Article Weathering Model Railroader Nov. 13 - Weathering Article | Page 2

Weathering a steam locomotive IN PanPastels and a sponge make it easy to simulate the dirt and grime of railroading By Tony Koester • Photos by the author A sizeable fleet of rolling stock is both a benefit and a liability for modelers who have a relatively large model railroad. Each car or locomotive is an actor in an ensemble cast, instead of a star performer as on a small railroad. Since my primary goal is realistic operation, I tend to take reason- able shortcuts when it comes to building up a necessarily large car roster for my Nickel Plate Road layout. Many of my friends have a rigid rule: Nothing goes on the railroad until it’s weathered. Shiny freight cars and loco- motives, especially steam locomotives, don’t convince anyone that we’re striving to model a time when everything even remotely close to the railroad was cov- ered with soot and cinders. And even to- day’s hordes of diesels and freight cars 40 These before-and-after photos of a Walthers Proto 2000 Nickel Plate Road Berkshire show the results of Tony’s investment of just over seven minutes to highlight details and show some evidence of the locomotive’s daily toils. The trailing gondola was in the fleet of 20 cars he weathered in 45 minutes. are usually anything but spic-and-span when you take a close look. I’d like to emulate their example, but my first goal is to populate the railroad with enough locomotives and cars to achieve my operating objectives. That said, I fully acknowledge that too much shiny stuff is an eyesore. What to do? An art product to the rescue Sometimes need and fate join hands to solve our modeling problems. A cou- ple of years ago, I saw a demonstration of a new product called PanPastels at the annual Railroad Prototype Modelers meet in Naperville, Ill. These products aren’t quite like the popular and very useful weathering powders in that they tend to bond to the matte surface being Model Railroader • weathered. I don’t even need to apply a fixative (clear coat) after applying them. PanPastels look a lot like makeup and are applied in similar ways, but they’re formulated for artists to use as they would pastel chalks. The manufacturer, Colorfin ( of Kutz- town, Pa., sells a variety of applicators, mainly soft sponges in various shapes but also small trowel-like tools. After Colorfin saw how popular this product was with hobbyists, it produced a num- ber of colors and even weathering kits with us in mind. A list of local art supply dealers who sell PanPastels can be found on the firm’s website. Quick and, um, dirty weathering When I activated a spur into a gravel company on my HO railroad, I needed a