Weathering Couplers


Andy Harman
 

I don't think I've ever seen this topic mentioned other than in passing.
Most of the best looking rolling stock I've seen has nicely rusted couplers
- whether they are Kadee #5s, 58s, Sergents, etc. I've been taken to task
on occasion for skipping this step on freight cars and locomotives alike.
There's a reason... if you see one of my pieces with nice rusty couplers,
chances are I just did them and next time I try to run the car, I'll end up
replacing the couplers.

How do you guys do an adequate job of rusting up a Kadee (if you don't use
Kadees, you can skip this question) so the damn thing still works? I don't
care about magnetic uncoupling, I cut the trip pins off. But the knuckle
has to work, and the spring has to work. 9 out of 10 times when I try to
weather a coupler, it ends up being impaired. Not totally seized up, but
to where it's just not reliable and if the train is backed, the knuckle
will hang up at least part way and give me an unwanted uncoupling... or it
will freeze shut and it's difficult to couple up. Maybe half the time I'm
able to put a drop of solvent on the coupler and work the knuckle back and
forth and get it working adequately, but often it's just too stubborn.

I've used acrylics, oils, lacquers, both airbrushed and brushed, dry
brushed - no matter what I do, by the time I've managed to get the rusty
paint where it needs to be, some of it has bled into the jaw hinge where
it's going to dry and cause problems.

How do you guys do it? I know most of you do run your stuff, and I don't
think you change couplers every time in between an RPM show and an
operating session. Anything you could suggest to at least improve my
ultimate success to better than the 10 to 50 percent I'm getting now, would
be appreciated.

Andy


tyesac@...
 

Andy,

I've gone with a direct brush approach. I make a mix of Floquil rust + grimy black to get a shade a dirty/rusty/not orange. I stay way from the spring and pivit points just trying to hit the coupler face, sides & top. Then I let it dry thoroughly and work it open/closed a few times. For the times I've gotten too much point in the pivot/hinge area, the paint "crack" open once and shouldn't cause any problems after that.

Tom Casey


I've used acrylics, oils, lacquers, both airbrushed and brushed, dry
brushed - no matter what I do, by the time I've managed to get the rusty
paint where it needs to be, some of it has bled into the jaw hinge where
it's going to dry and cause problems.

-----Original Message-----
From: Andy Harman <gsgondola@...>
To: STMFC <STMFC@...>
Sent: Fri, Mar 4, 2011 10:46 pm
Subject: [STMFC] Weathering Couplers




I don't think I've ever seen this topic mentioned other than in passing.
Most of the best looking rolling stock I've seen has nicely rusted couplers
- whether they are Kadee #5s, 58s, Sergents, etc. I've been taken to task
on occasion for skipping this step on freight cars and locomotives alike.
There's a reason... if you see one of my pieces with nice rusty couplers,
chances are I just did them and next time I try to run the car, I'll end up
replacing the couplers.

How do you guys do an adequate job of rusting up a Kadee (if you don't use
Kadees, you can skip this question) so the damn thing still works? I don't
care about magnetic uncoupling, I cut the trip pins off. But the knuckle
has to work, and the spring has to work. 9 out of 10 times when I try to
weather a coupler, it ends up being impaired. Not totally seized up, but
to where it's just not reliable and if the train is backed, the knuckle
will hang up at least part way and give me an unwanted uncoupling... or it
will freeze shut and it's difficult to couple up. Maybe half the time I'm
able to put a drop of solvent on the coupler and work the knuckle back and
forth and get it working adequately, but often it's just too stubborn.

I've used acrylics, oils, lacquers, both airbrushed and brushed, dry
brushed - no matter what I do, by the time I've managed to get the rusty
paint where it needs to be, some of it has bled into the jaw hinge where
it's going to dry and cause problems.

How do you guys do it? I know most of you do run your stuff, and I don't
think you change couplers every time in between an RPM show and an
operating session. Anything you could suggest to at least improve my
ultimate success to better than the 10 to 50 percent I'm getting now, would
be appreciated.

