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)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A little freight car weathering

Calamity's new station was left at home this weekend. I didn't want to start assembling it and then transport it back to the workbench half built. That's always when accidents happen. To keep the current themes going I decided that I would work on a few of the freight cars that should see service in Calamity. I grabbed four boxes kind of at random (put back anything that was a passenger or passenger related car as well as cabooses, apparently I have a lot of passenger cars). The four boxes contained 2 D&RGW stockcars, 1 D&RGW gondola (short) and 1 unlettered tank car. I hesitated about working on the tank car since I didn't have any decals for it yet (I need to start working on some custom decals). I figured that it really wouldn't take a lot of work to add the decals afterwards when I finally had them. I'll just have to do another round of weathering. I also hesitated on doing both the stockcars, they have the same number and I really should change that or its going to look a little funny on the board (okay I admit that within the context of a game no one else is likely to notice).All of these are from Bachmann's Spectrum series and are RTR not kits. I also decided to try out a couple of different materials from my regular pigments, I purchased a set of Pan Pastels from Stoney Creek Designs sometime ago so I grabbed that box and I picked up some Prismacolor Pencils to see if I could be a bit more precise with some of the rust work and highlighting. I sat down and pulled everything out and got started. I remembered to take pictures so you don't have to put up with my ramblings to much.

Oh and (like many of my posts) this one is rather picture heavy.

A couple of things that didn't make it into the pictures. I didn't take pictures right out of the box, the models are a bit plastic looking right out of the box, so they all received a quick coat of testor's dullcoat to take away the shine and give the pastels a little tooth to hold on to. I also removed the trucks and popped the wheels out to make things a little easier to deal with.

Here is stuff I'm using; Pan Pastels (I actually only used about six of these), Liquitex Inks (ended up only using the Burnt Umber) and Prismacolor Pencils (again only used two of these). You can see disassembled trucks in the picture as well.

Here are the victims plus my cheap weathering brushes. What is missing from this picture are the sponges that I used to apply the Pan Pastels. The sponges work much better than a brush.

The gondola (all of the freight cars have had a coat of dullcoat at this point)

The tank car

One of the stock cars with their underframes in the foreground

Step 1, knock down the very black trucks with the pastels. On the left side is the straight plastic on the right is after a quick brush of Pan Pastel Neutral Gray Extra Dark. This looked good so I went ahead and did all the remaining trucks.

Here I have applied rust with a Prismacolor Pencil, Sienna Brown. this was went really fast, I just used the edge of the pencil on the edges of the metal. Looked pretty good and was fast. Its hard to really see the trucks once they are mounted back on the cars, but I hate to do anything in half measures.

Didn't forget the wheels either, each set received a coating of either Pan Pastel; Red Iron Oxide Shade or Red Iron Oxide

A truck with the weathering finished and re-assembled

The gondola gets a quick brush of straight Liquitex Burnt Umber Ink

This ink will re-activate with water so in a couple places where the decals were to dark I just went back in with a wet paintbrush and removed the excess ink.

The flatbed of the tank car gets the same coating of burnt umber

Okay, I forgot to take pictures of the gondola in progress but I remember to do it with the tank car. First I dulled the black again with another coating of Neutral Grey Extra Dark and streaked it down the sides. I worked in a little rust as well using both the Red Iron Oxide Shade and Prismacolor Burnt Ochre

The other side

The photos got a little skimpy but here are the underframes for the stock cars. On the left I have applied  both Pan Pastel Burnt Umber and  Yellow Ochre shade to grime up the bottom. On the right is the other underframe waiting for its turn.

The finished D&RGW Gondola

The finished Tank Car, it will get decals someday

One of the stock cars. Quite frankly I find them hard to tell apart at this point. I definitely need to go in and change that number. Maybe I'll just get some paint and change the 3 to and 8.

And that wraps up a weathering session for Calamity's RR.


  1. That looks excellent. I shall keep this in my book marks as I shall need to do something similar with some diecast trucks I have

    1. Thanks Simon! Its nice to know that someone finds this stuff useful now and then!

  2. Wow! I'm impressed. They all turned out great Kris. Nice job and thanks for sharing!

  3. Sorry if you get this twice. I was asking about how to fix the weathering as I tried grinding up pastels and then essentially washed off all my weathering with varnish. Not sure why my comment disappeared.

    1. Ground up pastels are not the best choice for weathering, they have a couple of extra ingredients that are missing from pure pigments. That being said pure pigments will also tend to disappear when you apply a varnish. I have never really seen a good answer as to why though. You have a couple of options though. The first is to use Isopropyl Alcohol to fix them in place (I use at least the 90% stuff), just flood the area with the alcohol (don't brush is on, load up a brush full and just touch the tip to the model and let it wick off). Initially it will look like you have lost the pigments again but once it dries it the pigments will pop back out. The advantage is that you can clean the pigments off using this method as well, in which case you do want to brush it. The other option is using "Fixer" from either AK Interactive or MiG Productions. I wish I knew what this stuff was so I could get it cheaper, its a bit expensive. Apply it the same way and this time its pretty permanent, I suspect you might be able to get it off with turpentine or something.
      The Pan Pastels that I have been using are kind of a different animal from regular pigments and seem to have a certain "stickiness" to them to they don't really need to be sealed. They can be removed with an eraser. Another pigment worth mentioning are the ones from Bragden Enterprises. Supposedly they are "sticky" as well. I have a set but every time I decided to try them out I can't find them. When I'm looking for something else they are right on top of everything. So the Pan Pastels and the Bragden you shouldn't have to seal.