Weathering Heights – part 3

Just getting back to normal after a very unsettled domestic environment that has included trips to Europe, a kitchen remodel (that turned our lives upside down for twelve weeks) and then six weeks of guests and mini-trips away from home. Whew! All over now till the end of December after which I’m off to Europe again.

Found in the north-eastern California desert. I didn’t get any more pics of this house but will return next year to do so. I’m thinking of building a model of it within a diorama – and of course moving the location to the upper midwest. The SP’s Modoc Line is nearby.

I’m itching to get back to a heavy modelling schedule. I’ve got so much on my list to get done and feel completely overwhelmed by it all. In particular I want to:

  1. finish wiring up The Town and get the control panel built.
  2. start another diorama – not sure what I want to model though I found a house in the Californian desert that I’m contemplating basing a model on.
  3. build a series of small trackbeds where I experiment with prototypical rail lengths, worn and bent rails, tie plates, rail joiners etc. I want to try different ballasting methods so that I can recreate the way the track has blended with the surrounding landscape. I also want try out the Brooks-Smith method of tracklaying – a method borrowed from the finescale movement in the UK.
  4. continue my weathering project.
Trackbeds are really important to me. Many modelers make an effort to landscape their roadbeds correctly and I think it really improves the look of the model. I really want to take this a step further and simply try to get it looking exactly like real life with worn rails, bent rails, grassy trackbeds, ballast and dirt mixed together and sunken ties in the soil.

The biggest issue of course is time. I work from 9am to 8pm every weekday which doesn’t leave alot of time in the evening for the hobby. However I’m going to try to grab the 9pm to 10pm slot every evening and do the heavy modeling on weekends. Hopefully this will return my modeling mojo which had disappeared for a while.

Onto the weathering project.

Ok well with attempt number one out the way it was back to the drawing board for me. I decided to take a very close look at the weathering of my prototype in the photo.  Luckily I had parts of the picture blown up so that I could see the details better.

The goal from the start has been to simply model in minature what I see in the photo. I decided to just observe weathering as a series of colors, blends, and textures. All I had to do was using paint, pens, chalks and washes to recreate what I saw. Instead of starting with a white wash to get the model color to fade I just started with the actual color that it had faded to – the light skin color in the photo. After that it was just a matter of adding darker colors on top and trying to match the patterns found on the surface of the box car.

I used my Vallejo paints and created the skin color that the boxcar has faded to and then sprayed it over the car.


I then used a variety of materials: pens, paint, washes, chalks and crayons to try to replicate the types of staining on the boxcar.
I felt that I was on the right track at last. I kept comparing the photo to my work and felt that it was much closer to the prototype than my first attempt. There is still more to do however. The car still looks like a model covered with a variety of paint stains and pens etc instead of a miniature version of weathering. I have to be much more precise as to how I use the pens and paint brushes that color doesn’t bleed into areas that give it away as paint. That I will do on the next attempt tomorrow.
Nearly got it. The coloring and staining still looks too much like a painted on effect but with greater precision – using masks mainly – I can stop the paint from bleeding into unwanted areas and hopefully make it look more like the real thing.

Anyway I’m excited to get back to this project. To be continued.