CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Painting telephone poles

While working on some scenery I had the reason to dig through my scrap box of collected bits and pieces and I came across a dozen plastic telephone pole castings. I don't recall where I got them from but I think they were a gift from a friend. They might be Bachmann. I had cut off the huge molded base and so now I was just left with the poles themselves. That's fine, as I wouldn't use the base anyway. It is much better to drill holes in the scenery and plant them. I started off by modifying them a bit, cutting off random insulators, a crossmember here or there, and randomly "breaking" some by bending them down. On the D&H, by 1984 they weren't really used and instead were just falling down. No attempt was made to make them look perfect.

I was inspired while reading Mike McNamara's "Northeast Kingdom" and his technique for painting telephone poles. His webpage is here. I really liked his method of painting the insulators with silver paint first, and then overcoating them with Tamiya clear green paint. That way, they give the appearance of actual glass instead of a lump of green plastic. He also painted the metal angle supports silver, which helped them stand out. Following his lead lead, I drilled a bunch of holes in a spare piece of wood and stuck the poles in. They were given random sprays of brown, black, gray, and again brown paint to look like wood. I didn't scribe the masts with a razor saw to give them wood grain as these will be in the background. Then, I painted the insulators and diagonal braces silver. 

Finally, the green went on the insulators. That green paint was really thick, but the effect is neat. I wish I could think of more projects to use it on. Likely the bottle will dry out before some idea comes into my head! I finished them off with by lightly drybrushing rust colored paint onto the metal braces. Anyway, it was a fun project to work into the day and they will get planted here and there on my layout as it progresses.

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