Weathering

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C

Carlos Perea

Guest
#1
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! :D
 

abcraghead

Mmmm, turbos
#2
There are a number of possible ways to weather. The main options use either paint or colored chalks. Paint can range from model paints to artist's acrylics to oil paints. The former can be applied either by brush or airbrush, the latter two by brush only. All three mediums make good results when done carefully.

Chalks are generally a special kind of weathering chalk made from chalk powder, dye, and a binder. They are usually applied with a soft paintbrush. These can be sealed with dullcoat, which also lightens the results somewhat, or left uncoated, which can make them prone to loosing effect over time from handling them.

Here are some pictures of a car I weathered, an old school PFE.
 
C

Carlos Perea

Guest
#3
:D Love the photos! Where exactly are the best places to purchase the materials, and how is it that you control how much you weather it? What I mean is that, when using say, a brush, do you use an entire can of paint or a few drops, or does it vary?
 
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abcraghead

Mmmm, turbos
#4
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. :p 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:

http://www.gelwood.railfan.net/

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.
 
C

Carlos Perea

Guest
#5
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. :p 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:

http://www.gelwood.railfan.net/

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.
Now my head is bulging with ideas on how to weather a car. Now I just need a car to weather.

Another question: How can you apply graffiti to a car, since the majority (sadly :( ) of train cars I've seen have graffiti on them. Do you buy decals or just get creative and vandalize your car however you feel like?
 

abcraghead

Mmmm, turbos
#6
I have yet to find a reliable way to duplicate grafitti. And since I am not a big fan of it, I haven't spent a lot of energy on it either. However, here are the primary ways of duplicating it:

  • Commercial Decals. Many decal manufacturers such as Microscale make generic decal sets meant to fit on the lower half of a railcar. These sets are fairly representitve of mural type grafitti. The downside is that they only produce so many designs, so once you've used them once they start to stick out if applied a second time.
  • Custom Decals. Some of the most convincing grafitti depictions I've seen involved taking photographs of real grafitti on a car, then loading it into an image editor on a computer and making a graphic the size needed out of it, and then printing it on decal film at home or on a special decal printing machine that can print white ink. The possibilities can be endless and each car can be different from the other.
  • Paint. This seems to be the least pursued option, but the reason may be simply that a lot of the mural type grafitti is quite sophisticatred, and duplicating it in HO scale with paint is beyond all but the most artistic of modelers.
  • Pens and inks. There are gel pens and paint pens and many other instruments of this type which can produce convincing linear grafitti.

The only grafitti I've played with so far has been either "chalk" grafiti or "linear" grafitti. "Chalk" grafitti is produced on the prototype using a stick of chalk, a paint pen, or a paint stick most often, almost always white. It takes the form of crude line art cartooning and is often the result of rails and or hobos. This sort of grafitti has been around for generations and is a real detail must in almost any era. (I'm attaching below a prototype example of this sort of grafitti, taken from the side of a chip car.) "Linear" grafitti is usually more crude and often obscene or indecipherable, and is usually made with a spray can. It usually involves names of people, obscenities, gang references, and suchlike. I'm not a fan of this stuff but I sometimes slip non-obscene examples of it onto cars. Both of these types could be done excellently with a paint pen or paint marker. So far I've used finely sharpened water soluble crayons, so that if I don't like what I've done I can just wipe it off and start over.

One last thing. Since you are wanting to start out, I'd advise also practicing on some old crummy cars you have broken or are going to dump. Some old Tyco made trainset cars are great for this. That way if you ruin it, you won't have lost much if any investment. Another note, this is a great way to go that extra step and dress up cheap Athearn blue box cars and make them real assets to the fleet, instead of just forlorn, dated looking cars.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
#7
Here's an example of hand-painted graffiti. I would recommend decals after doing this one. I don't remember how long I spent on it, but it was a few hours with a tiny brush.

 
C

Carlos Perea

Guest
#8
Thanks again for the replies and help! I really love what you've done with that car, RCH! :)
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
#10
Thank's guys, kind of like a short course on weathering and graffiti. After my locos are done I'll try a few of these.

__Willis___CB&CNSfan
 
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