Saturday, 7 June 2008

Weathering 37 677

I thought this may be of interest; it was how I weathered my model of 37 677. Weathering still seems to be something which many people are apprehensive about and it really isn't that bad or frightening! So this should be an insight into how I do things.

This is how is was supposed to end up;

Quite dirty! It's a sandite fitted machine and they can end up filthy! Just how I like it! Anyway, the first stage of weathering was at the painting stage. The paint was faded by tinting the paints with whites and greys - in fact the roof colour wasn't the correct shade tinted but Rail grey tinted to get a real look of how faded it had become. Compare this picture -

with the 2000 view. The greys have faded as has the yellow.

As an aside, this is how dirty Sandite machines can get! Pretty bad, I'm sure you'll agree! It does, however, show us the kind of colour we'll need to some of the washes/passes later on.

Anyway, with the main colours on futher fading was achieved using tinted washes of matt/satin varnishes, applied in stages. I always advise that it's easier to add more than than remove for this type of operation. So we end up with this -

All the colours look 'right' but aren't the shades as people would prescribe normally - they have been aged more than weathered in this case. I added thin washes to the grilles to bring them out, and very carefully painted the roof grille, building up very thin layers of paint so as not to clog it. I left the model like this to fully dry and cure so I didn't disturb this work when it came to the 'real' weathering!

The windows were masked with Humbrol Maskol masking fluid, and the yellow nose ends masked off, because the 2000 view shows quite clean, though faded, ends. A first, light coat of general road dirt/grime has been applied along the lower third, or so, of the bodyside.

This is wiped and cleaned off, not completely, but so as to leave traces around the grilles, raised detail and panel lines - much as described by Martyn Welch in his work The Art of Weathering, from where many of my ideas have been stolen!

I use a mixture of brushes, cotton buds and kitchen towel (Bounty kitchen roll in my case; it's very absorbent and holds together very well whilst wet) and thinners to remove the weathering, which ever does the job best at the time to be honest.

All this should leave us with this result - starting to show the dirt, though at this stage it still looks a little rough and ready!

For this loco I airbrushed (very haphazardly!) around steps, sand filler lids and nose grilles with a darker, dirty brown mix. Looks awful, but precision isn't really needed here.

It all looks horrible, but as the paint is removed, you can ee it's beginning to settle and stay around details -

It's still looking rough and very untidy, but the key thing is building up the layers, tones and variations of the weathering - refering to the photo at all times though.

So, we do the same again! But changing the colour ever so slightly -

We repeat the process of removing the weathering again...

This view shopws how we're beginning to see the variations of colours appearing and helping to add to the overall effect - I hope so anyway!

This process contiues and we need to add more dirt, but also I've started to add the add streak of dirt, washed down the body side by the rain. Much as in this view of 37 677, but not quite as drastic!

These are added by spraying through a thin slit cut in a piece of good quality card - I use the backing card from Parkside wagon kits! The slit is only about 0,7 mm or so wide, for the most part, but different streaking effects can be had by experimenting and varying the width of the slit and the distance of the card from the bodyside and the distance between the card and the airbrush.

37 677 also has hints of grim running down from the radiator grille at the number one end too -

All of these help add character to the loco I think - and I enjoy adding things like this to weathering jobs. Again, not my idea, stolen from Tim Shackleton this time! From his article of producing a rather nice Class 60 in MRJ some time ago.

The masking tape's off now! And I've applied another coat of road dirt along the body. This time some is allowed to catch the ends to help unit all the vertical surfaces together.

Hopefully this shows how the paint can appear as engrained dirt around items like the nose grilles - they nicely moulded (but too far apart sadly!), and this hoepfully shows what can be done with the mouldings of modern RTR diesel bodies.

Another pass of dirt, but a lighter colour to try and somehow match the colour of sandite has been applied. Not too much, but enough to make a difference in the flesh, but less so in a photograph.

Now we're back on the chassis, and the patches of exposed primer have been applied. I did consider adding these early on, but felt that this would be a better stage at which to apply them.

I've only added a hint of exhaust staining to the roof; 37 677 doesn't have so much on its roof in the initial photo, so I didn't want to add too much. I also blew across the noses with a very thin mist of exhaust mix to tone them down ever so slightly...

A quick note on the chassis, this was weathered away from the body, but using the same colours, so once reunited, they would work 'as one'. I think it's worked... Anyway, the key thing is checking against prototype photos as always. This means we have things like the cable from the speedo picked in grey, as it has been replaced recently in the 2000 photo by the looks of it.

Final touches to the body are the various little bit of rust being added as per the photographs, such as on the cab side in this picture. (The light was starting to go by this point, especially for hand held shots, sorry about that.)

And how it's turned out in decent light...

Still a few things to refine - the oil spill on the lower bodyside needs a further layer so the 'tide marks' aren't quite so distinct. And, of course, the bufferbeam pipework has been turned down since.

I must be doing something right, it won 'Best Non-Steam' at the Hull MRS's annual modelling competition...


  1. Yeah, you are doing something right- it's bloody superb! Just the way I like 'em, worn, noisy and filthy. It's great to see a blow-by-blow account, too- very interesting and informative.

  2. Have you thought about sending this to a magazine? Model Rail would be a good one as they do lots of step by step guides and this is better than a lot of stuff in there!