Eric shows us how he weathers his trains

Some of you may remember the wonderful pictures Eric sent in a day or so ago. They were of his ‘weathered’ trains.

He was kind enough to send in a ‘how to’ as well. Here it is. Hope you like it as much as I did.

“For this third instalment in my serie about weathering, I’ll explain how I weathered my « Royal Scot » , composed of my 2-3-0 green BR steam engine « Royal Scot » (Airfix) and two ex-LMS coaches from Märklin (taken from a « Hogwarts Express » train set, best known as the « Harry Potter Train »).

For those who does not know about the story, the “Harry Potter” train is in fact a well-known train that rides for tourists and train fans: the “Jacobite”, riding the Scottish rails between Fort William and Mallaigh on the line from Glasgow to the Isle of Skye, and where you’ll find the famous (or now infamous) Glenn Finann Viaduct (the curved concrete viaduct seen in the Harry Potter movies).

You’ll see here below the Airfix locomotive and the two Märklin coaches (OO Scale).

I wanted to depict a train riding in the late 60’s, at the end of the steam era in the Scottish Highlands, on a train from London to Skye on the old LMS lines…

The first step was to disassemble the body of the Tender from its chassis and, then, cut the wires connecting the engine to the motor in the tender (I’ll later install a small connector and a DCC decoder).

Once the engine and the tender separated, I start by brushing a coat of « Dirt » paint (8 parts of “Black Glaze” for one of “Smoke”, three of “Dark Flesh”, one of “Glossy Black” and five of “foundation White). This mix is drybrushed on the chassis, wheels, and even on the front of the locomotive’s body (the part in black) and the steam deflectors (the Elephant Ears, as we call them) without forgetting the cab’s roof.

Then I prepare a mix of « Dark Green » with a bit of my « Dirt » mix to lighten and tone it down before brushing a wash of this mix on the green parts of the locomotive and tender bodies (the first layer wiped dry with a sponge, the next ones brushed dry with a Filbert brush, as a “Glacis” in artistic painting).

After this, I prepare my « Grime » mix (one part of « Smoke » for three of « Black Glaze ») that I brush as a « Glacis » lightly diluted on all the areas first weathered with the « Dirt » mix.

Then I prepare my own « Rust » mix, composed of three parts of « Cavalry Brown » for one of « Burnt Umber » or of « Chocolate Brown ». I then drybrush this mix on the locomotive’s and tender’s bodies, and also on the tender’s chassis.

The Locomotive’s chassis also receive a drybrush of “Rust”, but not as heavy as on the other parts, and I mostly concentrate on the front buffers, the footsteps and some other parts of the chassis.

I then prepare some « fresh Rust » (one part of « Smoke » for three of « Cavalry Brown ») and highlight some of my previous rust application spots and also apply some « rust leaks » on the tender where water spills from the tank when loading or near some steam valves. The leaks are applied with a round brush and for this diluted at a ratio of one part of paint for two parts of water.

I prepare next a mix of one part of « Black Glaze » for one part of « Foundation White ». I brush it very lightly with a small round brush near the water tank and the valves to represent lime streaks where there are some water or steam leaks.

The last step is to apply a « control coat » of « Grimmy Black ». I prepare a wash of “Black Glaze” diluted at a ratio of one part of “Black Glaze” for three of water, and brush a liberal coat of it on the entirety of the engine and the tender, being thorough especially on the wheels and the driving rods.

The last steps of the « detailing » would be first a drybrush of light grey (mix of « Black Glaze » and « Foundation White ») to highlight the details on the inside of the cab, then a brush of « Glossy Black » on the tender’s coal load to make it look more realistic, and finally applying some of this « Glossy Black » on the handrails and tubes on the engine’s body and also on the buffers (greasiest parts). The last thing to do then will be to reconnect the locomotive to its tender and put it on the tracks to admire the final result.

Now that the locomotive is done, we can devote ourselves to the weathering and detailing of the Marklin coaches. The first step would be to paint the OO scale figures (here from Dapol’s range). I first remove the plastic base, then trim the imperfections with a small file. After this, I glue them on a small strip of plasticard to handle them easily while painting them.

I first brush a liberal coat of « Foundation White » before painting them in order to detect any defect on the figure. Then I paint them with the darker tones first before drybrushing lighter ones afterwards in successive and lighter drybrushes till obtaining the wished result. For the Steam engine team, very visible in the cab, I decided to push the detailing level higher with more highlighting drybrushed to make them more realistic and more “like moving”.