Andy







[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Nelson Moyer <ku0a@...>
 

I use a 1:1 mix of Floquil Rust and Floquil Roof Brown thinned 3:1 with
Testors Universal Enamel Thinner. I've applied it with an airbrush or hand
brushed it on, and when applied lightly, the couplers work fine. I 'work'
the spring a few times while the paint is wet. If you want to cut the pin,
do it after the paint is dry, and you've verified functionality.

Nelson

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of Andy
Harman
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 10:46 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Weathering Couplers




I don't think I've ever seen this topic mentioned other than in passing.
Most of the best looking rolling stock I've seen has nicely rusted couplers
- whether they are Kadee #5s, 58s, Sergents, etc. I've been taken to task
on occasion for skipping this step on freight cars and locomotives alike.
There's a reason... if you see one of my pieces with nice rusty couplers,
chances are I just did them and next time I try to run the car, I'll end up
replacing the couplers.

How do you guys do an adequate job of rusting up a Kadee (if you don't use
Kadees, you can skip this question) so the damn thing still works? I don't
care about magnetic uncoupling, I cut the trip pins off. But the knuckle
has to work, and the spring has to work. 9 out of 10 times when I try to
weather a coupler, it ends up being impaired. Not totally seized up, but
to where it's just not reliable and if the train is backed, the knuckle
will hang up at least part way and give me an unwanted uncoupling... or it
will freeze shut and it's difficult to couple up. Maybe half the time I'm
able to put a drop of solvent on the coupler and work the knuckle back and
forth and get it working adequately, but often it's just too stubborn.

I've used acrylics, oils, lacquers, both airbrushed and brushed, dry
brushed - no matter what I do, by the time I've managed to get the rusty
paint where it needs to be, some of it has bled into the jaw hinge where
it's going to dry and cause problems.

How do you guys do it? I know most of you do run your stuff, and I don't
think you change couplers every time in between an RPM show and an
operating session. Anything you could suggest to at least improve my
ultimate success to better than the 10 to 50 percent I'm getting now, would
be appreciated.

Andy






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Clark Cooper
 

Andy,

I've never had issues with painting Kadees. I use the airbrush, any paint; but I avoid shooting straight in from the sides or top, which sends the paint right between the bearing surfaces. Shoot from above at an angle, and below at an angle. Also, a couple of light (dry) coats will keep the paint from pooling wet. Wet paint on the surface allows it to draw between the bearing surfaces. You've got it down when you don't have to do anything to make it work.

Hope that helps.
-Clark Cooper

On Mar 4, 2011, at 10:45 PM, Andy Harman wrote:

I don't think I've ever seen this topic mentioned other than in passing.
Most of the best looking rolling stock I've seen has nicely rusted couplers
- whether they are Kadee #5s, 58s, Sergents, etc. I've been taken to task
on occasion for skipping this step on freight cars and locomotives alike.
There's a reason... if you see one of my pieces with nice rusty couplers,
chances are I just did them and next time I try to run the car, I'll end up
replacing the couplers.

How do you guys do an adequate job of rusting up a Kadee (if you don't use
Kadees, you can skip this question) so the damn thing still works? I don't
care about magnetic uncoupling, I cut the trip pins off. But the knuckle
has to work, and the spring has to work. 9 out of 10 times when I try to
weather a coupler, it ends up being impaired. Not totally seized up, but
to where it's just not reliable and if the train is backed, the knuckle
will hang up at least part way and give me an unwanted uncoupling... or it
will freeze shut and it's difficult to couple up. Maybe half the time I'm
able to put a drop of solvent on the coupler and work the knuckle back and
forth and get it working adequately, but often it's just too stubborn.

I've used acrylics, oils, lacquers, both airbrushed and brushed, dry
brushed - no matter what I do, by the time I've managed to get the rusty
paint where it needs to be, some of it has bled into the jaw hinge where
it's going to dry and cause problems.

