Cigarette ash for weathering?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mikebalcos, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    I've read somewhere that you can use cigarette ash for weathering. How is this done? Do I use a paintbrush and then dab things like engines and rolling stock? :)
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I don't see why you couldn't use it the same as chalk or real dirt.

    This did lead to an idea - weathering a wood structure by placing it into a smoker!

  3. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Thanks for the idea! I have a whole wood stove full of ash and charcoal bits that needs to get cleaned out. It would be enough for a lifetime of weathering! :)
  4. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member


    It's a bad Idea for a multitude of reasons. Just spend $4.00 on some weathering powders! They look more realistic, actually stick to the car/locomotive/structure you're weathering, and dry ultra flat.

    Plus the smell alone wouldn't be pleasant to non-smokers.

    Using stove (presumably actual wood NOT Chemlogs like firestarters) ash would be okay for stuff like the ash iles from a burnt-out building but NOT FOR WEATHERING. It doesn't look good, or stick well to your model.
  5. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    I agree, using cigarette ashes on my layout does not sound appealing due to the unpleasant stale ashtray smell.
  6. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    Some nice cedar ash might be a nice touch to a wood coaling tower. Hmm smell that cedar.
  7. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    A little white and gray chalk will give you a much better effect that cigarette ashes.
  8. Sarge_7

    Sarge_7 Member

    Can't help you, I quite smoking 1 1/2 years agosign1
  9. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    Thirteen years for me. I quit in two weeks after smoning for twenty-three years (two and a half to three packs a day).
  10. Sarge_7

    Sarge_7 Member

    I smoked for 20 yrs at 2 packs a day. I used the pills and the patch at the same time, but have not smoked one since the first day I tried(this time)
  11. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Thanks for the input. :) I liked the white and gray chalk in particular. I guess I'm going to the school supplies store. Is it done this way:

    1) Pound the gray and white chalk together to powdery form
    2) Use a small paintbrush to apply the powder

    Oh, btw, I'm thinking of not weathering my Athearn RDCs and future short Santa Fe train since I think passenger trains are well cleaned(am I correct?).
  12. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    There is an article in a recent MRR mag about a modeler who used cigarette ash to model real ashes in his railyard ash pit.
  13. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    It doesn't matter if a guy in MR did that.. IT'S STILL A BAD IDEA.

    It's not like MR (or any modeling magazine) is the modeling bible from which we must obey every tutorial or tip they put forth.

    I agree with Ron, but only for wood burning locomotive ash pits, the cedar would (or wood,lol) be pleasant.

    If you want coal ash, I suppose you could burn real coal (a small amount) and use the ash for that, if you cannot do that, I suppose you could use Charcoal briquettes (but they're unpleasantly smelly too.)
  14. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Since you asked about using cigarette ash, it's also useful to know that smoking in your train room is not very friendly to operations, as the smoke will coat the rails, cutting down on electrical conductivity. Another good reason to quit. ;):-D

  15. I agree with all of you,cigarette ash shouldn't be used for weathering.chalk sounds like a goof idea for weathering.
  16. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    I'd say quit smoking, and spend the money you save one some good weathing materials!
  17. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    You've got some strong feelings about that Miles! I can see not rubbing ashes on equipment. the ash pit idea mentioned by Ron and Mountain Man seems like a good one as you've noted. Ashes to model ashes. Some folks grind up leaves to model leaves. Makes sense.

    I tried suing charcoal dust from the bottom of my grill to make a country road because I liked the color. It turned out OK but was a mess to work with when trying to apply diluted glue solution. i don't recommend it.

  18. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    IIRC, the question came up, the ashes were already handy, and the author and his friend decided to try it and see. As I recall, getting the application right was a bit tricky - adhesive first, then ashes, but the effect shown in the article was excellent. I'm sure there are many ways to achieve the same effect, just as some modelers grind up real coal to put in loco tenders while others use a variety of materials.

    Using materials in modeling doesn't constitute an endorsement, after all.
  19. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Yep, like I said It makes sense to me to model ashes with ashes. Every one has their modeling tricks and preferences, I reckon.

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