Re: Weathering Lighter Colored Cars

atsfnut <michaelEGross@...>

Dear Charles and Group,

I've been reading with interest the postings about weathering lighter colored cars and, with respect to washes, wanted to share some of my experience.

To begin with, I wash with solvent-based paints, usually enamels (Model Master, Testors, etc.) or tube oils, because I find that acrylics dry too quickly for me to control their application. These are always applied over a fully cured acrylic matte finish which protects the factory paint and lettering.

Several types of treatments have been described in the postings. One is the attempt to provide an overall "fade" or bleached look to the factory paint. You may be familiar with modeler and author Pelle Søeborg, who accomplishes this by airbrushing a thinned solution of Model Master "sand" to his models.

I customarily use washes to give depth to a model—"shadows," if you will. This typically consists of a darker, sympathetic shade of the base color applied with a brush, then wiped away with cotton swabs, sponges, etc. Most is removed, but the residue of this wash settles into cracks, depressions and along rivet lines, providing visual interest. The philosophy for lighter cars is exactly the same as with darker cars: use a darker, harmonious version of the base color applied with a much greater proportion of thinner to paint—a "tinted thinner," if you will. By "harmonious," I mean that warm colors (gold, bronze, copper, brown, tan, yellow, red, orange, maroon, off-whites) are applied to warm colors, and cool colors (black, pure white, silver, blues, greens, grays and some purples) are applied to cool.

For a boxcar red model, I will typically wash with a darker version of that red: raw umber or burnt sienna, for example. For an orange or a yellow car, I might use something lighter: light yellow ochre, or a raw sienna. Again, something darker, but in harmony with the base color.

There are no "rules," as the amount and intensity of the wash is up to you. The guiding principle must always be harmony: a darker version of the base color makes an effective color-contrast wash.

Mind you, I use this type of wash only as a first step, and usually apply other weathering effects: atmospheric (rain, sun, etc.); terrestrial (dirt, soot, wheel-throw); and man-made (dings, scrapes, spills, etc.) only after applying the wash.

There are many ways to do this and many tools available for your use, but this is the method I use, and I trust it provides you with another set of options.


Michael Gross
La Cañada, CA

--- In STMFC@..., "Charles Hostetler" <cesicjh@...> wrote:

Good Evening,

My first three weathering tries were on basic black hoppers. I just finished weathering a PCCX hopper in the yellow scheme, hoping to get some experience with a lighter colored car before I tackle my Shake N Take Hormel reefers:

I think I found out that a lighter colored acrylic wash is necessary for application to a lighter colored car. The darker wash ended up looking "muddy" (and I don't mean that in a good way) before I scrubbed it off and lightened it up a lot. Would some of you with more experience be willing to comment on this observation?


Charles Hostetler
Goshen, IN

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