How do you guys do it? I know most of you do run your stuff, and I don't
think you change couplers every time in between an RPM show and an
operating session. Anything you could suggest to at least improve my
ultimate success to better than the 10 to 50 percent I'm getting now, would
be appreciated.

Andy


Schuyler Larrabee
 

I mask off the rest of the car somehow - tape, post-its, index card with a
hole cut in it large enough for just the shank, something - and then shoot
it with the rust color of the moment, which is generally NOT "rust" but a
darker color. Sometimes it's "greasy black" or whatever that color's
called, with another shot of engine maroon or something like that. The key
is to a) give them LIGHT shots, and b) to be sure the mask off the box, so
the centering action doesn't get screwed up. If you're managing to gum them
up, then you are using too much, way too much, paint.



SGL



Andy Harman asked:

I don't think I've ever seen this topic mentioned other than in passing.
Most of the best looking rolling stock I've seen has nicely rusted couplers
- whether they are Kadee #5s, 58s, Sergents, etc. I've been taken to task
on occasion for skipping this step on freight cars and locomotives alike.
There's a reason... if you see one of my pieces with nice rusty couplers,
chances are I just did them and next time I try to run the car, I'll end up
replacing the couplers.

How do you guys do an adequate job of rusting up a Kadee (if you don't use
Kadees, you can skip this question) so the damn thing still works?





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Tim O'Connor
 

Get a "bag clip" at the grocery store, a plastic clip used
to close potato chip bags...

http://www.google.com/search?q=6%22+bag+clip&hl=en&prmd=ivns&source=univ&tbs=shop:1&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=vFpyTYqROI-q8Aa7mLjKDw&ved=0CDcQrQQ

and put about 20 Kadees at a time in it, holding them by the
shank, and shoot (mist) rusty and grimy colors at them - no two
will look alike. A very light wash is all you need! You can keep a
whole bunch of painted couplers on hand.

Tim O'Connor

At 3/5/2011 10:13 AM Saturday, you wrote:
Andy,

I've never had issues with painting Kadees. I use the airbrush, any
paint; but I avoid shooting straight in from the sides or top, which
sends the paint right between the bearing surfaces. Shoot from above
at an angle, and below at an angle. Also, a couple of light (dry)
coats will keep the paint from pooling wet. Wet paint on the surface
allows it to draw between the bearing surfaces. You've got it down
when you don't have to do anything to make it work.

Hope that helps.
-Clark Cooper


Mike Smeltzer
 

Andy,

I've never had an issue with Kadee's after they were painted. I airbrush them as Clark mentioned, light coats and
not directly into and onto sides/tops. I normally use Floquil and thin it down to where it's more of a tint and I use a couple of different colors for weathering. As you do, I also cut my trip pins off. One thing I do prior to painting is to file off the seam line on the face of the Kadee knuckle. To me that's the one thing that stands out especially in photo's. Why go to the trouble of weathering and then leave that dang seam visible. I don't think that seams removal effects the operation of the coupler either way, it's just a personal thing that bugs me...

Mike Smeltzer

-----Original Message-----
From: Clark Cooper <csc@...>
To: STMFC <STMFC@...>
Sent: Sat, Mar 5, 2011 9:10 am
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Weathering Couplers





Andy,

I've never had issues with painting Kadees. I use the airbrush, any
paint; but I avoid shooting straight in from the sides or top, which
sends the paint right between the bearing surfaces. Shoot from above
at an angle, and below at an angle. Also, a couple of light (dry)
coats will keep the paint from pooling wet. Wet paint on the surface
allows it to draw between the bearing surfaces. You've got it down
when you don't have to do anything to make it work.

