MODELING: Lee Turner’s Technique

Recently, Lee Turner shared a technique had developed for creating a dramatic of the aging of metal and wood.  Dissimilar materials respond differently to environmental factors.  Wood versus metal produces different patinas that create an interesting appearance.  Lee has been working on this approach to create this appearance.

An involved painting project like this needs some color photos to work from. That way you see what the end goal looks like and you can try different techniques to achieve it. if you keep working the paint in small layers it is possible. Here is an image from a book that shows what the inspiration was. Since the build of this old resin car wasn’t perfect it was an excellent candidate for experimental techniques to lure the eye away from the less than perfect areas
After completing construction of the car it was primed with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer in a spray can to give a solid base for the work to come. After the primer dried a dark rusty brown was sprayed over all metallic parts of the carbody not paying any attention to keeping it off the wood siding. It was sealed for future weathering with Krylon Clear Flat.
For coloring the wood a range of red and earth tone colors were chosen from the craft paint aisle at Michael’s Craft store along with some plastic six pot trays. Four red shades and two earth tone colors were put in the tray with a drop of “wet water” to keep them from drying out. Individual siding boards were painted one at a time mixing the shades of browns and reds for each board. The craft paints are a little transparent but the dark brown overspray gave even more variety to the individual boards. Remember, except for partial board repairs the boards run from end sheet to door post so the color should stay consistent for each. The side door was done in the same fashion just with wood colors as if a different species of wood shed all the paint off.
 The lettering was faded by using 800 grit sandpaper to fade the decals while on the carrier sheet. The decal is then covered with Microscale Liquid decal film to hold it together. This makes them very fragile and they must be handled carefully After applications of setting solution a dark brown wash was applied to the lettering and blended so that the white wasn’t so bright. A fine tip brush and all the base colors fixed any areas that didn’t look right.
A light blue gray was drybrushed over all metal components to get an old rust look where it actually starts to look bluish gray from sky reflection.
Here are a couple shots of an Intermountain USRA composite gondola. The same treatment was applied to this model.
One thing that has amazed me about Lee is his ability to visualize the color and effect and apply it to the model.  His photography always has little surprises.  A lot can be learned by studying his methods.   Lee has been very generous in sharing his work and his techniques used to create the look.
Thank you again for making us a better modeler.

WEATHERING: Lee Turner Tutorial on Diesels

I have made an adminstrative change to some of the previous posts on weathering.  I have created a new catagory called “Weathering”.  This will allow you to view the numerous posts on weathering and techniques used.  To see this grouping you need to click on the “Menu” button on the front page.  Then click on weathering on the drop down list.

You can sort through the many years of postings by catagory if you choose.  You can also search using a key word or title.


In response to a question by one of the list members, Lee created the following material to show how he finished the Sata Fe GP-20 shown in a previous post.

The first step was to dry brush a light blue lightly over the hood sides mostly in the center of doors and panels. This replicates the fading and chalking of the paint from heat, sunshine and harsh chemicals used in cleaning the locomotive. The cab and nose should be treated much lighter as it doesn’t have the heat from the prime mover. If there are any areas that are too stark or cross into the yellow blend with a brush dampened with Mean Green.
B2 Next the same dry brushing was done with the billboard lettering using Vallejo dark sand. Also lightly drybrush the hood louvers just highlighting the edges of the louvers.
Vallejo dark rust is dry brushed over hood latches, hinges and door edges to make them contrast against the yellow and to darken the blue areas.
 Model Master Acryl raw sienna is then dry brushed across the roof highlighting and creating contrast with the roof color. The pilots and walkways should get a good scrubbing with this color but go lighter on the hoods and frame sides.
After the raw sienna go back with the dark rust and blend the two. It still may be a little too stark at this point but a very thin Model Master Acryl burnt umber lightly misted on with an airbrush will bring it together.
Vallejo dark brown wash is lightly applied over the vertical surfaces of the hood and frame and allowed to dry.
The excess wash is cleaned off with a q tip dampened in Mean Green leaving a little in the cracks and crevices. Note also that the rubber gaskets around the number boards have been painted flat black
These Mig Products are used for a slightly textured rust effect. The streaks on the frame sides were done with tracks wash for darker rust and streaking rust for lighter streaks. The streaks were blended with a brush dampened in mineral spirits as these mig products are a petroleum based product. To get the rust texture around the hinges a spot of either of the two washes is placed around the hinge and powdered pigments are deposited in the wet wash. Once it has dried light brush off the excess pigment and it will leave a slightly textured rust spot. This weathering shows the effects of battery acid spillage in the battery boxes which is very corrosive. The white stains are Vallejo white wash to simulate the baking soda and water used to flush the acid out of the enclosure.
B7.2 This gives a better idea of what the battery box door looked like after the previous step.
Mud splashes on the pilot were done with Mig Products dry earth splashes. It is a very thing paint with thicker, coarser pigment. It can be flicked off the bristles of a stiff brush at where the wheels would spray mud from an adjacent car or locomotive
Here are a few touches you can add to any diesel model to improve its appearance.
A piece of clear plastic sprue is heated with a lighter or candle and stretched.
The tapered sprue is forced into the marker light opening making a mark how deep it fits.
Trim the excess srue past the depth mark and heat with a lighter while rotating the sprue. This will give you a nice dome shaped lens
Here is the finished marker lens, nicely domed and clean and shiny from the heat
Trim the excess length of the sprue and darken all the edges except the face.
Using a white glue, canopy glue or Testors clear parts adhesive glue the lens in place.
For the number boards cut them to size from a clear material, my favorite is .020 Lexan from Clover House. Using the .020 material and placing the numbers in reverse on the inside of the sheet makes the numbers look deeper and no decal film on the face. Add the decal numbers face down and backward on the inside of the glass, check for straightness and correct orientation by looking through the front of the glass
After the decals are set with decal setting solution and have dried, darken the back side and edges with a black Sharpie pen.
Add the precut and dried number boards into the opening with clear adhesive.
  While I cannot cover every brush stroke I think this covers the major techniques used. Keep in mind that each step of the way includes blending and fading to bring the weathering together.
With the exception of the Mig Products all else was done with water based acrylic paints using Mean Green cleaner as a solvent for removing or blending mistakes.
Lee Turner
Thank You Lee for this excellent guide to weathering diesel locomotives.

