Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Freight Cars for Calamity - Step by Step Weathering - Part 1

I decided that it might be worthwhile to really string together my weathering process into a single post. It will make it easier to reference for everyone that might be interested. For this particular step by step I'll be working with two "new" freight cars for the C&N RY that provides service to Calamity. The first is a boxcar (a goods car for my UK readers) which will be getting D&RGW dry transfers from Clover House. This is another in the series of what I would call fantasy transfers. They use company logos used in publications and advertising but didn't appear on the railroad's freight cars.  Its the same series that I used for the Colorado Central and DSP&P boxcars. The second is a high side gondola that will be getting my home made C&N decals.

I have skipped the first couple of steps which involve dis-assembly, airbrushing the bodies and weathering the trucks. Both of these cars received a coat of Tru-Scale TCP-139 MOPAC Boxcar Red. Probably not the right color for either line but in the end it looks good and will give a little sense of continuity and I can probably get away with it since I'm proto-freelancing anyway.

Step 1 - Time to dull down the bodies and give a little tooth to the next steps. Both bodies and the underframe were given a coat of Testors Dullcote.  The Tru-Scale paint gives a nice glossy finish that you could apply decals to directly but that glossy surface will make step 2 harder than it needs to be.

Here is our starting point. Airbrushed body with a Dullcote finish applied

Step 2 - The Fade. I have used this technique on my modern boxcars but at the time I was using titanium white oil paint and wiping it off, it was kind of a struggle. I read a new article in the Model Railroad Hobbyist (by the guy that originally used the oil paint I believe) that uses acrylic ivory instead so I'm going to give that a try and see how it goes. The idea here is to fade the basic paintwork to make it look like its been out in the elements rather than brand new. I would have liked to have tried this on the CC and DSP&P cars but I wasn't thinking about it at the time. This should give a nice variation in how my trains look on the table. I'm using Ceramcoat Ivory  (#02036) for this, aiming for a paint consistency that's not quite a wash. Here are some in progress shots of this.

Not enough Dullcote on the roof and the paint beaded up. Not really and issue since I then wipe it down with a paper towel.

The roof after the first coat of ivory has been applied and wiped off. I need to be more consistent and always wipe in the same direction. A lot of this will end up hidden by the soot that will be applied to the roof later.

Car side ready to be wiped down

Smoothed out with the paper towel. Since the application was still heavy in a couple of spots I followed up with a brush loaded with water

I added more water to the paint to get this consistency.
I felt like it didn't leave enough paint behind so I did a second application

Looks better, but time to go back in with a brush of water.

You can see it beading up on the roof, that means I didn't get enough dullcote on that surface and its beading up because of the glossiness of the Tru-Scale paint. I followed up the application of the ivory by wiping it down with a paper towel. Its not a bad way to wipe it down and it gave a better effect than using paint brushes. As you  see the effect is vary uneven and I think it looks pretty good. Definitely one of those techniques that you will get better at you do more and more cars. 
The Ivory fade coat

The first wipe off with a paper towel. I felt like there was to much paint left behind so I followed this up with a wet brush to tone it down some more.

Since this is going to serve as our basecoat I gave it another layer of Dullcote to protect it from what is to come.

Step 3A - Which could also be step 2. At this point I'm applying the decals and dry transfers. I forgot just how bright the C&N Logo is and its really standing out at this point. If these had been black decals (yes, I know the D&RGW one has black) I would have definitely applied and sealed the decals and transfers first. I should probably do that anyway. Again I didn't think things through because the freight cars I had done before were all RTR so the everything was in place when I did the fade. This time I'll just have to hope that upcoming weathering steps will dirty everything up enough to blend them in. I'll start with the dry transfers for the boxcar first.

My main "burnishing" tools, a couple of my sculpting tools that have rounded spoon like ends

Here we go! I have already done two cars with these you would think I could get things right. I left the backing on when I started to rub the transfer down.

You can see how the D&RGW letters looked a little chipped because of my mistake. Actually this whole side is a little rougher than I would like. Weathering should hide most of this and damaged paint isn't unusual anyway. The logo is a three part affair. The base is black which you can see above

Lined up the white and rub it down over the black. No registration marks to work from, you do it by eye and you are further handicapped by trying to stare through the paper.

And one more layer of black in place. I managed to miss one of the black lines at the bottom

Repeating the process on the other side. Much better at this point.

And back to the logo

Lined up the white, looking good

But when I put on the second layer of black it pulled up some of the white at the bottom and along the upper edge of the inner circle. Was looking really good to this point. Overall the effect is good.

Sealed and ready for the next step.

Step 3B - Decals. You may or may not have read previous posts about making my own decals, this will be the first car to receive the new decals printed on white decal paper. The gondola provides some additional challenges because the letter has to be broken up to fit between the stakes. This time I get to use my decal set solutions instead of lighter fluid, they should snug down much tighter.

I get somewhat obsessive about research at times, not always, but sometimes. I spent a good portion of this week working on some revisions to the decals. I discovered a new source for pictures and I found some photos that I hadn't seen before. Realizing that what I had wasn't quite right I had to redo some of them. Still calling in some proto-freelancing leeway as these freight cars are a little short or my graphics were a little big so I made a couple of compromises. I changed the placement of the number and left of the RY. from the end of the name. Essentially all the flatcars and gondolas had all of the lettering on the frame rather than on the sides except for the drop bottom ore cars (which I think I found a source for). What it amounts to is that there is only one photo showing off the new decals.

So far I like this paper a lot better and it snugged down quite nicely on their own.
Once the decals had dried I gave both cars another light coat of Dullcote.

I'm going to break this into two pieces at this point so look for Part 2 later this week or early next week.

TCP-139 MOPAC Boxcar Red

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