Hope that helps.
-Clark Cooper

On Mar 4, 2011, at 10:45 PM, Andy Harman wrote:

I don't think I've ever seen this topic mentioned other than in
passing.
Most of the best looking rolling stock I've seen has nicely rusted
couplers
- whether they are Kadee #5s, 58s, Sergents, etc. I've been taken to
task
on occasion for skipping this step on freight cars and locomotives
alike.
There's a reason... if you see one of my pieces with nice rusty
couplers,
chances are I just did them and next time I try to run the car, I'll
end up
replacing the couplers.

How do you guys do an adequate job of rusting up a Kadee (if you
don't use
Kadees, you can skip this question) so the damn thing still works? I
don't
care about magnetic uncoupling, I cut the trip pins off. But the
knuckle
has to work, and the spring has to work. 9 out of 10 times when I
try to
weather a coupler, it ends up being impaired. Not totally seized up,
but
to where it's just not reliable and if the train is backed, the
knuckle
will hang up at least part way and give me an unwanted uncoupling...
or it
will freeze shut and it's difficult to couple up. Maybe half the
time I'm
able to put a drop of solvent on the coupler and work the knuckle
back and
forth and get it working adequately, but often it's just too stubborn.

I've used acrylics, oils, lacquers, both airbrushed and brushed, dry
brushed - no matter what I do, by the time I've managed to get the
rusty
paint where it needs to be, some of it has bled into the jaw hinge
where
it's going to dry and cause problems.

How do you guys do it? I know most of you do run your stuff, and I
don't
think you change couplers every time in between an RPM show and an
operating session. Anything you could suggest to at least improve my
ultimate success to better than the 10 to 50 percent I'm getting
now, would
be appreciated.

Andy








[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


golden1014
 

Hi Andy,

I've had few problems with painting couplers. I paint them lightly with a basic dirt/dust color and then do the rust job with Bragdon's powders. Works great. I use plenty of the Kadee lube and occasionaly have to replace a spring, but that's it.

John

John Golden
O'Fallon, IL

--- In STMFC@..., Andy Harman <gsgondola@...> wrote:

I don't think I've ever seen this topic mentioned other than in passing.
Most of the best looking rolling stock I've seen has nicely rusted couplers
- whether they are Kadee #5s, 58s, Sergents, etc. I've been taken to task
on occasion for skipping this step on freight cars and locomotives alike.
There's a reason... if you see one of my pieces with nice rusty couplers,
chances are I just did them and next time I try to run the car, I'll end up
replacing the couplers.

How do you guys do an adequate job of rusting up a Kadee (if you don't use
Kadees, you can skip this question) so the damn thing still works? I don't
care about magnetic uncoupling, I cut the trip pins off. But the knuckle
has to work, and the spring has to work. 9 out of 10 times when I try to
weather a coupler, it ends up being impaired. Not totally seized up, but
to where it's just not reliable and if the train is backed, the knuckle
will hang up at least part way and give me an unwanted uncoupling... or it
will freeze shut and it's difficult to couple up. Maybe half the time I'm
able to put a drop of solvent on the coupler and work the knuckle back and
forth and get it working adequately, but often it's just too stubborn.

I've used acrylics, oils, lacquers, both airbrushed and brushed, dry
brushed - no matter what I do, by the time I've managed to get the rusty
paint where it needs to be, some of it has bled into the jaw hinge where
it's going to dry and cause problems.

How do you guys do it? I know most of you do run your stuff, and I don't
think you change couplers every time in between an RPM show and an
operating session. Anything you could suggest to at least improve my
ultimate success to better than the 10 to 50 percent I'm getting now, would
be appreciated.

Andy


proto48er
 

Guys -

I use brass couplers (Clouser) in "O" scale. This may apply if you are using a brass operating coupler in other scales. I first give the unassembled coupler parts a bath in the ultrasonic cleaner, followed by a short dip in brass blackener. Do not leave them in the blackener long enough to turn black - just long enough to turn brown. This is a very durable coating that does not interfere with operation.

