Leeds Weeklyn Hill MPD

A 1960's Steam/Diesel shed set in the heart of Leeds


Weathering Blog 2 Equipment and Materials

Posted on January 20, 2013 at 7:50 PM


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.

Air Supply

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.

Work Station

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.


Categories: Weathering Guides

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In