by Scott Jay
I wish this was an original idea, but it's not. I first saw this type of fence a few years ago on a friend's layout. I was shocked at the simplicity of it. What is it? It's nails, or brads, for an air nailer. The ones I am using are 18Ga. brad nails from 1.5" to 2.5" long. N-Scalers might want to try 22Ga. pins for your little fences. ;^)
This is what you'll need to make a quick board or metal fence on your layout - air nails (about .25" to .5" longer than the fence you want to make), paint (I used acrylic dark and light brownish colors), and coffee. I suppose the coffee's not necessary, but it is "Roll Up The Rim" time and I'm going to need the cover for a paint pallette, so...
If you do not use foam for your scenery base, this part could be tough. Start by marking a line where you want the fence to be. Next, use a knife to cut along the line about .25" - .5" deep. Make sure the knife stays vertical or your fence will not be plumb.
Once you've made all the cuts around the perimeter of the fenced area, you are ready to start installing the fence. Push the bottom (sharp) edge of the nail strip into the slit you've cut in the foam, and position it to the height you desire. Make sure it is the same height (level) on each end, since this strip will set the standard for the rest of the fence. Place the next nail strip in position beside the first. Make sure it sits snug and true beside the first strip. A drop or two of CA will help keep it in alignment. The glue you use to secure the scenery material later will secure the fence in place.
Continue in this fashion with the nail strips, until you come to the end of your fence. The nail strips can be trimmed for length very easily by breaking off some of the nails. I used a pair of pliers to make sure the strip broke exactly where I wanted it to.
So, you'll end up with a strip of nails that could represent a metal fence, with some weathering. I wanted a derelict looking wooden fence, so I chose to paint it with brownish colors. The photo on the left shows you what the painted and unpainted fence will look like.
I squirted a few drops of each color onto my trusty coffee cup cover palette. To get a blend of colors on the fence, I dipped one end of the brush in one color and the other end in the other color. Then I brushed the two colors onto the fence, in an upward stroke. I tried not to brush too many times, so that the colors didn't completely blend and become one color. I ended up with a streaky brown tone over the fence. In a few areas, the paint didn't quite cover 100%, so the metal color is showing through. It could be a rusty metal fence instead of wood.
The area I am putting this fence around is a hazardous chemical disposal company, in the days before EPA and Environment Canada. There won't be many living things inside the fence and you wouldn't want to ignore the "No Trespassing" signs posted everywhere.
Next time - Grass, Dead and Alive!
Scott (btw - my coffee cup wasn't a winner)