Under the weather …

No, not a reference to the dreaded aforementioned “February Flu” … but the start of a program to address the very “plastic” look of all the beautiful ready-to-run VR and SAR rollingstock we are blessed to have available. While the Border District’s rollingstock register has grown, this growth has not been matched by my efforts to add detailing and weathering!

For too long, I’ve been “gunna” do something about it. Armed with some SAR 4 wheeled DWf vans from Orient Express Reproductions, and the need to do a touch of modelling, I set about trialling some weathering techniques. Below, an “out of the box” DWf van can be seen … the “starting point”. The van comes sans numbering and SAR labelling – all I’ve added are the airhoses and some wagon numbers (103 – would you believe from an old Bluebird decal sheet?!):



I used a few very simple techniques to add some basic weathering, commencing with “washes”. I won’t regale everyone with a detailed description of this technique … suffice to say I used three “washes” – a red/brown wash for “earth”, a black wash for “grime” and an off-white wash for “faded paint”. I used Tamiya flat acrylics, watered down with Isopropyl Alcohol, and a wide, soft bristled brush. Below, DWf 7 shows the impact of one pass of each “wash” – which goes a long way to lifting and highlighting the detailing on these vans. This van also came from an unlettered pack – I’ve used some “SIgns Of All Kinds” decals for the “SAR” and van number, but Orient Express now provide their own decals for this purpose. I’ve also picked the air hoses out in flat black:



After the application of a number of washes, the van’s appearance can be further enhanced by the use of “drybrushing”. This technique involves loading a small paintbrush with a small amount of paint, removing most of this on a paper towel or similar and then taking the near-empty paint brush to the model. While this technique does take a little practice and patience, it really does add highlights to a model. Again, my paint of choice was Tamiya flat acrylic – black, white, grey and red/brown all employed to various degrees. Below, DWf 169 has received several washes and some drybrushing – with particular attention paid to the doors and underframe:



The third technique I used was an old favourite of mine – the use of “powders” for weathering. This technique involves taking artist’s pastels, sanding them on some coarse grit “wet and dry” (or powders can be bought pre-prepared from a hobby shop) and then “brushing” the resultant powder onto the model using a soft bristled brush. Below, DWf 247 has received a goodly amount of washes, drybrushing and “powders” weathering – and looks a little the worse for it! I thought that I had perhaps been a tad too heavy handed – until I saw some old colour SAR footage from the early 1960s that justifies the level of “dirt”:



I still plan to use some airbrushing to “blend” all three techniques together, but am fairly happy with the results so far. Thanks must go to Mr Keith Trueman, for giving me the “poke” to finally get started on weathering – as well as being a great source of tips and advice. I look forward to getting stuck in to the ever increasing fleet of South Australian Railways’ OB and OBF open wagons on the Border DIstrict – and getting rid of that “plastic” look to the current rollingstock fleet …


2 thoughts on “Under the weather …

  1. Shelton,

    Thanks for your kind words. I’m pretty happy with the 3 vans done so far, but really need to “muck in” and get started on all those clean SAR OB and OBfs …


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