How is it that you weather a model train car? I've seen fantastic photos of what the end result is like on this site, and was curious as to how it was actually done. All replies are welcome!
abcraghead said:For the car above, and most of the other cars I do it on, I use model paints bought from a hobby shop. I use the water soluble kind so I can do it at my desk between work (home office) without having to have a respirator around. Alternately I could use artist's acrylics bought from an art supply or craft store. If it's your first time out, I suggest the latter. Why? If you screw up, you can wash it off with water and a sponge, as the acrylic paint will, with vigor, rub off. (It stands up to handling just fine, it just won't stand up to mild detergent or water and a sponge.)
Why don't I use artist's acrylics? Cause the model paint is handy, permanent, and I have a bit of a daredevil streak. But be careful, I've screwed up a few cars by going to far.
As for how much to use? It's best to go light and build up in layers over time. Unless you are impatient like me anyway. I'd use model paint to paint the wheels and trucks a suitable grimy/rusty color you like, and then use whatever you like for the car body. Approach it logically. Rust and galvanization show up where things chip and ding into a real car a lot, like handrails and grabs and edges of doors and such. They also show up anywhere that water collects, like rooves, gutters, doorguides, and so on. Rust streaks flow from anywhere where rust exists in downward streaks. In fact, most weathering patterns will involve vertical lines. Dust and mud is usuallt kicked up on car ends above where the rails are, and also on car sides above the trucks. Rooves are usually dirtier or more weathered on reefers towards each end but cleaner in the middle, because reefers are usually spotted with their doors under rooves to protect the produce coming out. Boxcars and other car types are usually just dirty all over. So on and so forth.
Best advice? When in doubt, find a picture of a real car and try to copy what you see. Don't worry if you don't get it exactly right, you won't anyway, just use it as a guide. Even if it's not exactly the right car, just plain any boxcar shot is a better guide for weathering your boxcar than working without a photo at all. I go so far as to actually find photos of the nearest car type and car number and use that as a guide for what the car should look like.
The above PFE, for example, was weathered to resemble photos of a similar car number, in that orange scheme, as it existed in the late 1990s. I found the photos I needed at George Elwood's site:
You can search for roadname, then car number, and find photos to use there as a basis.
As for how much paint? I find model paint bottles usually last me a few dozen cars minimum, often much longer. I don't have a huge fleet -- fewer than 50 cars -- but I've only had to buy bottles maybe once a year.
You may also want to buy a chalk kit from a hobbyshop and try that. It's easy, too. Just remember to do your rust streaks, galzanized panels, grafitti, and other painted weathering *before* you do the chalk for dust and surface rust pitting.
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