The interiors of the coaches are first painted with « Foundation White » as a Primer. The interior walls being white, I had not to work anymore on them…

I then painted the seats in red or in green (depending if it was first or second class). The correct red color for the first class seats is a mix of “Red” with a bit of “Burnt Umber” or “Chocolate Brown”, and the one for the second class seats is a mix of “Dark Green” with a bit of “Foundation White”). An easy way to make the difference between First and Second class compartments on the Marklin interiors is that the space between the seats is larger in the first class compartments than in the second class ones.

Next step : Brushing a mix of four parts of « German Grey » for one of « Foundation White » on the floors.

Now, we can place the figures, but first we’ll need to cut away the feet as they will be too tall for the interiors to be realistic. We also put some blinds on the windows of the compartments that are not detailed or will house the wires for the interior lightning (to be installed later from a Dutch DIGIRAILS coach lightning strip).

The Locomotive driving team is also glued inside the cab of the « Royal Scot » steamer. Before gluing them in place with some Scotch universal glue (the green tubes) we test-fit them in the cab to find the most appropriate disposition before gluing them definitely there.

And after looking at the coaches with the interior put back inside them (relatively easy to do on the Marklin models), you can see this through the windows.

Now we can start the main weathering process. I prepare a mix of “Dirt” that I drybrush on the bogies and the chassis of the coaches.

I then dilute this mix (1 part paint for three to four parts of water) and brush this wash over the coaches bodies. I do not apply masking tape on the windows as I have my own cleaning method to use afterwards. The first wash is dried with a clean tissue in a light up to down movement on the flanks of the coach. The second and third are brush dried with the filbert brush. After applying those washes, I clean the windows this way : I brush some medical alcohol with a small round brush on the window glazing, and then scrape the paint with an old shortened flat or a cotton swab. The result will be cleaned window with a really light coat of dirt on it and dirt agglomerated near the edges.

I then prepare a wash of « Black (3 parts paint for one part water and a drop of alcohol). I apply this with a small round brush in the recessed lines and crannies to darken them.
I then can start weathering the roofs. I prepare first a mix of Black Glaze and Smoke (10/1) and I brush it on the roof. I then immediately wipe it with a sponge, leaving a light coat on the roof and darkening around the structure lines. The second and third coats are wiped dry with a large flat brush in transversal movements, perpendicular to the sides of the coach, starting from one end to the other end of the roof. I finish with a wash of the mix, highly diluted, and directly wiped dry with a clean tissue. When dry, I then brush some lightly diluted “Black” on the centre of the roof and then blur it to represent the soot deposits from the locomotive’s exhaust.

We’ll now start with the rust. I prepare first a mix of “Old Rust” (2 parts of Cavalry brown, one of Burnt Umber and a bit of my black wash to darken it). I drybrush this mix on the bogies, the chassis and the roofs.

Then I prepare a mix of « Fresh Rust » lightly diluted (3 parts of cavalry brown for one of water) and brush it near the roof vents and then blur it with the sponge to simulate rust. I do not forget to drybrush a bit of this mix on the chassis and bogies to represent some fresh rust there.

And here is the final result of this work : the 2-3-0 Royal Scot BR steam locomotive from Airfix with the two Marklin Ex-LMS coaches. The pictures clearly speak for themselves and are a true and real plea in favour of the Weathering of Scale Model Trains !

Wow! A big thank you to the talented Eric.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you want to your start, on your very own layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

One Response to Eric shows us how he weathers his trains

  1. Rich B. says:

    No one’s ever mentioned using artist chalks for weathering? Applied with a Q-tip or small sponge tipped device. Colors can be redone over with no painting involved or not using a clear coat either. No- it’s not coming off, smudging or wearing off, seems to imbed in whatever material applied too.

    Also a century can be added to plastic/wood structures and even glue removed by lightly sandblasting things (yup, have sandblaster, great Xmas idea). Takes that shine always there away and glue mistakes disappear; then using chalks…talk about realism and it’s satisfaction of work, at least mine anyways. Even just plain dust can add to things, not meaning fur balls, cob webs or similar. Just what accumulates from being there.

    Regards, Rich🤔

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