25 September 2019
For some, painting older items of rolling stock to look more authentic is more important than their level of detail, here we put our skills to the test to improve a vintage mineral wagon.
For some modellers, the most important thing in achieving a realistic model railway isn’t the accuracy of the models or the level of detail, but the weathering. Even a model railway built from cheap, off-the-shelf items can be made to look impressive if it’s well weathered.
Weathering is perceived as being difficult because mistakes can be embarrassing or hard to rectify, not to say costly. The easiest way to start is on a cheap goods wagon such as a mineral wagon. These were always dirty in service and it’s difficult to overdo the weathering effects on an item of rolling stock that was never cleaned in reality. Once you’ve mastered this technique, you’ll have the confidence to try something more challenging, taking a factory item and turning it into a unique piece of rolling stock that you’ll be proud to display at the front of your layout.
Cheap paint brushes
Humbrol 67 & 98 enamel paint
Diluted car screen wash
Burnt Umber Gouache
The techniques demonstrated here are within everyone’s reach. They’re quick, which is important if you have a rake of perhaps a dozen wagons to weather. You too can produce great results if you follow these instructions to the letter. The most important thing to remember is not to fiddle with the affects you achieve. Give the model a chance to dry and see what it looks like before passing judgement. If you don’t like the results you can always wash them off and start again.
Top tips on how to add rust to your model wagons
- Use old/cheap brushes for a project like this.
- If a brush sheds bristles in use, remove them from the model once it’s dry. Avoid the temptation to remove hairs when the model is still wet.
- Rust patches look better when they're random, or they’ll looked contrived. Avoid large solid patches that give a ‘Holstein Friesian cow’ effect.
If you’d like more advice on weathering a wagon, Phil Parker gives you a full demonstration in our latest video.
Now you’ve weathered a wagon, take a read of our step-by-step guide to weathering a locomotive using paint washes and powders here. Or if you’d like more general tips on weathering a locomotive, see our article here.
Over the coming months, we’ll be adding more step-by-step weathering articles to our ‘Techniques’ area of this website. Keep an eye out for these and follow the guides to further improve your model railway weathering.