|Posted on August 3, 2014 at 3:10 PM||comments (1)|
Hello and welcome to part 4 of the weathering blog series, it’s been a long time coming I am finally back behind the airbrush. First let me fill you in on some updates from my perspective, I recently (March) attended the excellent Missenden Abbey Weekend where I spent some time in the classroom with the weathering god Tim Shackleton picking up some useful pointers and experience, if you want to try one of these courses check out their website .
During my time there I got to try out a much better compressor – the Iwata Smart Jet Pro. This is so much better than my previous compressor, it has a built in reservoir to keep the air pressure constant at the PSI you set – as opposed to my old which didn’t even have a pressure gauge!
It also features this nifty little airbrush holder which is very useful for mixing paint inside the airbrush cup, previously I had to tip the old mix into a jar and mix it then pore it back in so it’s a time (and paint) saver. True it will set you back somewhere in the region of £250-300 but its worth it in the long run.
My other new purchase, again based on my experiences at Missenden Abbey is a portable spray booth, ideal for working indoors in the typical British weather, as opposed to waiting for sunshine to work outdoors, although I still will work outdoors when I can. The hose sucks all the fumes out so no complaints from anyone else about the smell. All you need to do is buy a simple table lamp to illuminate the work area and its perfect for indoor spraying.
I also bought an airbrush cleaning station, definitely not a cheap weekend with all these things. This device is so simple, you just fill it with water and insert the airbrush into the hole in the top and spray your cleaner through. The water helps reduce the thinners down so you can simply pour it down the sink. So now we have looked at my purchases lets turn to another newish toy, A Bachmann V2.
This model depicts one of Kings Cross “Super V2’s 60862 as she was in the 1960’s, double chimney and lined green wit the later crest, although quite old now it’s DCC upgrade made it suitable to finally allow Leeds Weeklyn Hill to welcome in these magnificent machines.
The first thing I did was to sound fit the model for use on shed (all our locos are DCC Sound). There was no room for the chip and a speaker in the loco so I put a large bass reflex in the tender and ran the wires through the cab to the tender, after testing and final reassembly I weathered the once bright red wires to help them blend in better.
The next stage was to waft a brownish mix of Humbrol 62 Matt Leather and 33 Matt Black around the frames of the loco, remember to get all around the axlexbox covers and any other detail.
Also don’t forget to turn the wheels half a turn at this stage, otherwise you will end up with shiny black patches on the wheels and this doesn’t look right at all. It doesn’t hurt to change the paint mixture slightly and have another pass or 2 over the existing weathering, either more brown or more black or possibly even some Humbrol 27004 gunmetal for a different shade. Remember locos didn’t go from clean to filthy in seconds it took weeks and months for the dirt and grime to take effect so variation in shades is key.
Don’t forget to go higher up on the tender back, this area would rarely have been cleaned so this would dirty.
Also the bufferbeam, this is one area they would probably clean to aid track workers visibility of the loco so once you have sprayed your mixture on just dip your paint brush (smaller the better) in some thinners and gently wipe some paint off. They wouldn’t go overboard and get the whole thing clean, just enough to let people see the red, so leave some dirt in the nooks and crannies.
The next area to tackle is the running plate, this would never be cleaned as a shiny clean surface would be a slippery surface and as such a danger to staff, here I am using a business card to mask the boiler. We don’t want total masking; just a hint of spray getting on into the corners will be fine.
Next we want to make the paint mixture darker so add more black (Gunmetal will be really good here) to spray the boiler and top of the loco, this area would get more soot than road dirt so black is better, but we still want some brown.
As before, weathering takes months in real life and between runs locos would be cleaned so once we get the paint on, we take it off again! Using a brush dipped in thinners we gently wipe away the still wet paint to reveal the original coat – this will leave some dirt in corners and other devices so its not a waste.
Simply repeat the above, spray paint on and wipe some off. As many times as you feel necessary to get the look you are after.
Personally I decided to go down a different road after a while and coated the boiler, cab and tender sides in Johnson Klear floor Polish, great for replicating the look of the cleaners rag. There was still some dirt left under this grime but it adds to the effect.
Although untypical of a V2 from Top Shed (the only picture I have seen of this locos is of it spotless on a freight train) I wanted a dirty engine so after giving it the cleaners rag effect I sprayed another coat or 2 (or 3) over the top of the loco to give it a well run look.
