Best way to weather engines and cars with a brush?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by gregbva123, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

    Does anyone know the best way to weather Engines and Cars with a brush?

  2. pdt

    pdt Member

    There are any number of ways to do it, but I wouldn't say any one way is the best. In my opinion, there are patterns of rain spray or exhaust that are best replicated with an airbrush and there are rust or oil streaks that only a brush can mimic. So, I like to keep an open mind and try to use whichever technique is best suited to each scenario.

    As far as medium goes, I like oil paints and chalks. I have loads of oil paints from my art school days and I really don't do much painting anymore, so they're a no brainer for me. Chalks are excellent and can be applied wet or dry. I use mineral spirits or alcohol to mix the ground chalks into if I'm applying them wet.

    Other folks use acrylic paints from cheap 'craft' paints to artist's acrylics with great results. Ordinary model paint is fine, too. I've used sifted dirt before, even ground rice (to simulate the ubiquitous piles of grain you find on the ground near grain elevators and on hopper roofs).

    In my opinion, the best thing to do is get a prototype photo ( is a great place to start) and try to match the patterns with your paints and/or chalks. You'll get the feel for it over time and soon you'll have your own style. There's really no wrong way to do it.
  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Good advice and a nice link pdt. Look at all those PC locomotives in their various stages of weathered glory! :) Thanks!
  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

  5. Espeenut

    Espeenut Member

    ...when it comes to weathering, there is no 'correct' way to do it, once you've decided to take the plunge into weathering a locomotive, piece of rolling stock or structure, the best thing to do is take a look at the real thing and try to duplicate what you see. I've tried using an airbrush to apply layers of 'dust', I've also accomplished the same task using hand brushed chalks or pigments and applying a coat of dullcoat as a sealer. I drybrush rust stains and use chalks and pigments to give everything an appropriate coat of 'grunge'...keep in mind that everything is clean when new, and things do occasionally get washed, so a good rule of thumb is to make sure your fleet isn't too uniform in appearance - try to have a mix of clean, lightly and moderately weathered, quite dirty, and a few that look absolutely grungy and totally forsaken...take a look at your average mixed freight the next time your out railfanning and that is usually what you'll see prototypically.

    Lorne Miller
  6. a note

    Tanker cars, unlike many other cars, should be kept only lightly weathered. Due to the dangers of leaks of hazardous materials transported in most tanker cars, they are kept well maintained for safety and insurance reasons. Yet right next to it can be a Boxcar that looks like it hasn't had a wash or a paint since 1965

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