Southern Pacific Box Car Weathering

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Here's my second attempt at weathering a box car. I'm getting a little better at it. This is a Genesis box car to start. I painted the wheels and couplers RR Tie Brown. I also painted the trucks grimy black. The Southern Pacific herald was sanded very lightly with super-fine sand paper to remove part of the lettering. The roof was oversprayed with Grimy Black. The car was hand painted with a chalk and water mixture in a downward motion. Then I painted rust on the door and other areas with artist acrylic tube paint. The whole car was then oversprayed with Dullcote. The Dullcote removed some of the chalk, which was disappointing, so I repeated application of the chalk and Dullcote.



Registered Member
Staff member
Well Bill if it's an attempt I do believe you have succeeded indeed. Very nice.
A personal note though, and only my opinion mind you,and I'm certainly no expert, but with a car that worn, I think that the trucks, wheels and couplers should be a bit more rusty and grimy. Now all that is from someone who hasn't weathered his first piece of rolling stock yet. :D

Cheers Willis
Good call Willis. I plan on replacing the couplers with Kadee 58s any way. I'm not really very happy with the color of the trucks. What color would you suggest. Preferably a Polly Scale color.



Registered Member
Staff member
What color would you suggest.
Ha you got me on that one, I'd have to look at some photos or the real thing to answer that one. So far all I've been painting is Black with yellow trim. Oh yah, a concoction I mixed up to color the rails with craft paint. I tried some old Floquil rust color paint on the wheels of my locos, but it wouldn't stick to the plastic hoses, and is too bright for the loco wheels.

Cheers Willis


Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Bill, if you have an airbrush, pick up Testors Model Master in the following colors:

Burnt Umber
Raw Umber
Burnt Sienna
Raw Sienna

Or if you don't have an airbrush, pick up some artist's acrylic or oil tubes of those colors. Virtually any "weathering" color can be derived from these four. When I apply weathering from a tube (I use oils), I use a wide, soft watercolor chisel brush. It's very easy to blend with a dense soft brush like that, but it works best on flat surfaces. For complex areas like the underframe of a boxcar, I'll just shoot it with the airbrush.

I think the only thing that's not working with your weathering is that you're treating the wheels and couplers as different colored surfaces than the trucks, draft gear and underframe because you "know" they are different types of surfaces. That is, the couplers and wheels are left unpainted so they'll rust and the other surfaces simply collect dirt. It makes perfect sense that they should be painted differently, but it works best to paint them all one uniform grimy color first then add the rusty effect to the wheels and couplers later by drybrushing. Of course, this is probably best attempted on a car that's supposed to be several years old on your layout and would have collected layer after layer of road grime. The rules are different for a newer car.

Anyway, I think you've done a fine job of weathering. If you can overspray the underframe assembly from front to back with a "unifying" color, such as a burnt umber based road grime color, I think you'll be less distracted by that underframe and more impressed with what's on top of it. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to