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Weathering Techniques To Add
Realism To Your Model Railroad Layout

Throughout the Model Train Help Ebook I give you several tips on weathering, which is basically the art of taking something new and making it look like something old. It could be locomotive, caboose, a building, a bridge, a tunnel, a road, a fence, or any element of scenery for that matter. Almost anything ages and changes over time.

weather tips for model trains weathering and detailing structures and scenery


For example; when you buy a some rolling stock it comes packaged all shiny, plastic and new. It probably looks too perfect, unreal and out of place alongside the other cars on the track. It may need "roughing up" to make it look used, or at least show some signs of wear and tear.

It really comes down to deciding if want to "rough-up" the factory paint job on the very expensive rolling stock you've just purchased. But, like it or not, shiny new cars usually look out of place on an otherwise "used looking" layout.

In reality; most cars on a railroad show varying degrees of rust, grime (lube and oil), mud, soot, denting, scratches and some are even covered in graffiti. However, cars do vary in age and usage, so they shouldn't necessarily all look the same. And, not everything is dirty, because the contact on bare metal can keep some areas clean.

So, it is a case of thinking carefully about the age and likely wear and tear that you want to mimic... and whether you are prepared to "rough-up" your rolling stock for the sake of adding realism.

Also, think about the region or era you are recreating. Is it likely to be muddy at times or would it be more dusty and arid like in a desert? For example, the rolling stock might need a sun-bleached look, which can be achieved with dullcoat brushed over with some rubbing alcohol. This will give the model a kind of a white milky haze. If you don't like it, respray with dullcoat. However, always test techniques on something else before you try them out on your prized models, because you may not like the effect.

The above photo shows a derelict old house in a dry exposed region that has obviously at some time been hit by a hurricane or gale force winds. Notice the old farm equipment, rusty car and stuck tractor lying around that add to the realism of the scene.

In the Model Train Help Ebook I explain the various weathering techniques including:

  • Pastel Chalks And Pencils
  • Dry Brushing
  • Bounce-Weathering
  • Acrylic Wash With Airbrushing
  • Ink & Alcohol Wash

It also explains:

  • Weathering Wood Cars
  • Weathering Wheels & Couplers
  • Adding Dents
  • Adding Scratches

The ebook also includes a bonus section on airbrushing techniques.

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