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Weathering Your Model Trains

weathered box car

Why should you weather your model trains?

If you are just getting started with model trains, or you have been enjoying this hobby for a long time, there are many different things that you can do to make your model train layout look more realistic.

You may have already spent a lot of time making sure that your models are to scale, but if you want your model railroad to look real, you have to avoid it looking too new!

Having objects in your train set look too shiny or too new can be quite distracting.

This is why you need to think about how to weather them.

Weathering is the process by which you can make new objects look distressed and more worn.

It can be instrumental in how you take your model train set to the next level.

One product that you should have on hand when you are thinking about weathering metal objects on your train set is a can of Rustall.

This is a simple aerosol spray that will allow you to put touches, or even whole finishes of rust on various bits of your model set. It works best on a surface that has been primed or that otherwise has some tooth to it, allowing the mixture to settle.

When you spray something with Rustall, you’ll have a great look of rusted metal and the more you spray on, the more weathered the object looks.

When you are thinking about adding brick buildings to your model train layout, think about how you can make the bricks look even more realistic.

Take some diluted latex paint in gray or buff and brush it carelessly across the face of the brick.

Then take a rag and wipe the surface off while it is still wet. The paint stays in the channels between the brick when you do this and defines some bricks more than others.

When was the last time that you saw a roof that was perfectly shingled and detailed, especially when you are looking at older buildings?

You want to give your model train layout a homely and well worn look.

Using a craft knife, or a sharp flat object, gently pry up some of the shingles on your model train building. Missing shingles are a little much, but if you start prying some of the shingles out of their beddings, you will give more texture to the building as a whole.

One important tip to remember when you are painting on finishes is to let gravity help you and guide you.

Think about painting on a finish and having it drip a little.

This can look great, because in real life paint usually drips down.

However, if you are holding your structure upside down, this creates a drip pattern that is very different to what it should be in real life!

Take a moment to look at your finishes and to make sure that you are getting the drip pattern that you need.

Weathering is great fun and requires no special skills, just a willingness to give it a try.

Start with an old model or even some scrap plastic, until you are more confident.

By observing the older buildings in your area you will notice how the elements have faded the paint, corroded the metals, rotted the timber, etc.

This will give you many ideas that you can apply to your model train buildings.

Weathering your model train buildings, locomotives and cars will massively improve the realism and appeal of your model railroad.

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About Dan Morgan

Dan Morgan is on a mission to encourage more people to give model railroading a go... There is just no better hobby in the world!

One Response to “Weathering Your Model Trains”

  1. Hi, thanks for some good comon sence weathering tips. I am just starting to weather a few items, and like you said, just try it. i have never heard of Rustall, but now i am definatly going to look for it. thanks, John Buckley.

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