CPR Galt Subdivision
Weather a Boxcar using an Airbrush and Paint Brushes - by Steve Bourdon
Many methods for weathering rolling stock are available in magazines and books and online. Below is one method that you might like to try.
Materials: (all available at CVR)
Proto Paints: Flat Haze
MicroLux Acrylic Paints: Roof Brown, Grimy Black, Rail Brown, RR Tie Brown, Rust.
Testors: Universal Acrylic thinner (water may also work for you.)
Weathering Solutions Decals: Medium Rust Scratches and Small Rust Spots
Microscale: Micro Set, Micro Sol
American Model Builders: Wheel Masks (33” or 36” depending on model)
Badger: 2oz. jars for storing mixed paints
Badger: Paint Mixer (optional but the best way to mix paints)
Excel: Small Curved Point Tweezers
Preparing the Paints:
NOTE: Store paint mixtures in separate 2 oz. jars for future weathering projects.
Mix Roof Brown, with some Grimy Black until you have a dark colour suitable for the lower portions of the freight car and trucks. Thin 10% Mix Roof Brown and a few drops of Grimy Black with Rust, mainly to tone down the Rust. Thin mixture 10%. Use this mixture for wheelsets, roofs on modern boxcars, door frames and door sills, etc. Mix Rail Brown with a little Roof Brown. Thin 10%. Use this mixture for dusting upper sides of boxcars.
Weathering a Boxcar:
1. Remove the trucks and couplers. Separate wheelsets from trucks and set aside.
2. If the surface of the boxcar is relatively shiny, then you probably don’t need to apply a gloss coat to the model. However, I usually apply a gloss clear-coat using either Testors Glosscote or another clear coat using my airbrush.
3. Decide on which of the Weathering Solutions rusty scratches and spots decals you want to use, measure them to see how many will fit on the car and carefully cut them out using an Xacto knife.
4. Have the Micro Set, Micro Sol and a few pieces of paper towel ready to use. Then prepare a dish of warm water. A 2” deep bowl or container works.
5. Lay the boxcar on its side on a piece of folded paper towel to avoid scratching the sides.
6. Start with the rusty drip decals which will be positioned just under the roof sill on the side. Lay them on the model to make sure they fit, and decide on the best order to apply them.
7. Now set aside those decals in order nearby.
8. Using a small paint brush, apply some of the Micro Set to the area where the first decal will go (usually under the roof sill at one end of the car). Spread the Micro Set around a little, but try to avoid creating a deep puddle—just apply enough to cover the surface and allow the decal to float into position.
9. Using mini tweezers, dip the first decal into the warm water for 30-40 seconds.
10. Drain off some of the water by touching the edge of the decal to the paper towel.
11. Apply the decal to the model in the selected location. You can probably position it by gently using the tweezers or a paint brush—whatever works for you.
12. After the decal is positioned, draw off a little of any excess Micro Set using the corner of a paper towel around the edges of the decal.
13. Let the decal settle in place for a bit while you apply the next decal to the other end of the car.
14. Keep going back and forth between car ends.
15. Then apply any scratches and rust spots to the rest of the body side. I like to apply a few scratches to the side of the boxcar over which the door would slide.
16. If any of the decals run over some ribs or other raised details, then apply some Micro Sol to the decal using a small paint brush. Let it dry and do it again until the decal is set in place before continuing with the other side of the boxcar.
17. Let the boxcar lie face up so the decals can dry overnight. If some decals need more Micro Sol, then now is the time to apply it. Some surfaces with multiple embossed surfaces may need several applications over a few days.
18. When you are satisfied with side one, work on the other side of the car as above and set aside to dry for a day.
19. OPTIONAL: Apply rusty decals to the car ends. I don’t bother because I don’t often see the ends of my cars. Instead, I use an airbrush to weather the ends.
20. After all decals have dried, apply a sealer like Glosscote or another brand. I usually do this by using a gloss clear coat with my airbrush.
21. Place the wheelsets in the Wheel Mask so they are ready to paint. I usually run a piece of masking tape around the Wheel Mask to prevent the wheelsets from falling out of place. If I am weathering several cars, I also label each Wheel Mask on the masking tape so to avoid installing the wrong wheelsets on another model when the wheelsets are finished.
22. After the gloss coat has dried thoroughly (1 or 2 days), airbrush some rusty wheelset mixture along the door sills and roof to blend the rusty decals with the other car surfaces. Since this mixture paint is already in the airbrush cup, apply it to the wheelsets at the same time. Apply two or three light coats of rust to the car body and wheelsets by working alternately between them.
23. OPTIONAL: Apply a very light coat of rusty mixture to the couplers
24. Then airbrush some dark weathering colour to the lower half of the body sides and ends (I use a mixture of grimy black and roof brown; proportions vary with each batch I mix up).
25. Weather the truck side frames by applying a mixture of grimy black with a little rust. Using a fine paint brush, apply some rust to the truck springs.
26. OPTIONAL: Apply a coat of Proto Paint Flat Haze to age everything and blend it all together.
27. Reassemble your model after all parts are dry. I usually wait a week and work on other projects in the meantime. If any paint has spread onto the wheel treads, use a Dremel Moto tool with a fibre brush to give the wheels a spin and remove the dried paint.
Enjoy your model!