The final stage was to take my brush loaded with thinners again and clean the cabside numbers. A signalman would need to read the loco number for his log book so this is one part they would clean fairly regularly and all my weathered engines get the cabside numbers cleaned, although I do then put a thin mist of paint back over the top to suggest it has run since they cleaned them that morning.
And there we have it, one run down V2 that has done a fair few miles since the top shed cleaners got hold of her. No doubt Mr Townend will set them on her when she arrives back at the Cross later.
|Posted on June 17, 2013 at 8:45 AM||comments (0)|
Hello and welcome to part 3 of the weathering blog series,first of all I would like to apologise for the massive time delay between thisblog and the last. Real life events (namely my wedding) had to take priority oversome of my time – fortunately Leeds Weeklyn Hill was still able to get out toshows. One of the biggest issues with weathering is knowing what to do duringthe course of tackling your models, here I am going to give you some hints andtips on how to get the best enjoyment and results from your time with the brush.
1. Cleaning– seems obvious but keeping your airbrush in pristine condition will improveyour work, a clogged up airbrush will not perform as well as a clean one. Atthe end of each session flush the brush with thinners to get the paint cup andnozzle clean. Every so often strip the brush right down and clean each partthoroughly, the brush instructions should tell you how to dismantle it.
2. Patience– take your time; don’t expect perfect results over night. My work to datecompared to the professionals is proof of that but I can get close to theseguys someday.
3. Practice– old models that are not fit for running anymore are perfect for trying outideas on. You can find out what works and what does not before stepping up tothe real models. Always keep a couple of spare models around to try out ideason; models from your spare/scrap box are ideal for this.
4. Conquer your fear – we have all been there, these models cost £100 each and that isa lot of money to waste for the sake of a few drops of paint. But whatever youput on can be taken off again, practice on an old model (as above) first andwhen you come round to tackling something permanent you will know what to do.
5. Learn –if you make a mistake learn from it. We have all done it; it is how you takethat matter on board that will improve your work. Any mistake that is made canbe corrected either with more paint or taking it off and starting again
6. Don’t panic – mistakes can be removed; a piece of kitchen roll soaked in thinnerscarefully rubbed on the still wet paint should bring the original finish backto any model.
7. Take a Break – might sound crazy but every so often just step back from the model,go watch a bit of telly or read a magazine or whatever you fancy. Sometimes ifyou spend to long on the model you may miss something that needs doing and thisbreak can refresh your eyes to the subject.
8. Share your work – there are many great forums out there (such as RMWeb) or even someof the many groups on Facebook where you can post pictures of your progress andsomeone else may be able to identify any shortfalls in your work. Just rememberto take what they say as helping you improve and not a criticism of your work.
9. Enjoyment – make sure you are enjoying weathering; if you do not enjoy it you will notget the best results. Treat it as a hobby not work – we all know what work doesto us so try not to make any part of your model railway the same.
10. Find a suitable place to work – whatever you do, don’t spray paint indoors withthe windows shut on your wife’s best table cloth! Either purchase a spray boothand place it in your garage or shed or anywhere it won’t affect others.Alternatively work outside, you will get fresher air and no lighting bills topay while you work.
This brings us to the end of another blog;hopefully the next one will not take as long to produce. However with “summer” now here I may get out in the garden at long last and set up my workstationagain which means I can produce some how to guides to get you all started insteadof just talking about the basics. Leeds Weeklyn Hill is back on the road in 2weeks so hopefully I may get time to tackle 1 or 2 engines for the layout.
|Posted on January 20, 2013 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
Above – My tool kit. Apart from my compressor and big bottleof white spirits, everything I need is in this box. Handy if I need to travel with it as I can carry everything in one go.
Hello and welcome to part 2 of the weathering blog series,we have looked at my story and now I am going to talk you through some of the equipmentI use. Please note all opinions expressed in the following blog are my own andwhilst I might recommend a certain brand of paint or equipment that does notmean your own choice is wrong, this is more to help those looking to start findsome products that might be suitable and discover their own favourites.
I will however touch on what to look for when buying eachpart of your tool-kit to help you decide which product is right for you.
Above: Not only did my brush come with a hose, it came in this nice box to protect it.
As touched on in the last blog I own an AB-130 Airbrushwhich I paid £20 on eBay for – it was brand new when I got it and it came witha free hose so it was bargain. Whilst I am sure I could obtain better resultsif I spent more on a top of the range airbrush for now I feel this one willserve me well – as long as I keep it clean!
