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Weathering & Detail of Plastic Models

WEATHERING & DETAIL OF PLASTIC MODELS


© 2005 H&R TRAINS INC - Don Morris

 

WHAT IS WEATHERING?

WEATHERING IS THE RESULT OF SEVERAL FACTORS INCLUDING THE NATURAL AGING EFFECT OF THE WEATHER ITSLEF, AND ALSO THE EFFECTS OF DAY TO DAY USE.

 

WHY WEATHER?

WEATHERING ADDS REALISM TO ANY MODEL RAILROAD. IT MAKES PLASTIC OR WOOD MODELS LOOK AS IF THEY ARE REAL LIFE BUILDINGS IN MINIATURE.

 

WHEN SHOULD WEATHER?

THE ACTUAL WEATHERING CAN USUALLY BE DONE WHILE YOU ARE DOING THE BUILDING ASSEMBLY. IT COULD BE DONE AT ANY TIME BUT SHOULD BE DONE BEFORE THE BUILDINGS ARE PUT IN PLACE ON THE LAYOUT.

 

HOW TO WEATHER?

YOU SHOULD START BY DOING RESEARCH MUCH IN THE SAME WAY YOU DO FOR OTHER ASPECTS OF MODEL RAILROADING. LOOK AT PHOTOGRAPHS OR ACTUALLY GO OUT AND LOOK FOR REAL LIFE WEATHERING OR DETAIL. KEEP NOTES ON SUCH THINGS AS LOCATION OF WATER STAINS OR STAINS FROM OTHER THINGS SUCH AS OIL, COAL SMOKE, BIRD DROPPINGS, RUST, DIRT, ETC.

PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE SIZE AND LOCATION OF DETAIL, AND DON'T OVERLOOK THE JUNK AND CLUTTER THAT IS EVERYWHERE.SOMETIMES THE SIMPLEST OF DETAIL WILL HELP TO BRING YOUR BUILDINGS TO LIFE. THINGS SUCH AS A NEWSPAPER ON THE ROOF OR FRONT SIDEWALK, A VINE GROWING UP THE SIDE OF THE BUILDING, A BROKEN WINDOW, EMPTY BOXES SITING BEHIND A STORE, OR YARD TOOLS AROUND THE GARAGE DOOR OPENING.

YOU MAY WANT TO DO SOME MODIFICATIONS OR PHYSICAL WEATHERING DURING OR BEFORE ASSEMBLY OF YOUR BUILDINGS. THINGS LIKE CRACKS IN BRICK OR STONE WALLS CAN BE ADDED WITH A HOBBY KNIFE. YOU CAN ALSO ADD KNOT HOLES AND ROUGH GRAIN TO WOOD WITH A HOBBY KNIFE. CUT AWAY A PIECE OF TRIM AND LEAVE IT DANGLING OR LYING ON THE GROUND.

TRY AND PAINT AS MANY OF THE VARIOUS PARTS AS POSSIBLE BEFORE ASSEMBLY. WINDOWS AND DOORS, SHUTTERS, THE ROOF, SHUTTERS ETC. THE PAINT IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP BECAUSE IT HIDES THE PLASTIC SURFACE AND GIVES YOU A GOOD FOUNDATION FOR FURTHER WEATHERING.

ONE INTERESTING TECHNIQUE IS TO SIMULATE PEELING PAINT. TO DO THIS FIRST USE A WOOD COLORED STAIN AND THEN RUB RUBBER CEMENT ON AREAS YOU WANT THE PEELING PAINT EFFECT. NEXT APPLY THE FINISH COAT OF PAINT. WHEN THE PAINT DRIES RUB THE SURFACE GENTLY AND SOME OF THE PAINT WILL PEEL OFF WHERE THE RUBBER CEMENT HAD BEEN.

NEXT ASSEMBLE THE BUILDING AND ADD WATER STAINS UNDER WINDOWS AND ON THE ROOF. ALSO ADD RUST STAINS WHERE METAL PARTS MAY LEAVE THEIR TELLTALE SIGNS OF RUST.

