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Discussion Starter #1
Conventional wisdom?
A look from above.
Subtle and blah is better.


Almost every modeler who models an asphalt road for the first time, makes it black... and then puts white center-lines on it. The result is usually close to a department store train-set display.

The fact is, that asphalt is black only for about a week after it's rolled. Then it gets grayer and grayer, until it no longer resembles black at all.

If you choose to model an asphalt surface, it'll look much more realistic if you color it gray. Be advised that several shades of gray are suitable, as asphalt doesn't age the same in different areas, or under different circumstances.
Then too, center lines only remain white or yellow for a very short period of time. They eventually turn gray or beige or cream.
And don't forget the subtle 'oil stripe' blended into the center of each lane.

Also, keep in mind that concrete is more common than you might think, for roads, streets, and parking lots... especially in urban areas, including city streets, restaurant or gas station lots, etc.
But contrary to popular modeling practice, aged concrete is not gray. It's actually closer to tan.

If you ever have an opportunity to ride in a helicopter, you will notice all this... from almost any altitude. There are no stark contrasty colors. Foliage, roads, streets, lots, and rooftops are mostly all presented to the human eye as subtle shades of pale.
 

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Good tips LS. I made my asphalt roads, alleys, lots, etc. in shades of grey and they look great to my eye. As for roofs, they get several dustings of grey and tan chalks.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Years ago, Floquil had a very good Aged Concrete paint. Testors now has it, under the ModelMaster label.
It's not perfect, but it's one of the best starting points out there. Notice that it's closer to tan than gray.

This is Testors ModelMaster Aged Concrete, #TES4875.

tes4875.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This unfinished diorama illustrates what aged asphalt actually looks like from above.
The road edges haven't been done yet, but you get the idea.

s-l400 (19).jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Monster ModelWorks makes laser cut cracked concrete sections for streets, roads, and lots. Very realistic!
They can be 'washed' with blacks or browns, then drybrushed with grays and/or tans, to make them pop.

monstermodelworks-concrete-00~3.jpg
monstermodelworks-concrete-04~2.jpg
 

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I think I'm going to take some grey-ish charcoals and brush down my black asphalt. It's not black black, but they are pretty dark. I don't want them to look like they were just paved.

Thanks for the tip.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
FWIW, much asphalt is patched, and some is cracked and 'leaking'.
You can simulate patching with masked squares and/or rectangles of darker grays or even lightened blacks. Even some entire sections can be 'repaved'.
Oozing 'wetness' can be simulated by drybrush-'poking' with a Flat or Bright brush, first with a darker color, and then with a clear gloss, or water-sim medium.
Note that truck traffic is liable to cause asphalt to deteriorate the quickest, e.g., access roads and driveways.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Whether concrete or asphalt, city streets, lots, driveways, parking lanes and gas station pump-bays should have very pronounced 'oil stripes' blended-in. Dripping oil, grease, PCV venting, and hot engine temps cause it over time.
Drybrushing is the best technique for this. With a little practice, you can do a great job.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Vallejo ModelAir Light Gray is a good starting point for asphalt.
#71.050 Light Gray acrylic.
Add a few drops of black or white to darken or lighten it, and light browns or beiges to 'dirty' it.

val71050~2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you're really good at airbrushing, you might try blending-in 'grease stripes' that way.
They fade to zero at the edges.
 

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Just on comment about the grease stripes... not all roads have those. I was just out on the motorcycle this morning and noticing that most of the roads I ride on have darker stripes from car tires, but the center of the lanes are nearly pristine. I would assume it has to do with the different types and amount of traffic on each road, but I think city streets have a lot more oil streaks than country roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
... have darker stripes from car tires, but the center of the lanes are nearly pristine.
I've noticed basically the same thing.
I'm wondering if it has anything to do with 'modern' tire compounds vs pollution laws that regulate bottom emissions.
Even garage floors seem to be cleaner these days.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Detail tip:
Wet areas on asphalt roads will have tire-trails leading away in the lane direction.
This is best done by drybrushing a clear gloss acrylic over a slightly darker gray. Fade to zero.
Don't overdo this!
 

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You know, I don't think I've ever seen a layout which is modeled just after a rain storm. That would be pretty interesting with kids playing in puddles and the streets still semi-wet.
 
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