When looking for an Airbrush I cannot recommend a “double action” Airbrush enough, this will no doubt have some of you puzzling as towhat I mean. Put it simply an Airbrush uses air to move the paint from thebrush to the object, this can either be a single action where the air and paintflow are linked or double action where the air flow and paint are regulatedindependently. By having a double action airbrush you can achieve a more variedchange in the finish than you could with a single action airbrush withouthaving to stop and make adjustments to your brush, you simply increase ordecrease the air and/or paint to suit your needs.
Above: This will hopefully show the double action system inoperation. Press the trigger down starts the airflow and pull it back draws thepaint out of the cup. You can have as much or as little of each as you need,unlike me in these pics where I was on max to show the idea better.
Ok, you have your air brush but now you need to be able topower it, there are 2 methods open to you here cans or air or a compressor.Can’s of air are not a good way to go for weathering – the pressure will reduceas the can empties causing the paint to splutter and lose you time (and money)changing the can over – not to mention the wastage. A compressor will give youa constant supply of air whenever you need it and as long as you haveelectricity available will never run out.
Above: My compressor, still working after 10 years orso. Never let me down so I don’t intend to replace it just yet.
I have only had one compressor which has lasted me 10yearsalready – although it has not seen much use in the first 8 of those. I got itto power a cheap airbrush used for scenic painting which it did well and itprovides enough pressure to help me weathering. I did plan on getting a new onewhen I got a new airbrush but I decided at first to experiment with my currentone to get me started and it worked so I stuck with it and probably will untilit gives up the ghost.
Given its age I am not surprised to find it unavailable now(werther one if any of you want to try and find one but I couldn’t), however aquick look online shows compressors are still available some as cheap as £50and to me they all the same job so see what you can find for a reasonableprice. Plenty of craft shops should sell them, you won’t need the biggest onein the shop, just something small and simple that can supply approx 30psi willsuffice.
One of the most difficult choices is what paint to use, youcould go for use Humbrol Enamel, Humbrol Acrylic, Revell, Railmatch or PhoenixPrecision Paints. We have all probably worked with Humbrol Enamel on Airfixkits in the past so you have a start here on knowing what that is like to workwith. The choice is down again to personal preference, all paints should spraywell once suitable thinned so you just need to find what you like and thecolours they do that suit.
Predominantly I use Humbrol Enamel’s, mainly no; 33 MattBlack, 34 Matt White, 62 Leather, 85 Satin Black and 27004 Metalcote Gunmetalto create weathering. However I also use 27001 Aluminium, 27002 PolishedAluminium and 27003 Polished Steel to show batches of bare metal under paintthat has flaked off, I also have some Railmatch paints which I need to try out– one I have tried is 2415 Oily Steel which looks good on steam engine motionparts.
If you use Humbrol or Revell Paints you will need to mixthem together to get the required colour, but you can make them lighter ordarker to create subtle differences in your work. Phoenix and Railmatch paintswon’t need mixing to create the shades but it makes sense to lighten or darkenthem to again create subtle variations of the shades.
Whatever paint you use, you will need to thin it down so itdoes not clog your airbrush, some people will be thinners to match the paintthe use which can cost the equivalent of £15 litre (and you thought petrol wasexpensive!!) however, you can instead use ordinary white spirit from an DIYstore which costs £8 for a 4 litre. You don’t need to go for big name brands,the shops own budget stuff will do the job just as well.
The white sprits is also useful tool for cleaning theairbrush at the end of each session (VERY important!!!) so it is certainlyworth having. I keep 2 bottles to hand, a big 4 litre of clean white spirit forwashing out the brush and some used white sprits which comes in handy forthinning paint.
Above: This is an unopened pack of DCC Concepts powders“shades of grey” each pack contains 4 pots, a brush, Q-Tips and Cotton Buds soyou have everything you need to get started.
Some people will say paints are best, some will say powdersgive the best results. Personally I think the 2 combined is the best wayforward, paint is great for large areas but the powders can really help sealthe deal as it were. I have tried a couple of makes of powders but the one’s Ireally like are DCC Concepts powders, they come in a pack of 4 pots each with adifferent colour or shade in along with some cotton buds and a small brush towork on the powders with. Most modelshops will stock these so they are not a problem getting hold of and the rangeis vast from white to dark red’s and blacks – every colour you would need todirty up a model.
