Update on weathered models…

Just a short post here concerning the models listed on The Weathering Depot page. I do have several cars listed now on the page for sale, with one more coming soon, a TILX tank car from Scale Trains, once I have finished it. I also have a pending possible offer on the hopper cars listed. If this offer falls through, I will also have these possibly available for sale, the hopper cars currently shown on the page.

Please remember several items with the cars I weather and sell. These are: I always change out couplers to better Kadee couplers unless the car already has these, unless the car has excellent metal wheel sets, I also change out the wheel sets to semi-scale wheels. I also apply brass ACI panels from BLMA if it matches the era, along with safety visibility stripes and other current day decals from Smokebox Graphics if applicable. Modern day cars I also apply graffiti when applicable. All these supplies cost me, so as in any other venture, I have to pass this cost along to make a profit. That being said, I do NOT sell my cars for an enormous amount as others do. I feel the price I ask is fair and reasonable that covers the price of the car, materials, labor, and a small profit.

More Weathering Part 2…

Another blog post continuing where I left off several days ago. Along with the weathering tips and tricks, there is also the consideration on brushes to use, other handy items to have on hand, plus decal tips if you’re also doing decal work.

What I didn’t mention in the previous post was first things first. When starting out on a model out of the box, I always disassemble the car, then wash everything in warm soapy water, and let dry thoroughly. This is to remove any residue from the molding/manufacturing process. I always use latex gloves as well when handling all phases of the weathering, washing, sealing, and decal work. Get the powder free gloves however! An older car that already has paint and/or weathering on it is a different story. I simply with those just handle with the latex gloves, then airbrush any debris, loose paint, and/or dust off the model.

Brushes are another matter. I have obtained most of mine from a craft/art store. In fact, I believe all of mine came from Michael’s, as they seem to have a larger selection of different size brushes. Get the camel hair brushes for oils and powders, as they are more stiff and I believe work better for this type work. You also want to grab a “fan” type brush for blending in everything. Otherwise I use different size sable brushes for painting and detail work. Don’t buy and use cheap brushes that will disintegrate with bristles coming off! Pay a little more and you won’t have problems. I always buy different shape and size brushes as well, as you’ll see in the photo below. Thin, tiny brushes for detail work, wider shorter brushes for other areas. Another item which I use occasionally are sponges, get the triangular shaped sponges. These work well with powders and pan pastels.

One more comment about brushes. I also keep on hand a full supply of micro brushes, from their superfine size up to regular size. These I use of course for extra close or fine detail, but also when applying gloss acrylic and decal solvents for decal work. As these are disposable, they work better for this type work.

Other pieces of equipment I use, or can use for all model work, is of course a self-healing cutting pad by X-acto. It’s indispensable for cutting decals out. A metal scale ruler also comes in handy for this work, as well as some type of magnifying glass or Optivisor for close work. Another piece of equipment that’s handy to use is a model holder, used when spray painting/airbrushing. All of this equipment is available at a well stocked hobby shop, Walther’s, and/or MicroMark. An X-acto knife is also necessary. Keep those blades sharp!

I also use for cleaning my airbrush a set of pointed cotton swabs, which come in a multi-pack from Tamiya. These really come in handy when cleaning. Striping tape and scotch tape are other items I use for painting, when masking off areas. All of these I have found at my local Hobby Lobby.

For decal work, I use two types of tweezers, one longer type with thin pointed tips, and another short pair with rounded ends. Both work well in different places on the model, different size decals, and different situations. Use warm water for those decals. I always cut out my decals with a sharp hobby knife and metal ruler, then test fit the decal onto the model. I do this to see how much of an area I need to cover with gloss acrylic. I use the clear gloss acrylic from Model Master. Use gloss, as decals will work the best on a glossy surface.

Coat the surface needed for each decal, then let dry. I always let the acrylic dry 24 hours. I then use warn water on the decal to soften, then apply a tiny bit of Model Master setting solution to the area, slide the decal onto the spot, then any excess water, I roll off with a q-tip. The q-tip will normally work out any bubbles in the decal. Let this dry thoroughly as well. I then go over the decal with Model Master decal solvent. This snuggles the decal down tightly onto the surface. I let this dry 24 hours, then come back and seal everything with the flat or matte varnish. Your goal is to have the decal film completely hidden, so the decals look like they’re painted on. If by chance there is a bubble, or decal film showing, I’ll go back before sealing, poke the area carefully with the tip of my hobby knife, reapply the decal solvent, let dry thoroughly again, then seal.

That about covers it! Hopefully I’ve provided some information and tips that will help in your weathering and modeling efforts. Again, below you’ll see most of the variety of brushes that I use, at least for powders, paints, and oils….



Next up….

Here is the project I just started on the workbench. I have about 9 of these Bowser 100 ton hoppers, lettered both for   PC, and PRR. I just started to apply a dirt brown to the sides and ends of three cars with my airbrush.

I’ll finish the sides and ends on all the cars, probably applying some road grime as well along the bottom sills, paint the undersides, then rust the interiors. I’m currently awaiting delivery on several new rust mediums I haven’t tried as yet.

When all is done, I’ll pick up some more removable coal loads. In the photos below you’ll see what the cars look like straight out of the box, and the three after a dirt overspray…

Notes on Weathering….

I thought I would post this to give a little bit of an insight on my weathering mediums, and perhaps a few tips. Also how I got into weathering to begin with.

