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Grain Silo Transformation

June 12, 2008

THE ADM Grain Silo is a well designed kit for a very common prototype, a series slip-formed concrete silos with a towering concrete elevator structure and grain loading shelters made from steel. All together a very nice building. (Photo Below from the Gateway Division of the NMRA)

Plenty of great detail makes this a fun kit to buid and place on your layout, but that stark, plastic white has to go.


This is how the model was received from Modelzona, a competent kit-bashing service provided by a hobby shop in Arizona. The lettering was horrible to say the least, runny black, with other inky colors trying to make a fuzzy black lettering on the side of the building, yuck. The signage has to go. Plus Midwest elevators would be a little bit out of place for an elevator located in the Cascades. (The black is electrical tape I used to mask all the doors and windows.

Halfway through the weathering shows all the necessary steps toward improvement. The Silos have a slip-form seam every eight feet, those dark grey leaky streaks are from water buildup between the seams. Both elevator towers have seams separated by 10 feet and already have received their final coat of “mudstone” a great acrylic concrete color from Delta Cermacoat. 

The seam lines were done with a mechanical pencil and a strip of sturdy masking tape, to get a straight horizontal line that hugs the curves of the silos. I then cam in with a fine chisel-tipped brush and individually added each streak in a very fast, downward motion, controlling the length very carefully. A very easy process, just look at the improvement in th photos below over the stock model!


The Finished weathering on the silos reflects the sun, those dark grey streaks were toned down to a more realistic level. Rust has been added to the metal loading enclosure.


Another view of the Elevator shows the very dark grey, NEVER BLACK roof.

After the weathering was complete, the lettering and logo was added, and the CO-OP name was a personal town touch, Peyton, WA being the location of this Grain elevator.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to improve your elevators to make them more realistic. The lettering was run-of-the-mill dry transfers, and the large letters are vinyl letters from the hardware store, painted and weathered. the Logo was printed out from the computer on standard paper.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2010 3:17 am

    Really nicely done! If you liked that, you might appreciate what went into my own large grain elevator, viewable beginning here:

  2. Robert Nelson permalink
    July 31, 2010 3:53 pm

    Great ideas to use on the feed mill facility I am currently working on. Really appreciate mentioning the “mudstone” paint color. I’ll look for that at ACMoore or Michaels. Did you spray it on our brush/dab it on.

  3. rob noble permalink
    December 31, 2010 11:01 am

    I purchased a kitbashed n scale version of this model at a train show in november and have been looking for ideas on how to paint and improve it. This is perfect as this is how i want my model to look and also because i am modelling bnsf in washington thanks

  4. Jeffrey permalink
    January 30, 2016 7:48 pm

    How did you do the final weathering on the silos, after adding the grey streaks?

  5. January 31, 2016 12:20 pm

    How did you do the finish weathering, after adding the dark grey streaks?

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