Airfix have recently launched their own set of powders whichare getting good reviews in the model press so I would like to give these a tryat some point.
Above: The inside of a Hornby Sealion Ballast Wagon donewith powders. A mixture of dry and rich rust along with some clay & earthand some different Grey’s achieved this effect. I will try and do a blog oneday showing how it was achieved.
For some people the ideal work place is their garage or shedin the warm and dry utilising a spraybooth, others who don’t use an airbrushmight get away with working on the dining table (if their better half does notsee!) but for me the best place is outdoors.
I bought my first house last year and with it came a massivesouth-west facing garden, this offers me ample space, light and warmth (as longas the sun is out) to work on an old plastic table. Ok this may not be ideal asit means it is now 3-4 months since I last did any weathering but the light isfree and it stops you making a mess of the house. If I had somewhere I couldset up a spraybooth and not have any problems I probably would get one to dosome smaller finer touches in and leave the bigger stages till the warmernights.
There is nothing worse than having to handle a freshlypainted model and ruin your handiwork when you want to turn it round. You canbuy a turntable from places you would buy an airbrush from for about £5, butthese seem to be up to 25cm in diameter, which I think can be a bit short forsome models. I bought a lazy Susan from IKEA for a few pence more and this was39cm diameter so perfect for larger models. All I did was nail a piece of trackto it and it does the job perfectly. Don’t buy good track for fixing to thetable as it will get covered in paint and not be useable after a few sessions, Ijust picked an old piece of track out of the spares box for the job and cut itto length.
Although the idea of weathering is to put paint onto amodel, sometimes there are places you don’t want paint to go but not totalavoidance, this is where you make up masking cards. A good example of this isfor paint on the running plate but only partial smattering on the boiler. Thisis a good use for old business cards (in my job I get plenty of people give metheirs so they find a way into my tool box), train tickets or any other typesof card.
They can be used to create particular shapes such asstraight line streaking on boilers or cover up windows etc. so they remainclean whilst weathering.
Whilst you won’t use it much whilst working it is a valuabletool away from the work station. Once you start weathering, the way you look ata photograph or engine will change. You will start to notice bits of dirt onlocos you previously thought of as clean; you will also see patters emerge suchas what colours appear where and which are the dirtiest parts. There are plentyof colour photos of engines from the 1950’s onwards to give you an idea of whataffects would occur on any engine but it would be even better to get nice close up shots of all the intricate shades and patters that appear. A good example of this is the pics I put in the last blog of Wilbert.
This is where your camera comes in, when you are visiting either a preserved railway or out on themain network, take a look around you and see what you can find. There will beplenty of engines looking a bit grimy at the end of a busy gala weekend whenthe cleaners have not had time to tackle all the engines and the days work hastaken its toll. Take as many pics as you can these can prove invaluable whenplanning your next session.
That is all the equipment you should need covered. Next time I will look at some hints & tips I have learnt that should help you all out.
|Posted on January 9, 2013 at 7:40 PM||comments (0)|
Welcome to a new series of posts on here about the subjectof weathering. Anyone who has done theirown weathering can probably relate to my story of how it began, why I startedand what I have done, I am hoping that by telling my story over the past year Ican help some people thinking of starting to have a crack at it or those whohave started to keep at it. I will in future posts look at hints & tips,how to weather a model and answer any questions you might have. Before we beginwith my story
First of all lets take a look at how the railways were inthe 1950’s and 60’s (the era the Weeklyn Hill Model depicts). Cleaners were arare commodity and those that were around would focus on the top link expressengines rather than freight or tank engines, even then not all the top linkwere clean – my Dad grew up by the East Coast Main Line just south of Durhamand the first time he saw a green A4 he commented “they look nice, they shouldpaint them all like that” totally unaware that under the soot and muck they wereall green. Steam engines are notoriously filthy machines, they chuck out soot,smoke, ash, grease and oil which when combined create some wonderful murkycolours.
Above. RSH Austerity Wilbert runs aroundits train at Bishop Auckland West on the Weardale Railway, at first glance thisloco as you would expect from a now preserved loco appears to be clean…
Above. But appearances can be deceptive.Ash and water has left some streaking on the front end and in a small area causedthe paint below the smoke box door to peel away and rust to be exposed. The cabroof and boiler top is sooty and dirty – cleaners would not often go this high.The springs are rusty, the frames have some dirt and the cab steps have exposedmetal. This just goes to show that no engine should be totally spotless, unlessmodelled just out the works and not even had a fire lit yet or perhaps about topull the Royal Train.
