Weathering RailRoad equipment

by John Schmeling
(San Diego, Ca. USA)

Hi Scale Modelers

Question: Im weathering some well detailed HO scale railroad models, these are factory painted and lettered and as nice as they are right out of the box they are no where close to the real thing. Being a former RailRoad employee our equipment basicly lived in combat condition. I was wondering what would be the best way to build up a fade and apply differnt weathering patterns on factory painted models to simulate these extreme combat conditions, im not sure what paints and or chalks would work the best, since they half to applied over each other I don't want mess up the other applied effects.

SMH Responds:

I have never heard of early 20th century railcars looking like they had been in combat, but the more you look at what is on the rails today, the more sense it makes. Weathering is a pretty tall topic with lots of variations so we won’t address it all here as there are a number of articles already on this site.

First, you need some idea of where this project is going and when it is done. Speaking of when, your era is very important. For instance, if your model is a 19th century freight car and your era is the early 30s, you won’t find much graffiti.

To get an idea of real life railroad “aging” do a search on you will get ideas for that “natural look”. Some are lot cleaner than you might have expected. Also check back issues of magazines like Trains, Railfan and Railways or Railroad Press for pictures if normally aged rolling stock. They can serve as a guide to what you want to accomplish.

Check out the articles beginning with Weathering

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