You probably have noticed that the grime and dirt deposited on railway equipment shows the signs of crew members disturbed the film as they went about their day-to-day activities. I sent the above picture to Lee Turner and posed a question as to how he would create this effect. He responded with the following narrative and photos that illustrate his approach.
Here are Lee’s words:
Those scuff marks are visible in so many images and I have tried several ways of replicating the look with mixed results. It seems that it is a small enough detail that it is hard to make it “read” right to my eye at least.
There are other areas in railroading that show that same time of wear from crews, plug door box car door handles are usually clean from crews opening the door along with highway trailer door latches. Almost every photo of a GP-9 (and other road switchers) show an area on the short hood cab door side that has been wiped clean from the crew’s clothing while accessing the cab. This PS Robison photo taken in 1967 shows how the dirt and grime was rubbed off the long and short hoods of these Northern Pacific GP-7s.
For larger areas I’ll use Q-tips and mean green, then lip gloss applicators from the beauty supply store and finally a toothpick soaked in mean green for the smallest rubs. The best results are when done right after the weathering and before the paint dries and cures.
Here are several examples. The reefers and GN boxcar are Protocraft brass models, the SP car as I’m sure you recognize is a Chooch Ultra Scale car and the highway trailer is an Atlas RTR model. Hard for me to believe but some of these cars were done 8 years ago!
Thank you Lee for your words of wisdom on how to create this weathering technique.