A.T. Kott


Jim Betz
 

Andy,

I never use any weathering color "straight from the bottle".
To produce a rust tone try starting first with 1 part Floquil
Rust with 2 parts Floquil Tuscan (or Mineral Red, or Oxide Red).
Paint that on something and look at it. I taken HO parts I've
painted this color and put them on top of a proto coupler and
wheel face (without grime) and they "disappear". But I also
vary the 'formula' a lot ... some mixes have more tuscan, some
have both tuscan and oxide, some have some grey or black
mixed in, etc. My basic weathering philosophy is "variations
on the theme(s)" ... if you look at my freight cars they all
look the same (at first glance) ===> but then you will see
that the specifics of the weathering on any one car are
never the same as on any other car.

For couplers I often use either lacquer (Floquil) or acrylics
and just 'touch the faces' (and top) of the coupler a few times.
"A little dab'll do ya." I've used any amount of dilution from
right out of the bottle to an extremely thin wash. I often use
a few dabs of weathered/grimey black on top of the rust color.

I have also air brushed couplers. When I air brush them I
start by stuffing the shanks into some foam and then hit them
pretty much from all angles. Air brushing gets better
coverage. but I like the "effect" of an appropriately thinned
brush-applied wash better. Often I will use thin washes of
brushed on colors on couplers/wheels/whatever - that have
been air brushed first.

My first goal is to kill the shine. After that I want the
color(s!) to look "more appropriate". But, obviously, I
want them to operate -flawlessly- first and foremost. I
agree with your friends/buddies/hecklers who take you to
task on the color of un-weathered couplers.

****

Perhaps this will help ... don't cut the glad hands off until
the coupler is weathered - so you can use it to get everything
working correctly. Maybe "DCC" stands for "deferred coupler
clipping"? *G*
- Jim

P.S. I have no idea how/if you can weather a coupler brand
other than Kadees - the only thing I do with any other
brand is to toss them in the dust bin with the horn hooks.
OK, I admit it, sometimes I will take a properly
sized also ran brand and use it for roundhouse junk -
Oooops, I meant "details". And if I do that I will
paint/weather them before they go on the layout.


Andrew Miller <aslmmiller@...>
 

I spray paint straight from the bottle and have rarely had a problem. I usually paint from the side to avoid hitting the car end. Maybe that's the secret of my success. If I do have a problem, a little working of the coupler and perhaps replacing the spring, solves the problem.

You might try putting a drop of oil on the glad hand bearing points before painting to keep the paint from setting up in the bearings.

BTW my color of choice is Floquil Rail Brown.

BTW2 I know you love to run lots of passenger cars close-coulped, with diaphragms. With the glad hands cut off, how do you uncouple them??

Andy Miller

----- Original Message -----
From: Schuyler Larrabee
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2011 10:34 AM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Weathering Couplers



I mask off the rest of the car somehow - tape, post-its, index card with a
hole cut in it large enough for just the shank, something - and then shoot
it with the rust color of the moment, which is generally NOT "rust" but a
darker color. Sometimes it's "greasy black" or whatever that color's
called, with another shot of engine maroon or something like that. The key
is to a) give them LIGHT shots, and b) to be sure the mask off the box, so
the centering action doesn't get screwed up. If you're managing to gum them
up, then you are using too much, way too much, paint.

SGL

Andy Harman asked:

I don't think I've ever seen this topic mentioned other than in passing.
Most of the best looking rolling stock I've seen has nicely rusted couplers
- whether they are Kadee #5s, 58s, Sergents, etc. I've been taken to task
on occasion for skipping this step on freight cars and locomotives alike.
There's a reason... if you see one of my pieces with nice rusty couplers,
chances are I just did them and next time I try to run the car, I'll end up
replacing the couplers.

How do you guys do an adequate job of rusting up a Kadee (if you don't use
Kadees, you can skip this question) so the damn thing still works?

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Andy Sperandeo <asperandeo@...>
 

I spray Kadee couplers with various colors of Polly Scale thinned with distilled water per instructions (10 percent water) and 6 to 8 drops of Liquitex Flow aid per ounce of spray mix. I airbrush the couplers with several light coats of paint from different angles. My couplers still work after the paint dries.

