Progress on the Rock River bridge

I’ve started to paint the Rock River bridge components and base for the river. I painted the bridge decking and shoes a dark brown and will be applying rust via Pan Pastels. Below are some images of the progress.

Here is a closeup of the bridge shoes. I’m very happy with how the pastels recreate rust and dirt.
Here you can see the before-and-after between the brown base paint (on the right) and after applying pastel “rust” (on the left).
The abutments and pier will be scratch coated with spackle compound so that I can create chips and cracks. After the distressing, weathering will be applied to give them an aged concrete look. I’ll also be mapping out the river bed and start the painting process. I’ll be trying to achieve a brown/green look to the water in the foreground that will transition to reflective blue — just like one would see as they look off into the distance with the sky reflecting on the water. The blue transition will hopefully blend in well with the backdrop colors as well.
Another view of the same area.
I painted the bridge ties a medium gray. Once they are weathered they’ll look more realistic. You may notice that there are two different styles of bridge ties shown. The 4-spike ties were made by Micro Engineering and the 2-spike ties by Central Valley. I had them available to use, and even though they don’t match it will make for an interesting variation.

Categories: Planning, Scenery


  1. Hi Scott,
    I click-stumbled my way to your blog site from MRH. The lattice truss bridge pair you and your laser-friend are making is fantastic. So few modelers get it when it comes to scale modeling bridges. Even manufacturers mostly don’t. We can buy all kinds of equipment detailed to specific numbers and time periods, some RR specific stations and structures, great track and even detailed scenery items like corn. But bridges are an outlier. The laser work on the lattice trusses in HO is extremely impressive- you guys get it! These are a cool type of bridge that were not common and are from an earlier era, making for a signature scene on your layout. They were on my list of kits to offer someday, maybe because when I lived in Northampton MA I studied the ultimate lattice truss RR bridge, it crosses the CT River at 1500′ with nine spans.

    I will look forward to more photos as you complete this wonderful model!
    Thanks, John

    • Thanks, John!

      Actually, the lattice truss design was quite common and it surprises me that the bridge manufacturers haven’t embraced it. They are pretty much focused on the Warren truss design.

      Steel lattice truss designs were well-used in the late 1800s into the 20th century and many are still in place today – just like on my branch line. You’re right in that they are amazing structures and I’m excited to have two spans on my layout. They will be, without doubt, the signature scene on my small layout. 🙂

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