The evolution of a weathered car….

In this blog post I’ll discuss the weathering of a Walther’s Mainline HO scale boxcar. This is pretty much the process I have used to weather all my “rustbucket” type cars. First and foremost it’s helpful to have a prototype photo of the particular car or a similar numbered car that you wish to weather. In this case, I’ll be discussing how I weathered this particular car:


This car looked like this out of the box:

It helps in this type of weathering to have a good airbrush, one you can adjust the flow with. I personally use a Paasche Talon airbrush, with my compressor set between 35 and 40 psi. Next is to have a good set of paints. I’ve found Model Air paint by Vallejo to be the best. They’re relatively inexpensive, they go on smoothly, and cover well.

For this project, I decided to turn the GB&W car into a close resemblance of this prototype car:

To start on this project, I had to come up with a way to fade the blue paint. What I used was Vallejo pale blue paint mixed with white. The car started out as such with a first light coat of the blue/white mix:

I then masked off the larger patched areas:

In the second photo you’ll notice the variation in the blue. I didn’t get the first fade light enough, so I went back over the entire car as these areas were taped off. I have to add here that between each step I sealed the finish. Also notice the patched areas are now too bright a color as well, after being done with flesh color and white. This was solved by going over these larger areas with a short, stiff brush loaded up with white pan pastels, and the result turned out so:

I then turned to masking off the smaller patched areas which were done with grimy black:

I should back up a bit here. Before going too far into the sides and ends of the car, I painted the undersides with a dark brown/ grimy black mixture, then sealed it:

I also went ahead then and turned my attention to the roof. The roof on this car was done with a product from Vallejo called “rust texture”, a tip and product I picked up from several military modelers. This product when dry looks and feels just like rust. While wet the roof was enhanced by adding several different colors of rust powders as show below:

In the meantime the trucks were painted with roof brown, while the wheels were painted with a roof brown and just a touch of rust plus black. Next came the most fun part, but by far the most tedious part of the project: adding the rest of the grime and numerous rust spots. Have the prototype photo up as you replicate this. All the rust areas on the sides and ends were done with the same rust texture using a very fine tipped brush plus the tips of toothpicks. Photos below of this work:

In the bottom right photo you’ll notice a layer of grime along the bottom of the car. This was done with a watered down wash using the same rust texture product. Btw, this product is an acrylic, so it’s very easy to work with. I almost forgot the couplers, which were switched out with Kadee whisker couplers which were also rusted with this texture. Last but not least were the decals.

The areas to be decaled were sprayed with Vallejo gloss medium and allowed to dry overnight. Decals from Microscale were then used on the car. After the decals were allowed to dry another 24 hours, the car was sealed one more time with a flat coat, trucks and wheels were put back on the car, then one final step. Once the car is put back on its trucks and wheels, I always take a small pointed swab and clean the tread with alcohol to remove any paint residue. The car was then ready for revenue service. Photos below of the decal work:




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