Model Train Weathering Methods for Rolling Stock

An important aspect to creating a realistic looking layout is to weather your trains and rolling stock. I mean, if you have gone to all the trouble of making realistic scenery for your layout, then its goign to look odd if the trains that are trundling around on your tracks are all shiny and new.

While the thought of taking a perfectly good train or rolling stock (particularly if it’s brand new) and making it look old and used can make most beginners nervous (and don’t worry, there are a lot of experienced modelers out there who feel the same way). But you would be surprised to see just how much difference a well weathered loco can make to your layout.

There are various methods that you can use for weathering, and in the following videos you will see 5 different methods that can be used.

1) Weathering with an Airbrush

In this video, we can see Brian on his first attempt at weathering a CN Box Car

2) Weathering with colored pencils

Here we see Bill from Model Railroad Hobbyist showing us how to use water-soluble colored pencils to apply weathering. All of the properties of watercolours but with the application control of a pencil.

3) Weathering with paints

Will from shows use how he uses paint and brush to apply weathering to his rolling stock.

4) Weathering with Chalks

CSXNSModelFan (I don’t know his real name) shows how he uses a combination of spray paint and chalks to do his weathering.

5) Big Al Mayo’s Weather Dipping Method

Despite this video being over 2 years old and the fact that I love Big Al’s stuff, his technique of “Weather Dipping ” passed me by. See what you think of it.

Remember, no matter how eager you are to get started trying out these weathering techniques, I would highly recommend that you practise on some old rolling stock first. You can pick up some absolute bargains through eBay, second hand stores, garage sales, etc which you can use as your test subjects, before attempting to weather something from your own collection.

Weathering isn’t something that you need to be scared off, and once you find a method that works well for you (whether its one of the above, a combination, or something that isn’t even covered here) you may even find it enjoyable.

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Dan Morgan

Dan Morgan fell in love with model trains at the age of six when he visited an NMRA Convention in Seattle with his father. Forty two years later, his passion remains just as strong. After achieving a successful career in architecture, Dan’s particular interest is within layouts and buildings. With a wealth of knowledge on the subject, Dan loves nothing more than sharing this with others and is delighted in the forum of members who are brought together over the hobby they have in common. Dan lives with his wife Helen in Washington. As a professional painter, Helen has learnt through Dan about Model Trains and they now enjoy working on projects together. The only member of the family who isn’t allowed to join in is their over-enthusiastic Labrador called William who has been strictly banned from the workshop! You can find Dan on Google here!


Leave A Reply (8 comments So Far)

  1. Tom Oliver
    4 years ago

    Fantastic tips. I’m going out to buy some cheap rollong stock to practise on. Thanks folks!

  2. Barry Yelen
    4 years ago

    Re the weathering of the CN box car – your production could have been better if you SLOWLY showed us the car; when you quickly hold it up to the camera to be seen, it is out of focus, and you don’t leave it there long enough for the focus to adjust. One of the several examples involves the wheels; I couldn’t see what you were trying to show us.
    Also, regarding the spray after the chalk application – the sound was blurry and I don’t know what you used for the spray. Can you tell me?
    Otherwise, thanks – good job.

  3. Barry Yelen
    4 years ago

    Re Will, from ModelRailways –
    And I would suggest this to EVERYONE who does videos: make sure that your light source comes from either behind you or on both sides of you, slightly from behind you, or the scenes will be dark or too dark to see the details. In your video, you can tell that the light source was behind the models, because you can see the shadows in between the model and your body.

    Also, when you hold something up to show us something, such as the kind of paint that you are using, let us see it for several seconds before you move the camera on to a different scene. Otherwise, we cannot read/see what you want us to see.

  4. Barry Yelen
    4 years ago

    You did a nice job. Here are some tips/comments to do an even better job – and this would apply to everyone who does instructional videos.
    1. Background music is NOT cool! It interferes with the words that the presenter is saying and makes it difficult for the viewer to understand. Leave out the music.
    2. Background TV is not cool, either. For the same reason above; also, it detracts one’s attention from what you are saying and doing.
    3. You know that you are going to making/producing a video – be prepared with the above, plus setting up your lighting (behind you), and test yourself – or the one who is doing the camera work – to see where you have to hold the object (freight car, wheels, etc.) so that the viewers can see it. There were times when you wanted us to see what you were doing, but what you were doing was out of view – so, you have to know where you can and canot hold the item.

    I submit this constructive criticism so that the good videos that you do will be even better.

  5. Barry Yelen
    4 years ago

    Re dipping method: When you spray, what is the ratio of acrylic paint to water?
    Same question for the solution that you use to dip?

  6. Everett
    4 years ago

    I enjoyed watching the videos and seeing how the individual modelers applied their own technique to weathering their railcars. I couldn’t pick up on everything that was said, but just by watching them, I know that this wonderful hobby of model railroading will keep on striving. I’m inspired by that. 🙂

  7. Everett
    4 years ago

    Five terrific videos on weathering scale model trains. Nice. 😉

  8. david
    4 years ago

    These were the best ideas I have ever heard. I have had some success on my own, with my N scale trains, but it was all trial and error. I will definitely try these techniques very soon.

    Thank-you all for sending in your weathering ideas, David

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