WEATHERING: North of the Border By Lee Turner

The CN car was painted a dark red brown mixed from Model Master acryl colors Rot Braun (German camouflage color, red brown) and leather with a couple drops of burnt umber to darken it further. Not all colors should be lightened! After paint and the decals had 24 hours drying time the sides were given a heavy wash of Vallejo dark brown wash and when dry most was removed with Mean Green dampened paper towel working from the center of the panel to the edges in a vertical motion. This left the seams, rivets and edges darker and blending into the brighter color in the center of the panel. A thin mixture of MM Leather was sprayed in the center of the panel for highlights and thin Burnt Umber was used to darken riveted areas further. This left the lettering very dark and dull after all the steps above. A microbrush, a tuft of fiber on a plastic stick was used with Mean Green cleaner to clean up the lettering. I left the grime on the green of the leaf as it didn’t stay clean like the lettering. Final steps were air brushing the repack patches and reweigh areas using index card mask’s. Over the capacity data I sprayed right over the lettering and then lightly cleaned the red from the restencilled caapacity. This gave tha appearance of lettering that bled
 after being applied. Many roads did this outside in rain or snow or whatever. Some white wash was used to show the lettering bleeding.
  The CP car was painted with Model Master Rust, Rot Braun and some Guards Red.A lighter coat of Dark brown wash was done to the sides and even more was cleaned off just leaving a hint of shadow. Then a light brown wash (Vallejo European Dust) was applied from an almost dry brush in vertical streaks. Lastly the rivets and seams were dry brushed with Vallejo Dark Rust. Once again the lettering was cleaned up with a micro brush and Mean Green. Finishing touches were re-sprayed repack patches, remains of paper door seals on one door and remains of a paper grain door behind the other door.
The door seal paper residual is made with cigarette paper like the brand Zig-Zag.   I suspect that most purchasers of Zig-Zag never though of using it to simulate door seal paper.
Lee Turner is a resourceful modeler who has innovated many techniques for modeling.  The paper is very creative.
By the way, the boxcars are imports from Protocraft and are based upon the 1937 AAR design with a Murphy flat roof, Dreadnaught ends and sill steps on the end ladders.  The Canadian roads bought huge numbers of this design.
Thank you Lee for sharing your art with us.

WEATHERING: Mike George shares his Weathering Technique

If you have been in this hobby for any length of time, you probablt been exposed to dozens of techniques for achieving the “well worn” look to your models.   Mike George was kind enough to share how he weathers house cars for his Louisville & Nashville branch.

The base coat was plain old Testor’s Gloss Brown Enamel, toned down with some white. I kept that basic mixture after airbrushing the model and then added more white and more of the base brown to add the subtle differences in color on the siding. Next came a thin wash of Testor’s black followed by dry brushing with a small amount of the base color in white. Then it was finished with Dullcote after applying Norm’s excellent decals.  It is Mike’s favorite car as far as weathering and overall color. It made me realize we paint most of our equipment way too dark for viewing in a normal layout room.

This same car is in the lead photo of the Model Railroad Planning 2019.  Mike has built several L&N prototype boxcars.   The double sheathed 36′ car is an example of his focus on prototype and using lighter colors to show all of the details.

