First of all, some of you may be reading this wondering what weathering model railroad trains is, so I’ll start with an explanation. Weathering is basically the process of making something look old and used and is a technique applied to model railways to make them look more realistic. In the real world, nothing stays shiny and new for long. Trains will pick up dust and dirt as they travel around, paint will get scratched, metalwork rusts over time and so many model train builders will want to recreate these looks on their models.
Of course, this isn’t for everyone and there are those that wouldn’t dream of damaging or devaluing their prized locomotives in any way. For years, model railway trains have been collector’s items and some are incredibly valuable. However, other people look at value in a different way and ask what the value is on a personal level. Not in terms of money, but the value it will give you in satisfaction. Now that may sound like a massive cliche, but value does mean different things to different people.
For some people, creating a perfectly life like model railroad scene will hold far greater value than watching their shiny locomotives going round the track, so you have to ask yourself which group you fall into. The good thing is that now, it is possible to pick up model railroad trains fairly cheaply on eBay now, and you can use these for you weathered wagons and keep the collectors items separately. This way you can have the best of both worlds if you so want.
If you’ve decided that you do want to weather your model railway trains (and it doesn’t just have to be the trains, this technique can be applied to anything to add a level of realness to it), then there are a number of ways to go about doing this and plenty of guides which are available to help you with this. There are also a lot of specialist products on the market too. However, you can also just use a lot of things you already have for you railway scenery, or would find around the house.
A couple of things I want to mention here are that if you’re new to weathering, always practice on a cheap train first. This way, if it doesn’t go to plan, you haven’t ruined on of your favourite trains! Also, rather than trying to get it right first time, build your weathering up in layers. This means that you can work out what works and what doesn’t and is also actually more realistic too. In the world, a train carriage doesn’t just go from clean to dirty straight away, but the filth and grime builds up over a period of time. Therefore, applying lots of layers will help to create this effect better.
Finally, one important thing to remember when weathering you trains is to make sure that you are doing it for the environment in which your model railway trains will be running. For example, if you have build a 1950s recreation, then your train won’t have modern day graffiti tags on the side of them, whereas if you have built an inner city New York scene, the trains might well do. Another example would be a modern passenger train is going to be less dirty than a freight wagon as they are cleaned more often.
A great tip that I picked up for helping to get this right is to collect photographs from the particular scene or time your model railway trains are meant to be set in and then base you weathering on this research. As with anything to do with your model railroad and as I always say, the more research that you do, the better.
I hope you now have a greater understanding of the model train weathering. For more model railway trains tips, visit my website by clicking the link below.