Model railway engines on the other hand are often portrayedas clean; their plastic factory finish is given away by a clean look which canspoil an otherwise excellent model, a few layers of suitable shades of paintcan disguise this and create a better looking model than before. Now we havelooked at the why, let us look at my how…
One year ago I took the plunge and started to weather itemsof engines, rolling stock and buildings for Weeklyn Hill, too many commentsabout the coaling tower and how clean it was started to water a seed that I hadalways had an interest in. To me a model railway at an exhibition needs to bemore than engines straight out the box onto a piece of track, you need to makethem your own.
I had renumbered a few locos to suit the layout already sothis was a start but even then there was something lacking and when reading anissue of Hornby Magazine in about November 2011 there was an article by agentleman called Tim Shackleton (you will see this name throughout these blogs)on the basics of weathering and I was hooked instantly. I decided my new yearsresolution would be to learn how to weather, I was already a subscriber toHornby Magazine so getting the articles was not a problem (they are stillpublishing them now so there is plenty of material for me here), I also boughtTim’s book Aspectsof Modelling: Weathering Locomotives and read it cover to cover severaltimes and his DVDwhich again I watched over and over. This was all well and good but by now itwas March and I had not done anything apart from a few wagons with a cheapairbrush that was not the right tool for the job.
I decided time for reading only was over and I would notlearn a thing if I did not pick up some new tools and get practicing. In hisbook, Tim recommends an Iwata airbrush which he uses, all well and good butthis will set you back over £200 – not ideal for a beginner. He does also sayif you want something a bit more low key to tray an AB-180 for more in theregion of £50. I however managed to pick up an AB-130, which is very similar,for £20 with a free hose to connect to a compressor.
This now gave me the equipment to get started but first ofall I wanted to try the airbrush out to get used to the feel and how it worked.Two old Lima locos that no longer worked gave up their nice paint for a coat ofwhite as testers. I tried general over spraying and trying to get up close tosmaller detail to see how it worked and quite quickly felt that I could do thejob required with this tool. However I felt that next stage was to do a properjob on something a bit simpler, so I rescued some old Thomas coaches and wagonsfrom storage in the attic and repainted their new yellow roofs to bright white(just as they were 20-odd years ago). At least if nothing else they weresomething I could call progress even if I had unweathered them so to speak.
Above. The first wagons I ever weathered,after retouching. Originally I used Phoenix Precision paints – frame dirt, roofdirt, oil leakages and light and heavy rust to weather the wagons. But I did not like the finish (apart from the leaking oil from the filler caps) so I wentover it with a mixture Humbrol paints which seems to be much better.
The success with these lead me to re-do the original wagonsI had weathered for Weeklyn Hill with a few more thrown in off the home layoutfor good measure. I think doing them on mass works as it saves cleaning thebrush as much but you should still try to make them all slightly different.
By now we were into April and the layout was approaching itssecond booking of the year with no weathering to show off yet. I decided tobite the bullet and go for the biggest but probably easiest to weatherprojects, namely the coaling tower and ash plant. For these all I did was givethem a coat of brown/black mix and gently streak it downwards with a brushsoaked in white spirit. The work done at least allowed the 2 structures to bemore authentic in the shed.
House moves and wedding preparations then got in the way fora month or 2 but in August I was back out with the tools and tackled 2 steamengines, an LNER O4 2-8-0 and a Midland 3F 0-6-0. I also did the bottom half ofan A3 and a Jubilee whilst the airbrush was out. Both the first 2 locosreceived a heavy coast of grime that would suit any freight loco in the late50’s early 60’s and made their debut at Shildon show where they received a fewcompliments.
Above. The first 2 weathered steam locosin the fleet. GCR O4 63635 and Midland 3F 43762 show off their true colours,compare these to the shade in the photos of any pic of the models as sold andyou will see the difference a coat of grime can make. Humbrol paints and DCCConcepts powders did the job here.
Now after finally breaking cover on Face book and Twitter I decided to write some blog posts about my experiences. This is the end of partone, but join me soon for part 2 where I will look at equipment and materials.