The L&N had a sizable fleet of single sheathed boxcars based upon an ARA design.  Mike’s rendering of this important member of the fleet is shown below.

It seems that we obsess on getting the right shade of freight red or brown.   Mike uses Testors paint which is readily available in a good number of store.  He has avoided the costly search for certain brands of paint that is matched to car builder drift panel.   I am guilty of that myself.   The reality is that we need to reduce the intensity of colors for indoor viewing.  Adding gray or white shifts the basic color dramatically.   We all should consider buying a few basic colors and blending the appropiate shade rather than spending $$ for a one ounce bottle and more than that to ship it.   Lee Turner uses about five or six basic colors to create all his wonderfuls paint jobs.


Thanks for stopping by





WEATHERING: Rusty Old Thing

Modern rolling stock can be rather beat up and in need of paint and repair.  This DT&SL covered hopper is an excellent example of deferred maintenance.    The car shown above is a model.  It is a Lee Turner masterpiece.

Here is Lee’s description of how he transformed a three model into a exquisite representation of the prototype:

This is a Lionel 2 bay hopper from 1993. All grab irons were replaced with wire, the roofwalks were replaced with photo etch and hopper loading hatches and outlet grates were scratchbuilt. The existing graphics were wet sanded to wear through the lettering. The roof was done with Mig “tracks wash”, a dark brownish red and while still wet was dusted with different rust colored dry pigment. The excess pigment was brushed off and some shading and highlights were added with thin burnt umber in the airbrush. the sides had rust chips (Vallejo dark rust) free handed and the streaks were from Mig oil brushers and Mig streaking rust, a brush dampened with mineral spirits blended and extended the streaks. More streaks from the eaves were done with an index card with fine vertical slits cut into it using Model Master Acryl red earth  and red earth mixed with M.M. rust. I was quite pleased with the results even though there are some discrepancies from the prototype it still “looks” right.

This is an amazing example of Lee’s work.   He continues to show new and interesting techniques.   Thank you for sharing.



WEATHERING: Weathering with Oil Brushers

Weathering has always been a mystery to me.  I have tried Floquil, Poly Scale, pigments, Vallejo acrylics and now MIG Ammo oils.  The last three are now my go-to approach.  I have found it useful to layer effects using acrylic washes followed by washes of oil.  I must credit Lee Turner for showing me the way forward with weathering.  He is the master of technique with a real touch for picking out details and highlights. Thank you Lee!

The picture shown above has been weathered with the MIG Ammo oils.   The oil washes are easy to control and dry slower than acrylics so corrections can be made if necessary.  The car’s underframe had been weathered with Vallejo acrylics. I added a few more touches with the oils.

Here is the tank car before being attacked with Oil Brushers.


MIG Ammo has a good range of colors available but these are the one’s I have found useful.  You can check out the full range here.  By the way, I have been buying my Oil Brushers on Amazon.  Free shipping beats the charge that most online shops charge.

From the left to right here are the basic supplies:  ordorless mineral spirits, jar hold basic mineral spirits with a few drops of Japan Drier and the individual Oil Brusher tubes.  I use a sheet of plastic as a pallet.  I put a dab of the oil with the tube brush on the plastic.

Wet the brush with mineral spirit and touch the edge of the oil.  Capillary action will draw some of the paint into the brush.  Test to see how it will flow onto a surface like scrap plastic.  I suggest you use small amount on the brush until you can get the feel of the medium.

Washes on a tank is best started at the top seem and draw it down to the frame.  It will be two strokes since the railing gets in the way.  The basic washes are dust and dark brown.  The colors will flow together which helps create subtle variations. I did use a couple highlights of rust in a few area on the tank and dome.

Another application for Oil Brushers that has been effective for me.  It is weathering flat car decks.  I use the same pallet of colors on flat decks.  I use Lee Turner’s approach of painting the boards with variations of gray and tan that are mixed from acrylic paints like Model Masters.

This is a repeat of previously published Lee Turner on wood decks.

Here is Lee’s completed Red Caboose deck.   The idea is to not use lots of different colors such the it looks like stripes on a cheap suit.

Now my basic approach is the same as Lee.

I applied Oil Brushers to blend the variations in plank colors.  I used the dust and dark brown to the acrylic color base.

So this completes my story on using Oil Brusher oil weathering models.  How you were able to learn a few things.


MODELING: Santa Fe All The Way

Bill McConnell is the proud owner fof this beautiful ATSF waycar. The modeling is the work of master modeler Lee Turner. Lee used a Pecos River brass import as the basis for this modern caboose. The model is equipped with Protocraft couplers. As with all of Lee’s work, there are weathering accents added to the red paint scheme. The finish shows signs of oxidation and runoff of dirt and grime collected in road service.

The waycar is trailing one of Lee’s own Lehigh Valley cars. They are both stunning models.

