LEE TURNER’S WEATHERING TECHNIQUE
Lee Turner provides this brief of his techniques. They first appeared in an email on the Proto48 Yahoo Group.
A quick rundown of the techniques used to weather the GN car after the base job was completed.
1) A medium grey brown was airbrushed on the sides highlighting seams and edges, this was blended with a wide flat brush dampened with thinner in vertical streaks to re-distribute and blend plus this left a rain streaked appearance.
2) A darker brown was used to hand brush scrapes and worn areas, once again blending as above.
3) Medium tan was drybrushed on the lower half of sides and ends and blended.
4) A very thin coat of burnt umber was airbrushed on the sides ends and roof to tie everything together
5) Final touches include torn scraps of cigarette paper on tack boards and chalk markings done with a sharp white artist pencil
Those are the basic steps but between each step the blending allowed to check progress against the prototype info to assure it was developing properly. I use acrylic paints, washes, artists markers and pencils and very little powdered pastels or chalks.
A few thoughts on weathering….
Treat each project as an individual and try to tell the story of its service life with re-weigh dates and the amount of weathering reflecting its time on the road and type of service. Prototype images are readily available on the internet and browse these images to look for prototype weathering patterns or “looks” and then try and duplicate these as closely as possible.
Many modelers continually advance their skills in building and or scratchbuilding but aren’t advancing their painting and weathering skills at the same rate leaving a gap between building and painting skills. So much rides on the final finish that even a RTR car can benefit greatly with a good weathering job that even the lack of detail is not picked up until closer inspection. How many times have you read a good model building article and when it gets to the weathering the author writes ” I wanted the car to appear nearly new so only a light coating of dust was airbrushed on” many times what he means is “I’m not confidant enough in my weathering skills and was afraid of ruining my model so I gave a quick dusting and left a real opportunity behind by not devoting time and skill to the final finish”. Of course some cars should appear as fairly new but not the whole fleet! Also using the same simple weathering makes your roster too homogenous.
No doubt about it weathering takes TIME, but if you’ve devoted countless hours building to that point don’t rush the final finish. Be patient and constantly assess if the results your getting are taking you closer to what you envision the final appearance to be. When I see a weathering article in the model press “Weathering cars and locomotives in ten minutes” I skip right by, there are no shortcuts that I’ve found that give me the results I’m looking for instantaneously.
Constantly try new techniques from other sources, military modelers have great techniques and products, Don’t be afraid to try your own ideas out. If you are using acrylic paints failed attempts can be removed quite easily. The larger your toolbox of tricks is the more distinctive your weathering will become. Keep in mind of telling the history of each car in its finish and some of the littlest things can have a great impact on visual interest. Use RTR cars to hone your skills so that there isn’t the mental pressure of trying new things on a scratchbuilt or highly modified piece.
In the end what you should strive for is each project standing out in its own unique appearance. Take the time and make the finish equal to your building skills.
LEE TURNER’S APPROACH TO RUST SPOTS
The rust spots were done with artist’s markers. Specifically the base rust spot was done with a Prismacolor Premier PB-61 burnt umber marker, a large double ended marker with thick and thin tips on the ends. For the rust streaking I used Prismacolor Premier brush tip markers in burnt umber and burnt sienna, these markers are more the size of a regular pen. The large marker has an ink that sticks well while the smaller markers can be blended and manipulated. After the rust scab is dry the burnt sienna marker is used to color around the scab and then a flat brush just damp with mean green is pulled straight down over the scab which gives a nice streak that fades as it goes away from the source. The damp brush can be used to refine a “halo” around the scab. Here is the boxcar I sent a picture of the other day when we were talking about the Vallejo wash. So far all the weathering done on the car sides is the dark brown and dark rust washes and the artists markers being used to highlight seams and crate rust spots. some selective air brushing and the sides are about done.
HERE IS ANOTHER APPROACH TO CREATING AN EFFECT
I have posted more of Lee’s words below on an approach to creating a recently repainted car.
Here is another creation that philosophically and appearance wise goes in another direction. This prototype Atlantic & Eastern Carolina 1937 AAR boxcar was delivered new to the Southern Railway. In 1954 a hundred cars were refurbished and provided to the A&EC. Because this is going to be on a layout set in the mid fifties this would be in fairly clean condition, only how do you do “fresh” and not look like an unweathered car? Instead of using darker rust tones to highlight seams and edges I used a earth toned grey spraying it through a slit cut into an index card. The edge of the panels closest to the seam side of the rivets was very subtly shaded with the same color all done trying to keep the paint off of the lettering to keep it bright and white. To reinforce that this car had been repainted within the last few months by using all of the appropriate dates for reweigh, repack and cots.
Still lacking something I cut squares of index cards approximately the size of the stencils used for the road name and herald that the painters would hang from the eaves of the car and gave a very light halo of white overspray around those items. Lastly overspray was added to the truck sideframes starting at the top over the original weathered sideframes, a little red overspray around the base of the couplers was the last detail. Did I achieve my goal?
I would like to thank Lee for sharing his modeling techniques with us.