The Weathering Depot

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, 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. Also, I usually take two to three weeks to complete a car, as I tend to take extra care between mediums and layers, usually sealing each layer. I do the tiniest of detail work to insure a prototypical looking car. Below you’ll find the current cars available for sale direct. I ship for now to the continental US only.

AGAIN: these cars, with great exception of the Reading car, have basic weathering applied. These can be weathered further to the buyer’s desire.

ExactRail SBV 50’ boxcar

This is an ExactRail 50 ft. Boxcar lettered for the South Branch Valley. The car has some weathering applied, to the car ends, a bit of grime along the bottom, and the underside has been painted/weathered. The car can be weathered further at buyer’s request for additional charge.


50’ Reading boxcar

This car is an Athearn car. Wheels and couplers changed out with better wheels and Kadee couplers. This car has had additional weathering on the underside, trucks, roof with oils, and a light coat of dust/dirt on the sides. Car can have additional weathering applied if desired.


More cars will be posted soon. These will also be boxcars, including at least 1 Burlington Northern and at least 1 or 2 Union Pacific cars. Stay tuned…..

Burlington Northern waffle side 50’ boxcar

This car has a bit more extreme weathering, along with usual wheels and couplers swapped out. Graffiti also added


Burlington Northern 50’ boxcar

This car has only light weathering applied, plus underside, wheels and trucks


Union Pacific double door 50’ boxcar

As well as the usual wheels and couplers, this car has light weathering plus underbody painted


RailBox (SBD) 50’ boxcar

This car has had a bit more weathering done, patched, underbody painted, wheels and couplers swapped out plus painted


B&O three bay coal hopper

This car besides the usual wheels and couplers has had quite a bit of weathering, plus as on the other cars, ACI panels added, plus patched areas where car has been repaired….


ScaleTrains 31K TILX tank car

This car has been faded and weathered. Trucks and wheels painted with bearing caps painted blue. SmokeBox Graphics visibility stripes added


ScaleTrains 31K TILX tank car

This car has been faded and patched. Wheels and trucks painted, with bearing caps painted blue. SmokeBox Graphics visibility stripes added


Accurail (Accuready) 89’ UP Bi-level open autorack

This car is well detailed, non-weathered, straight out of the box. Never ran. This was purchased to run originally on a large club layout. As always, buyer pays shipping to continental US only….


Centerbeam lumber flat with custom load

Trailer Train centerbeam flat, weathered, with custom lumber load



Walther’s MILW HO scale H12-44

This is an older Walther’s locomotive, made by Roco in Austria. The model as you can see is in MILW orange and black, and is currently DC. A DCC decoder can be installed in this unit per several installers I have spoken to. These models are excellent pullers from reviews and older forum posts I have read, as this unit is quite heavy. Price is 75.00 plus shipping


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. 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.

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.

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.

Below are more photos of the rest of the weathering process:

Gallery of Weathered Cars


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