Dirty 1

5356 awaits the Oban road with a train of grain hoppers for the distilleries

There is always a little bit of trepidation about taking pristine stock and applying dirt to it to give it that realistic look of having a hard life, or about to have one. There’s a perennial debate on most Facebook groups and forums of to weather or not. its interesting to see some very entrenched views on the subject, particularly from those who think that stock should be run in out of the box pristine condition. Even when its pointed out to them if you looks at photos no loco coach or wagon actually is in that state once it has left the works and run. Ah but then, goes the argument, railwaymen had pride in the job and cleaned their locos. Yes some did, but the application of the infamous oily rag didn’t remove all the grime and especially around the frames or bogies which were never touched.

It doesn’t matter how good your argument for weathering is, because eventually they all fall back on the hoary old statement “Its my railway and I’ll run what I want”, in my view that’s the equivalent of raising the white flag.

Now I weather stock, always have done. That’s because I look at photographs of the real railway at the time I’m modelling, and those photographs always confirm that a lot of stock was – well dirty. Inevitable given the environment it runs in. That doesn’t mean I apply factor 50 layer of shit to all my stock, far from it. it varies from the almost workshop condition to about to go in workshop! That’s about observation how things were in reality.

Most of the stock has now been through the shops, there’s some fine detail to be done yet. My techniques are not radical – I use a variety of mediums and techniques well chronicled elsewhere but a pattern usually emerges of airbrush a base layer around the frames and roof, the washes of well diluted enamels followed by application of weathering powders, and last of all a spay of varnish with the airbrush.


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