After a couple more experiments with the water color, I ended up stripping the laminated form down and prepping it to receive a printed wrapper. The water color was not coming out badly, but I wanted more. That, and I wanted to continue to push the paper experiments.
After flirting with the idea of making a weathered red board texture, I ended up modifying a Clever Models texture that I purchased by over painting white boards with boxcar red. With that texture prepared, I loaded my AutoCad line work for the tapered tank wrapper into Photoshop and used the transform command to taper the siding texture, lining the printed boards up with the lines that the laser would etch. The taper is almost too subtle to photograph well, but I think it will be really noticeable in photographs.
The wrapper pattern is exactly half the tank. After I filled out the pattern, I cropped the printing to correspond to my registration marks (see the last "Video Extra" on laser registration). The wrapper was printed on acid free paper. The print was then laminated onto black 4-ply railroad board. From there, it was into the cutter. The board divisions and guides for the tank bands were etched, and the conical form was cut.
In the photo above you can see the way the etched lines on the wrapper reveal the black railroad board behind the paper. Discovering the black board was a red letter occasion. I also took the opportunity to cut the tank bands from black railroad board. These were sprayed with rust colored primer, in preparation for more detailed painting. They are held to the carrier card by a few uncut tabs that I will break after I finish detailing. This keeps them in order, since each has a particular place on the tank.
I'm excited to go back into the printing with acrylics. I am going to add some salt stains, and also darken the bottoms of the boards. I wish I had added a shadow below the roof while I was in Photoshop, but, I can also do that with the acrylics. I am going to hold the tank bands back until I get the painting done.
Tomorrow is back to work, so, progress will once again slow to pre-holiday levels. It's been a nice break, and it's been fun getting these models moved along.