Weathering Techniques Explained

Throughout this post I will give you several tips on weathering, which is basically the art of taking something new and making it look like something old. It could be a locomotive, caboose, a building, a bridge, a tunnel, a road, a fence, or any element of scenery for that matter. Almost anything ages and changes over time.

Cars Before Weathering

For example; when you buy some rolling stock it comes packaged all shiny, plastic and new.

It probably looks too perfect, unreal and out of place alongside the other cars on the track. It may need “roughing up” to make it look used, or at least to show some signs of wear and tear.

It really comes down to deciding if want to “roughup” the factory paint job on the very expensive rolling stock you’ve just purchased. But, like it or not, shiny new cars usually look out of place on an otherwise “used looking” layout.

Cars After Weathering

In reality; most cars on a railroad, show varying degrees of rust, grime (lube and oil), mud, soot, denting, scratches and some are even covered in graffiti.

However, cars do vary in age and useage, so they shouldn’t necessarily all look the same. And, not everything is dirty, because the contact on bare metal can keep some areas of a car clean.

So, it is a case of thinking carefully about the age and likely wear and tear that you want to mimic… and whether you are prepared to “rough-up” your
rolling stock for the sake of adding realism.

Also, think about the region or era you are recreating. Is it likely to be muddy at times or would it be more dusty and arid like in a desert? For example, the rolling stock might need a sun-bleached look, which can be achieved with dullcoat brushed over with some rubbing alcohol. This will give the model a kind of a white milky haze. If you don’t like it, respray with dullcoat. However, always test techniques on something else before you try them out on your prized models, because you may not like the effect.

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