If your's don't work after painting, you must be spraying too heavy a coat of paint. Remember, they're just couplers, and a perfectly uniform color isn't necessary and probably not even desirable.

So long,

Andy

Andy Sperandeo
Executive Editor
Model Railroader magazine
asperandeo@...
262-796-8776, ext. 461
FAX 262-796-1142


Gary Ray
 

Hi Andy,

I'm the rather new editor of the NMRA/PCR/Sierra Division publication Short
Line. I had emailed you but realize you are busy. Tony Thompson said I
needed to get permission from each person. Our recent contest has
weathering cars. The discussion on the STMFC Yahoo group was a perfect
addition. I would like to publish them in our Division newsletter and will
happily give credit. I've included your text below. I'll also give you the
link for the newsletter when it comes out.
Thanks for considering my request,
Gary Ray - "Short Line" Editor
Magalia, CA
(530) 873-0626

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of Andy
Sperandeo
Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 7:05 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Weathering Couplers

I spray Kadee couplers with various colors of Polly Scale thinned with
distilled water per instructions (10 percent water) and 6 to 8 drops of
Liquitex Flow aid per ounce of spray mix. I airbrush the couplers with
several light coats of paint from different angles. My couplers still work
after the paint dries.

If yours don't work after painting, you must be spraying too heavy a coat of
paint. Remember, they're just couplers, and a perfectly uniform color isn't
necessary and probably not even desirable.


Andy Sperandeo


Layout Tour
 

Andy,

I've airbrushed diluted Floquil and Polly Scale mixes
similar to those mentioned by Andy and Nelson on couplers and haven't found
any effect on coupling. I do leave the trip pins on and have been using
dual magnets to uncouple in op sessions for about 3 years. This video gives
some idea how they work http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPXqCHwoRlk

If you buy 10 or 20 packs of Kadees, you can attach the
shanks with masking tape to the edge of a 1x2 and spray them all at once.
Then you'll always have some handy when you need them. The cut out for the
shank in an index card works well for RTR cars, then you don't have to
disassemble them. I have to try Tim's recommendation for Bag Clips. Seems
they will work well for painting a lot of things.



Chuck


Andy Sperandeo <asperandeo@...>
 

Hi Chuck,

I made a painting fixture for couplers by screwing alligator clips to a strip of wood. I just clip a coupler into each one and then hold the wood strip to spray them. As an added refinement, I made a stand with an S-shaped strip of brass stock screwed to a block of wood, and screwed the strip with the clips on top of that. With that rig I can paint a bunch of couplers at one time and keep my hand out of the spray pattern (mostly).

I leave the pins on too, because on many parts of my layout I intend to uncouple magnetically. The latest version of the Kadee 209 electro-magnet can be concealed completely under the ties and still work perfectly.

Your layout looks nice on the video. If you've made any additions or changes since it appeared in RMC, why don't you send some photos to us?

Thanks for writing,

Andy


Andy Harman
 

First, I forgot to thank everyone who responded on this topic. I suspected
that my problem was more one of practice than technique, as most of you are
using the same basic methods I've already used... I just keep getting paint
where it's not supposed to be, and I've not had good results trying to
unstick a coupler once the jaw motion is impeded. Rarely do I have any
problem with the centering motion, just the jaw being either stuck or more
commonly, the action on it becmes to stiff for the spring to operate it.
About 40% of the time I can work it back and forth and get it going, but
seems like half of those stick again down the road after I've forgotten
about them.

I just painted a couple last night using a small brush and Floquil roof
brown straight from the bottle. So far so good. I also painted them
before mounting them, which allows me to better see what I'm doing and
control the flow of the paint. I will probably vary the colors and mix but
I think I'm better off using Floquil (as opposed to an acrylic) just
because it is easier to control and if it does get into the hinge, it
should be easier to work it back out. Thanks again for the suggestions.

Andy