After building, painting, and decaling a freight car model, it’s time to apply weathering so it looks like it’s been traveling a few thousand miles. The lead image shows the final appearance. Let’s take a look at the steps taken to arrive there.
After the decals are applied and dry, I spray a gloss coat of Future acrylic floor finish to seal the work. This has a new product name of Pledge FloorCare Multi-Surface Finish.
The model in the top part of this image has only the gloss coat applied. The bottom model shows the model after a tinted flat coat was applied.
The flat coat started with a little thinner, then a pipette and a half draw of Model Master Acryl flat, then two drops of Vallejo burnt umber. I stirred this with a toothpick for about a minute in the paint cup. I use an Iwaata Eclipse HP-BCS siphon feed, dual action airbrush.
I sprayed one flat coat then waited a few minutes to review the model. I thought it was light so I sprayed another coat I liked the coverage after the second coat and set the model aside while I cleaned up the airbrush. I also like how the red tone of the original car color, Vallejo Cavalry brown (70.982), was cut a bit.
I think of weathering as layers that have accumulated over time. This flat coat is the first layer that cuts the bright white of the lettering and the freshness of the car color.
The prototype C&O automobile box cars came into service in August 1923 and I model November 1926. I’m often thinking about how much weathering would take effect in the years a car has been in service before my time period.
I started on the roof, randomly daubing Vallejo Model Air light grey with a microbrush to represent paint failure spots on the galvanized roof section. I kept the paint failure spots minimal. Several parts of the running boards were carefuly painted with khaki and light grey colors to represent replaced and worn boards. I applied Vallejo Model Wash dark brown with a wide brush and ended up with the appearance in the above photo.
I continued applying the wash to the rest of the car. While I liked how the roof looked, the sides seemed too dark. I rinsed out the brush and applied distilled water to remove some of the work. A cotton swab mopped up the excess using downward strokes. I snapped the above photo after this step. I was a bit concerned with the appearance, but pushed forward.
Pan Pastels were next. I scrubbed my favorite soot color onto the roof (PP 820.1 Neutral Grey Extra Dark). I also hit upper portions of the car sides and ends with a lighter application.
Road dust was applied next using PP 780.5 Raw Umber along the side sills and some lower areas. The car ends and trucks also received this color. The image above captures these steps.
Prismacolor pencil highlights are the next step. A 10% Cool Grey color is my favorite for highlighting edges. I also used a 30% Warm Grey in a few areas, mainly the scuff marks at the grab iron ladders. I used both pencils for the chalk marks. The Warm Grey presents an older mark that is not fully removed. You can see the results in the above image.
I often see route cards and remnants of cards and placards on wood sheathed cars. I use small bits of paper to represent these elements. I cut the route cards as small rectangles, while the card remnants are ripped as bits from the same strip of paper as the cards. These are simple weathering layer additions.
The car ends receive similar treatments. I use a very light grey or tan color to represent the dried mud splash from other car wheels that tend to streak on the ends. The end placard boards have usually lost some of the original car color and often bear remains of old placards.
After a couple hours of work spread over a couple of days, the weathering layers are complete. Another freight car is ready for service. It may also end up displayed with other models at an upcoming Railroad Prototype Modeler event.
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