff, brown, etc.)...you can even use our wood colour to represent "yellow" brick.
Let’s begin with a sample wall section…
1) We mask off the etched brick surface and spray the “concrete” cornice, stone foundation and window sill / header with Krylon Camo “Khaki” where applicable.
We clear seal the wall parts with a Krylon matte sealer making it ready for adding translucent layers of hand-brushed water based acrylics, chalks or pigment powders for weathering.
It’s all about adding light, translucent layers of accent colour over each other…that’s the trick. Clear sealing between accent layers is recommended.
We use water based acrylic paints to add those layers, and we used three of the four colours pictured here on our red brick wall… the fourth (Slate Grey) was reserved for mortar.
A key tip would be to reference a colour photo of a prototype brick wall that appeals to you, study its colour and variation, then replicate it with acrylics, chalks, Pan Pastels, etc.
Google “weathered red brick wall” to get some images and ideas…
Since it’s all about adding light layers of accent colours, we first start with a light sanding of the painted brick surface, selecting random areas to remove surface paint and create tone variation.
Further sanding with fine grit paper around our etched “flaking brick” areas will help blend it into the surrounding “solid brick”
To further distress the brick surface you can pick off some random bricks with an Xacto knife if you wish.
Option – A light sanding of the window sill and header edges will remove that “just cast concrete” look. Additionally you can be bold and gouge those edges with an Xacto knife to represent chipped concrete.
Now we’ll begin adding layers of acrylic colours.
Adding Brick Colour Variation …
With a small tipped brush of acrylic, colour some individual bricks ... orange / umbers / greys.
Dip the brush in water then pick some paint, and apply to individual brick surfaces. (note: you might let this layer dry & clear seal it)
Don’t be alarmed at how spotty this might look at the moment, we’ll tone that down shortly.
Using the same colours, or even greys / browns, create a 50/50 wash and lightly apply it to wider areas of brick surface to create larger areas of colour variation.
Wet your brush with the wash and roll it on the wall surface, accent the areas you highlighted in the last step and tone down anything you feel is too spotty.
If after this step you feel some areas are coloured too heavily, use your sanding stick to lighten them up.
(note: you might let this dry & clear seal it at this stage)
2) Optionally, use Pan Pastels or weathering chalks to provide additional colour variation, including rain washed grime streaking below the header and window sill.
We would normally spray seal after this step.
3) Foundation, Window Sill / Header and Cornice areas come next –
(Refer to our previous comments regarding sanding and chipping the
edges of these “concrete” parts)
For a heavily weathered look use dark Grey acrylic washes, Pan Pastels or chalks / powders to create colour variation.
Alternatively you could even use lighter colours to brighten those stone surface areas for accent.
(again, we would normally spray seal after this step)
4) At this point you may choose to apply a mortar wash to the brick surface.
Note the surface should have been adequately clear sealed & dry at this point.
Use a commercial product such as Robert’s Mortar Mix, DAP Fast ‘N’ Final (drywall repair), or prepare your own with acrylic washes, or even dry plaster.
Have a moist paper towel ready to wipe the mortar off the brick surface.
We chose to apply mortar only to small areas of the wall rather than the entire brick surface…the choice is yours.
5) Now you can install our laser cut window frames. Push out the window “blank” in the wall section. Lay the wall flat on your work surface face up. Press the window into the wall opening, flush with rear wall surface.
Press the headers and sills in place on top of the window frame (a bit of white glue would lock these in place with the frame.
Weather as you choose, glaze from behind.
You have now completed the basic weathering of an ITLA laser etched wood brick wall.
See our website as there are many reference photos there and “How To” tips describing this process.
We hope you enjoyed this clinic and will try this technique on some of our product.
Any Questions? Please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org