MODELING: Lee Turner on Filters

SLSF view
Lee Turner uses many different techniques to weather customer’s equipment.  One method that he uses often to age the paint and lettering involves the use of filters.   A filter is a highly thinned paint that is sprayed on a model.  The paints are water-based acrylic.  Don’t try this with solvent-based paints.  Modelers who have worked on plastic aircraft and armor may already be familiar with the concept.  Some of the model paint companies sell premixed filters.  As you will see, Lee made his own tailored to typical railroad colors.
To illustrate the technique, Lee has provided an example of this technique via a couple of Western Maryland boxcar photos.   The filter is composed of 50% oxide red paint and 50% clear flat.  The filter mix is highly thinned and sprayed on the model. Once the filter was sprayed on over the decals then a wide flat brush damp with mean green was WM view
pulled vertically down the side to streak. A little extra attention was given to the lettering by removing some more of the filter until it gave a faded appearance.
The Frisco car shown at the top of this post was done with washes and the WM car was done with a oxide red filter, 50% paint,50% clear flat and highly thinned. Once the filter was sprayed on over the decals then a widWM roofe flat brush damp with mean green was pulled vertically down the side to streak. A little extra attention was given to the lettering by removing some more of the filter until it gave a faded appearance.
 To further illustrate the filter technique combined with traditional airbrushed highlights, Lee sent a series of photos covering each step of the weathering process.
Here is the Protocraft car airbrushed with acrylics and covered with a flat finish after decaling.

Here is the Protocraft car airbrushed with acrylics and covered with a flat finish after decaling.

The model was airbrushed with Tamiya Hull red mixed with MM Black.

The model was airbrushed with a filter composed of  Tamiya Hull red mixed with MM Black with clear flat.

The filter was scrubbed with Mean Green to loosen the spray. This was streaked down the sides.

The filter was scrubbed with Mean Green to loosen the spray. This was streaked down the sides.

Once the filter has dried, a spray of Burnt Umber as highlights on panel seams and corners.

Once the filter has dried,  spray on Burnt Umber as highlights on panel seams and corners.

Styrene mask used to highlight the panel seams. The Burnt Umber is airbrushed on.

Styrene mask used to highlight the panel seams. The Burnt Umber is airbrushed on.

Here is what the car looks like at this point in the process

Here is what the car looks like at this point in the process

CNW 7
The next step is to apply paint patches to the side. These are often done during shopping or during a reweigh. You may not see these on all cars but it is an important detail.

The next step is to apply paint patches to the side. These are often done during shopping or during a reweigh. You may not see these on all cars but it is an important detail.

Lee added a paint panel for a reweigh where it changed the weight.

Lee added a paint panel for a reweigh where it changed the weight.

This what the finished car looks like. The resulting weathering reflects a car that has been in service for a while without the benefit of fresh paint. The seams have been accented with colored pencils to create rust patches.

This what the finished car looks like. The resulting weathering reflects a car that has been in service for a while without the benefit of fresh paint. The seams have been accented with colored pencils to create rust patches.

I would like to thank Lee for his generosity in sharing these photos and techniques. Each of his methods can be done by most with practice.  He didn’t just started doing it.   Find some old car bodies and practice until you master each step.
Remember: JUST DO IT.
Happy Trails,
Gene
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12 thoughts on “MODELING: Lee Turner on Filters

  1. Very nice results. Thanks for the steps with examples.
    Question: what kind of color pencils might one use for accenting seams?
    Pierre.

    • Pierre
      The January 20, 2016 post covers the technique in some detail.
      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.

      Gene

  2. I just found your blog via the NEB&W FaceBook page. Nice stuff.

    One comment about Lee Turner’s excellent weathering. You/he mentioned using colored pencils and Prismacolor Premier markers for some small touches. Be aware that those markers and almost all markers are not lightfast. Almost all use dye based colors which fade, as do many colored inks.

    One brand of marker listed as archival with lightfast colors is the Pigma Micron markers. You can find them in art and craft stores. They have a limited range of colors, but do have burnt umber and burnt sienna as well as black. They have tips in different sizes like technical drawing pens.

    Also some brands of colored pencils in general and some individual colors of other brands colored pencils have varying degrees of lightfastness. Watercolor pencils in general tend to be less lightfast.

    This is not to criticize Lee’s great techniques and results, but just a caution that after spending a good chunk of time carefully weathering rolling stock, you may be surprised to find some of the effort fades away even if UV filtering topcoats are applied.

  3. Gene,
    I’m looking forward to trying Lee’s weathering techniques. Can you tell us what thinner he uses to make his filters and the extent to which he thins them?
    Thanks! Dick Scott

    • Distilled water is the preferred agent. It helps to add a drop of a wetting agent (liquid dish soap like Dawn or Kodak Fotoflo)
      Filters are applied over a gloss surface so the wetting agent helps to allow it to cover.

      Gene

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