I guess it helps to be a railfan for decades, observing what the prototype looks like, and from working on the prototype and seeing cars and locomotives up close. It also helps to take slides or photos of the prototype to use as reference. There are also great websites for prototype photos of both rolling stock and locomotives such as http://www.rrpicturearchives.net, which is a resource I tend to use. Whatever the source, it’s good to have a reference photo on hand of the car you’re replicating, or a similar car.

As far as weathering mediums, I tend to concentrate on only a few now. I’ve tried quite a few mediums, including watercolor pencils, but never got good results in earlier weathering projects. They may work for others, but not for me. I used to use chalks long ago as well, until I found Bragdon powders, which I still use occasionally. They have, along with powders by AIM, have a self-adhesive quality. The more you rub these on, the more they stick. I really only use these powders now on couplers for a rusted effect, and this sometimes on top of a rust colored wash.

I discovered the medium of pan pastels right when they first came out, tried them, and love them. They have a quality all their own. They go on easy, cover well, and are easy to work with. Just be careful with their use, as they are so fine, they’ll go everywhere, so have some newspaper down under your project!

The two mediums I mainly use the majority of the time now are acrylic paints, and water based oils. Why water based? Being water based, they’re more forgiving if you do make a boo-boo. They’re also easy to work with as well. You do however have to dull coat each layer of weathering you apply. Another advantage of acrylics? They’re inexpensive, plus they, along with oils, are available at any craft store. One other advantage is the wide range of colors.

For sealing everything, I used to use dullcoat liquid by Testors.  This product though you really have to use carefully, as imo, too heavy a coat can ruin a model. Dullcoat in a rattle can is really not the way to go. The medium I love to use now instead is matte varnish by Vallejo. This product is a milky, thicker product that thinned with water goes on very smooth and even.

Btw, all of my weathering is done with an airbrush, or at least the base coats. I then apply as many coats and mediums as needed to get the desired look. I started out only using powders applied with sponges and brushes, but nothing beats having an airbrush. Best investment I ever made. However, shop around for the equipment you need. I first purchased a full set including a spray booth, airbrush, and compressor at a discounted price. The airbrush and compressor both however turned out to be inadequate for the job. I pretty much immediately had to purchase a better quality airbrush and larger compressor to get the job done. Another important piece of equipment to invest in is a commercial grade respirator. Whatever paints and sealants you use, be sure to protect those lungs!

Finally, I use two more mediums which for now I’ll keep a secret. Last but not least, accurate, prototypical weathering takes time, an eye for detail, and patience. I’m not a believer in weathering in a day….


Project update….

Well, I’ve managed a little bit of work on two recent projects that have been on the workbench for about three weeks. The first car again is an Intermountain HO scale covered hopper, lettered for Burlington, but being patched and renumbered/ relettered for BN.  Almost finished with this one, except for decal work on the car ends, trucks, wheels, and couplers. Photos here:

Next project again is this Exactrail covered hopper, which has different variations of rust going on the car sides, and a bit on the car ends as shown in the photos below. This car is done except for touching up the wheels and rusting the couplers.


Next project up on the workbench is two of the “yellowball “ PRR coal hoppers, one of which can be seen in the background in the photos above. Stay tuned!

Weathering models…

I’m posting this here instead of the weathering depot page to show what I believe is my best work to date. This car is an Intermountain HO scale  covered hopper. Originally the car looked like this out of the box:


I then added weathering in one of my early attempts at weathering, and not a very satisfactory job in my eyes. When finished, the car looked like this:



Again, I wasn’t at all satisfied with this car, so decided to re-work the weathering. I found a prototype photo of one of these cars that was now owned by Anderson’s (AEX reporting marks), so there was my starting point.

I first mixed a gray-pink color acrylic paint to repaint the sides and ends. I left the roof weathered as is, and of course the bottom for the time being. In spraying with an airbrush, I allowed a tiny bit of overspray on the hopper outlets. I lightly sprayed the ends of the car, as they already had rust spots and splashes of dirt on them I didn’t want to cover up. So the ends at this point looked so:


As you can see above, I already have patched over the old number and reporting marks. In patching the sides, again I referred to the prototype photo, where this was patched over kind of sloppily with a grey paint. Here’s how the car looked before and after:


Note I haven’t worked on the bottom as yet. That’s next. I first used a lighter color of brown to “streak” more or less the hopper outlets, leaving some pink overspray showing. I then went back with a darker brown and sprayed the bottom of the hopper outlets, the underside of the car, and the bottom part of the ends.

The trucks and wheels were already done, so I didn’t have to rework these, and set them aside. Btw, in between weathering coats, I sealed the car. Next up was applying oils to the top of the roof edges, and top of the car to simulate rust. After this dryed, I applied a rust texture to the top roof edge, and the ribs of the car, then went over this with a rust powder, then blended it all in. The results were so:


Next up after all this was dry, I applied a light gray powder over the car sides (except for the rusted areas), to lighten the car further, and blend it all in. The next step was to apply all the decals, including the graffiti, which is a set from Microscale. After using the setting solution and decal solvent and allowing to dry, I applied the safety stripes from Smokebox Graphics. The last part of the car I did was the reporting marks and numbers on the car ends, which is quite a tedious job cutting these out and placing them. I’d have to say this is the hardest part of any decal work.

in conclusion, I’m now finished with this well detailed car, and am quite happy and satisfied with the results. Here is both sides and both ends of this guy:

One final set of photos of this car. In these, if you zoom in, you can see the rust effects, the rust “bubbles”, plus the peeling paint in the other photo. Pleased with this one!