By the way, Bill has an incredible GP-9 that he built up the drive with battery. Lee did the finish work on the model. He is the owner of O Scale Turnouts, INC.

Thank you Lee for sharing your work with my blog.


WEATHERING: Protocraft Gondolas finished by Lee Turner

Protocraft imported a series of 53’6″ gondolas from Korea.   I have spent some time looking them over and decided that these are the most accurate scale model of a gondola imported in any scale.  The cars are accurately designed to follow the car builders drawings and photos.  Protocraft captured the right details for each railroad series modeled.  Hand brakes, truck types and stake pockets are all there and done right.  While they may be a bit pricey, they do reflect the state of art and the cost of manufacturer in Korea.  I would suggest you don’t miss out.  They are so superior to the Lionel, Atlas/Roco and US Hobbies models that it is hard to imagine owning any of these cars.

Fortunately, modelers have purchesed these cars and sent them to Lee Turner for finishing.  The models were painted by Lee with his classic weathering touches.  The steel interiors are very realistic in the way he handled the rust effect.  Loads are a favorite detail Lee likes to add to him customer’s models.  He is very creative in coming up with credible items.

I really like the finish and weathering on the Western Pacific gondola shown below.

The orange corner is correct for identifying the “B” end of the car.

Here is a view of the inside of the WP car showing dunnage left over from the last load carried.  The working stake pockets permit this detail to be added.

Lee uses Model Masters acrylic paints on all of his models.  He finds that they are durable even on brass.  Most of the colors seen are blends of a few basic shades of paint. Even the rust is created by mixing basic colors.  There are lots of products out there that can provide the basic colors in acrylic formulations.  I have used MIG/Ammo and Vallejo with decent effect.  Practice is needed to approach the beauty of Lee’s finish.

I am grateful that Lee shared pictures of his recent work on these spectacular Protocraft gondolas.

Thanks for stopping by


WEATHERING: Ford 1932 Model B and Screens

The Studebaker Silver Hawk (alias Lee Turner) has shared some of his work again. The is time is a couple simple projects that you might find useful.

Lee built this old Renwal 1/48 scale kit for a Ford Model B. The Renwal kits are really pretty nice with a few enhancements. The headlights were reworked and a windshield wiper was added. Notice the sticker on the windshield. Nice touch!

The body was painted with a gloss acrylic. A pin wash of Vallejo European Dust wash in seams and gaps brought out the detail. To get that sheen the body was rubbed down with a q-tip just dampened with the Mean Green cleaner I use all the time. It imparts somewhat of a shine with swirl marks. Sheen is a very important component in modeling something that is fairly clean and shiny but still shows age and realism. That sheen contrasts nicely with the canvas roof insert and rubber running boards in a flat finish.

The second topic is how to make and install “screens” on a piece of rolling. Scaling down window screens to 1/48 is a challenge. Lee may have found the ideal approach.

Hallmark imported a classic steel drovers caboose based upon an ATSF design. Lee built frames out of styrene and used Archer 3/16″ scale simulated screen vent decal (AR35380)to create the screen.

The optical effect makes you think you are looking at a screen grid. The decal was fixed with diluted white glue. Lee added matresses inside. He made them from Durham wood putty. I think the overall effect is quite realistic to the eye.

Thanks for taking a look.


WEATHERING: Lee Turner Strikes Again!

Lee is a creative and resourceful modeler that has been generous to share his technique with  this blog.   I sure have learned a huge amount over the last several years.  Hopefully, you have taken away a few techniques that Lee has shared.

How many of you remember Frank Ellison?  He wrote a number of a profound article that shaped much of the hobby we enjoy today.  Model Railroader published much of the tales of Delta Lines and Frank’s creation of a functioning railroad.  One of the industries on the Delta Lines was a packing house called Richmond Packing in the town of Raymondale. Lee created a meat reefer lettered for Richmond Packing as a tribute to Frank Ellison.  The model is a modified Atlas import. The lettering style reflects the post-1938 ban on billboard advertising schemes. By the way, the model is a keeper.  Lee will add this model to his roster.

This pair of of Sacramento Northern F-3 units reflect the work of several modelers.   Mike Mangini built these locomotives from P&D Hobbies kits.   Mike painted the SN silver and orange colors matched to actual EMD paint chips (Dan Pantera loaned them to Mike).  The lettering was designed and printed by Gary Schrader.

It turns out that Mike used to watch these units going through Stockton while he attending the University of the Pacific.   John Ford suggested that Mike contact Lee to age the showroom new look.  Now the units have a “well used” look.

Love that Western Pacific/ Sacramento Northern paint scheme.  As a long-time resident of Cali, I have observed the orange and silver locomotives many time and sure miss them.  Now all we see are the darn yellow things.

Take care,