Weathering progress

I’ve continued working on several HO scale hopper models. I posted my line up card last month that helps me keep track of the various work stages on eleven freight car models. It’s time to share a progress report.

I wanted to retain most of the factory applied lettering on several of the hoppers. Updating the weigh data and the repack stencil were the main tasks.

Two Morgantown & Kingwood USRA hoppers and a Western Maryland car were easy to update. After spraying a dirty flat coat on the cars, I brushed Future/Pledge acrylic gloss only onto the lettering that needed to the updated. Strips of color decals were applied to cover the lettering. I recently heard a reference to this as trim film, a new term for me.

Microscale offers a trim film package with several colors that also includes decal application solvents. Separate trim film colors are also available. I make my own using blank areas of decal sheets and model paint. I mainly need three colors: black, boxcar red, and boxcar brown.

After applying the new decals for weigh data, location, date, and the repack stencil, gloss is brushed into these spots to seal the work. The hoppers went back to the spray booth for another application of a dirty fade. I use a base of Model Master acryl clear flat and add a couple drops of Vallejo burnt umber and dark rubber. I usually spray a few cars at a time.

After the dirty flat coat dried, Pan Pastels were applied. Raw umber (780.5) was applied along the side sills and on the hopper bays. Burnt sienna extra dark (740.1) was sparingly rubbed onto select areas on a couple cars for a grungier appearance. Neutral gray extra dark (820.1) was next for the hopper interiors and the upper portions of the car sides and ends. I like using this color for soot and coal dust remains.

Prismacolor pencils are next. A 10% cool gray was used to highlight edges and handholds. 30% warm gray was used for scuff marks above ladder rungs. I use either color to add chalk marks.

A small piece of paper, about three or four inches square, is added on the route card board as the last weathering detail on a couple cars. I use newsprint or a buff color paper for these bits. A small dab of canopy glue is applied with a piece of wire then the paper bit is added.

I depleted my supply of Hi-Tech Details air hoses on several hoppers. An order is due soon so I can finish the Pennsy hoppers. I need to install Carmer uncoupling hardware as the final detail steps on these five hoppers.

Click on the image to review a larger size.

It’s been a great adventure modifying and upgrading these hoppers. I’ve updated the line up card with the progress. I await special decals to finish the BR&P hopper and a couple B&O boxcars. I’ll wrap up the D&H Seley car soon, too.

I plan to bring a few of these to the upcoming St. Louis RPM event at the end of July. A few more will make the trip to metro Baltimore for the Mid-Atlantic RPM in September.


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9 thoughts on “Weathering progress”

  1. Eric,
    What great and realistic results you are getting from your weathering efforts. Well done!

  2. Love this very informative site. A wealth of prototypical info to transmit to modeling.
    Question: What was the color of the 1900 Pennsylvania GL hoppers?

    Thank you,

    1. Thanks for your comment, Bill. As for an answer, the Pennsylvania Railroad painted their freight cars in Freight Car Color (FCC). Modelers and historians feel the shade of FCC in the late 1800s and into the 1920s was similar to an orange peel. I use Vallejo Amaranth Red acrylic for my Pennsy freight cars. Sometimes I’ll add a drop or two of scarlet to cut the brightness of the orange. I did not do that with the GLa hoppers. Brand new cars would look bright, but I’ve seen very few in-service images of Pennsy freight cars that did not look weathered. Weathering will cut the intensity and appearance of the intial finish.

      Additional details on the Pennsy FCC can be found on this Pennsy Modeler webpage. – Eric H.

  3. Fantastic work. Really grateful for your detailed descriptions and high-res photos. Helps a ton to get motivated and study your technique. Results look fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Ben. A main purpose of the blog is to inspire other modelers to make progress on their own models. It’s great to hear you are motivated! – Eric H.

    1. Awe shucks, Keith. Thanks for your kind comment. I just keep trying to push forward on projects and learn something along the way. – Eric H.

    1. No, I do not seal the work. It mostly stays put. I’ve packed and unpacked many models for travel to RPM events and to run on a local club layout. I’ve not noticed Pan Pastels rubbing off on the paper the models are wrapped in for travel. I’ve only noticed some material removal when I wear cotton gloves. I don’t see any material sticking to my bare fingers when otherwise handling the models. The key is spraying a flat coat on the model before applying the Pan Pastels. – Eric H.

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