THE PAINTING CAN BE DONE WITH A BRUSH OR IT COULD BE DONE WITH AN AIRBRUSH. PASTEL CHALKS, CHARCOAL, COLORED PENCILS, OR FELT TIP MARKERS CAN ALL BE EFFECTIVELY USED FOR WEATHERING.

ONE TECHNIQUE FOR WEATHERING IS TO USE THE DRY BRUSH METHOD TO HIGHLIGHT THE HIGH SPOTS. TO DO THIS DIP A FLAT PAINT BRUSH IN WHITE PAINT AND THEN BRUSH IT BACK AND FORTH ON A PAPER TOWEL UNTIL VERY LITTLE PAINT REMAINS. AT THIS POINT YOU ARE READY TO LIGHTLY DRAG THE BRUSH OVER ANY SURFACE WITH ENOUGH TEXTURE TO RECEIVE SMALL AMOUNTS OF PAINT. THIS GIVES THE SURFACE A MORE THREE-DIMENSIONAL APPEARANCE.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT WEATHERING TECHNIQUE REALLY COULD BE CONSIDERED MORE OF A DETAILING STEP IF IT WEREN'T PART OF THE LAYERING THAT TAKES PLACE DURING THE WEATHERING PROCESS.ADD MOSS, ALGAE, AND VINES TO THE BUILDING WITH WOODLAND SCENICS GROUND FOAM SCENERY MATERIALS. FOR MOSS OR ALGAE YOU CAN BRUSH THE MODEL WITH WHITE GLUE AND SPRINKLE THE GROUND FOAM OVER THE AREA. FOR VINES YOU CAN USE A TOOTHPICK OR A VERY SMALL BRUSH TO DRAW A SPIDER WEB PATTERN OF GLUE AND SPRINKLE THE GROUND FOAM IN THE SAME MANNER AS BEFORE.

AFTER ALL THE WEATHERING AND DETAILING IS COMPLETED THERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT STEPS THAT WILL ADD THAT FINAL REALISTIC APPEARANCE. FIRST USE A VERY FINE MIST OF WHITE, GRAY, OR LIGHT BROWN PAINT TO ADD A FINAL LAYER OF DUST OR POLLUTION TO THE MODEL. NEXT USE TESTERS DULLCOAT TO ADD THE FINAL SEALING LAYER OF TO THE MODEL. THIS WILL NOT ONLY SEAL ALL OF YOUR WEATHERING LAYERS, BUT IT WILL ALSO HELP TO DULL ANY SURFACES THAT HAVE ANY SHINY SURFACES REMAINING.

 

TOOLS AND OTHER EQUIPMENT

1) PAINTS AND CHALK IN VARIOUS COLORS FOR WEATHERING.

2) WHITE GLUE, SUPER GLUE AND ACCELERATOR, RUBBER CEMENT, CONTACT CEMENT OR WALTHERS GOO.

3) TWEEZERS, SCISSORS, RULER, HOBBY KNIFE, DRILLS, PAINT BRUSHES, AIR BRUSH, FILES, SAND PAPER, PINS, CLOTHES PINS - (FOR CLAMPS)

4) WOODLAND SCENICS GROUND FOAM SCENERY MATERIALS.

5) AN IMAGINATION.

REFERENCE MATERIALS

1) BUILDING AN HO MODEL RAILROAD WITH PERSONALITY (KALMBACH)

2) DETAILING TIPS AND TECHNIQUES (KALMBACH)

3) HOW TO BUILD REALISTIC MODEL RAILROAD SCENERY (KALMBACH)

4) SCENERY TIPS AND TECHNIQUES (KALMBACH)

5) KIT BASHING HO MODEL RAILROAD STRUCTURES (KALMBACH)

6) HO TRACKSIDE STRUCTURES YOU CAN BUILD (KALMBACH)

7) 222 TIPS FOR BUILDING MODEL RAILROAD STRUCTURES (KALMBACH)

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