Piedmont Division Blog

Dream big, start small and plan for the future


Weathering Rolling Stock, Part II

September 8th, 2009 · No Comments

A second attempt...

KCS Weathered Image

It's been quite awhile since anything has been posted in the PD blog so with the second attempt at weathering rolling stock this past week it's high time we get back on track with adding some content. The first real attempt at weathering rolling stock was with the KCS centerflow covered hopper back in February of this year as seen in the image on the left. Loosely based and similar to steps written by Rich Divizio about his techniques weathering an Athearn Genesis Cargill 3 Bay Hopper from the MTW site this became a lesson in light paint washes, dry painting acrylics and enamels, weathering powders and Dullcoat. (NOTE: Click on images for a larger view.)

Taking clues from another technique...

Sou FGE #798070 Before Weathering Image

The brightly colored and shiny new yellow Athearn FGE box car is due for some weathering. The 1971 era build of this rolling stock should have seen some miles and wear by the middle of the 1980's. Therefore, taking some tips and tricks from Robby on the Model Railroader forum here are the steps taken with the Athearn Southern Fruit Growers Express refrigerated, 50' Youngstown Plug Door Box Car (Fruit Growers Express-Southern #798070). And this piece of HO scale Athearn rolling stock features include:

Authentically scaled from railroad blueprints. Weighted and ready to roll. 4-axle freight car with detailed trucks and metal wheel sets. Frame mounted E-Z Mate knuckle couplers. Realistically detailed brakewheel and chain. Molded underframe with detailed brake system. Accurately detailed Youngstown plug doors. Separately applied ladders. Molded-in stirrup steps and rivets. Prototypically molded plastic body shell accurately painted yellow & brown (silver roof) with black print: Fruit Growers Express, For Greatest Efficiency, Insulated Cushioned.

The steps...

  1. Ensure that the model is clean and free of any lint or dust. A quick and light wipe down with a lint free cloth followed by a light air spray was completed on all exterior surfaces of the model.
  2. Whitewash ImageA small batch of thinned (1:6) Poly Scale Refer White paint was made and then lightly brushed on all sides and the roof of the model, then the outside surfaces of the trucks and wheel sets as well. At first the paint was too thin so three successive coats of ever thicker paint wash was applied with a brush. Each coat a little bit thicker than the previous one were made by adding more full strength refer white to the thinned batch up to a final 1:2 ratio. The coats were allowed to dry between successive applications. It was determined that the brushed on thinned refer white was not going to work, it was just too light a coating. So a batch of 1:4 thinned refer white was applied with the Badger air brush. The air brushed coat turned out to be the correct application for the light wash needed to tone down the brilliant yellow paint on the production model. This first step of light whitewash was applied to six pieces of rolling stock in a batch process as seen in the image above. When the wash was dry a light application of Dullcoat sealed this layer. The next steps involve only the Sou FGE #798070.
  3. Powders Added ImageUsing a 3/0 fine paint brush the Bragdon weathering powders were applied in light applications starting with the darker burnt soot (black) color first. Lines were added from the top edge of the sides and down a little less than ½ of the way. Then a light coat of the burnt soot was applied on the bottom edges of all sides. This was followed-up with a light buff using a small foam paint brush, thus muting the colors and blending them into the model material. Once the darker color was added then the light rust color was applied with the same 3/0 fine paint brush. The light rust powder color was also applied to the doors in a similar fashion with the paint brush and followed-up with the foam brush to spread, mute, and blend in the colors of the powders. Once all the powders were completed the entire exterior of the model was given a light Dullcoat and allowed to dry.
  4. Thinned acrylics addedAcrylic paints were added next with the same 3/0 brush and two colors were used in various levels of wash, burnt sienna and burnt umber. The burnt sienna has a light rust-like hue and was added in light applications to the bottoms of the sides and ends of the model, in addition, it was also applied to the wheelsets, trucks and underframe in a varied haphazard approach. A small amount of light rust weathering powder was added to the thinned burnt sienna acrylic paints in a 2:4:1, in other words, two parts acrylic paint, four parts water, one part light rust powder. This ratio was also used with the burnt umber with water and dark brown weathering powder. However, most of the burnt umber was applied to the ends, underframe and wheelsets only. Some of the rusting colors were also applied in spots on the sides and along most ladders to resemble excessive wear and weathering for particular locations.
  5. The roof and underframe mostly consisted of various applications of the two acrylic washes in a random and haphazard fashion. Where most of the burnt umber dark brown wash was applied on the underframe areas adjacent to the wheelsets and among other areas in no particular order. Another final application of Dullcoat protects the last steps on all exterior sides of the model. Photos of the final model can be seen below. (NOTE: Click on images for a larger view.)
Overall side view
Left side view close up
Underframe view
End view from left side
Right side view close up
Helicopter view of roof
Another helicopter view of roof
End view from right side
Other side view

A few learning points on this, the second real attempt at weathering rolling stock on the Piedmont Division:

  • Apply the initial thin paint fading wash with the air brush. Lighter colored washes for darker color models, and darker washes for lighter models.
  • Light applications of sprayed on Dullcoat after each major stage of the weathering process preserves that layer for each successive layer thereafter, in addition to the final layer.
  • Start with the sides and ends first, then go to the roof, wheelsets and trucks, finishing with the underframe.
  • Apply thinned acrylic paints to specific parts with the miniature brush, then swab that area lightly with the small foam brush to fade and blend into the previous layers and model material.
  • Mix in weathering powders of similar hue into the acrylic wash's in the later stages for added effects and texture.
  • Being a firm believer in the less is more philosophy, but for now, not really sure if my less is actually too much or not enough! Still more to learn... 🙂

Tags: Model Railroading · Rolling Stock · Weathering

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

You must log in to post a comment.