Re: : Weathering freight cars

Richard Hendrickson

On Jun 12, 2013, at 2:16 PM, Tony Thompson <> wrote:

Armand Premo wrote:
For what it's worth,I believe the most grievous error a modeler can make is to over do weathering.My taste lean more to subtle weathering.An overly weathered car will stand out as much as a brightly colored car.Visitors will remember it.A technique that I favor is to star with the basic color and go from there.Others might favor mixing a diluted tone.I do not profess to be an expert on weathering ,but feel strongly that it is a matter of individual taste.After all it is Your model and as long as you are satisfied with it that's really all that matters.
Richard Hendrickson may chime in here, as he believes, on considerable photographic evidence, that it is difficult to over-weather steam era freight cars. But I would disagree with the idea that as long as YOU like it, it's okay. Um, no. On this topic I like to quote Tony Koester's comment, that if you are really interested in model RAILROADING, you try to duplicate aspects of real world railroads. (Otherwise you are just having fun with train models.) Certainly an entire steam-era freight car fleet which is uniformly and lightly weathered cannot be said to duplicate reality.
As Armand says, it's true that ONE severely weathered car will stand out among lightly weathered or unweathered ones. I believe that instead, there should be a gradation, from almost new cars to ones on which it is hard to read the lettering, with a range of cars weathered everywhere in between.
Of course I agree with Armand that weathering, like so much else, is a matter of individual taste, and that we all satisfy primarily ourselves, at the end of the day. But to me, that does NOT mean that whatever you choose to do is equally realistic.
No argument that Armand (and others) are entitled to please themselves in this regard. That is, as long as they don't claim to be prototype modelers.

As Tony aptly says, "an entire steam-era freight car fleet which is uniformly and lightly weathered cannot be said to duplicate reality."

There is abundant photographic evidence that (1) steam era freight cars were dirty and weathered roughly proportional to how long it had been since they were repainted, (2) repainting was infrequent - seldom more than every ten years or so and often much longer than that, and (3) cars that had not been repainted for a long time were seriously faded and filthy owing not only to weathering but to the grime continually deposited on them from steam locomotive stacks and the mills and factories adjacent to rail lines and freight yards. I think only those who experienced it first hand can imagine how dirty railroads were in the '30s-'40s-early '50s. Heavy weathering on at least some cars is far from "a grievous error," as Armand claims; in fact it's an essential element of realism. Sorry, but this fact is so well documented that it simply is not open to discussion.

Richard Hendrickson

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