Weathering Wagons

This article describes the process of weathering wagons.

Wagons offer another good opportunity for a variety of levels of weathering, generally tending towards 'full works' weathering.

Most wagons in the steam period tended to take on a brown appearance which was a combination of track and brake dirt mixed with rust and/or the brown wood with which many bodies of the time were built.

At this point, I should make an important note about BR wagons in the 1960's period. They were painted bauxite, grey or crimson.

Bauxite signified that a wagon had train braking (usually vacuum). Such wagons were normally placed directly behind a loco so as to increase braking force.

Grey signified that a wagon had no train brakes but did have hand-brakes. These had to be locked down on hills. These wagons were placed behind bauxite coloured wagons.

Crimson wagons were classified as passenger stock, for example, meat vans. These were train braked the same as bauxite coloured wagons.

A brake van was attached to the end of a train after all the un-braked wagons. Sometimes there may be an extra brake van somewhere in the train.

Today, all wagons are train braked and brake vans are no longer a requirement.

I tend to use the 'light dusting' approach to all of my wagons but apply different levels of heaviness of application on a random basis between wagons - they don't all have to look the same.

The Utility van in the pictures above is an example of 'full works' weathering of a wagon. This is actually a Parkside Dundas kit which was painted in pure Humbrol 113 Matt Rust. Dark brown Carrs powders (from 'Shades of Mud') were then extensively applied. The roof is Humbrol 67 Matt Tank grey which I find to be a very good colour for this purpose - it has a 'furry' finish and takes powders well. It also covers very well and I sometimes use it as an undercoat because it sticks well!

The BR Standard van in the pictures above is a RTR product which has had brown (from 'shades of mud') applied in an up-down motion applied to the body and black applied to the roof in a side-to-side (side of the wagon) motion. The chassis was painted with my standard under chassis colour, a mixture of Humbrol 113 Matt Rust and Humbrol 33 Matt Black.

The cattle wagon is a Dapol kit which was painted in Railmatch Freight Bauxite colour and then powders applied. The chassis is my standard under chassis brown. The tie bar between the wheels (which prevents the prototype's wheels being pushed apart when the brakes are applied and rarely modelled on RTR wagons) is a strip of plastic card, replacing the much more chunky Dapol representation. Although not a weathering related modification, it is quick to do and I usually do this sort of thing during weathering.

The CCT is a Hornby (ex-Lima) product. The chassis was spray painted using my standard under chassis colour. Normally, I hand paint these, but this time it was sprayed and the effect was found to be even better. The body sides have brown applied in an up-down-motion. The roof has been repainted in Humbrol 67 Matt Tank Grey with some black powder applied in a side-to-side motion from one side of the vehicle to the other. Like all of my rolling stock, this vehicle has had its couplings changed.

The milk tanker is a Dapol product. The great thing about this type of weathering is that it doesn't matter what colour the base model is! In this case it was United Dairies white.
This model did not take Carrs powders at all well. I had to paint two coats to cover the white, one grey (Humbrol 67 matt tank grey) and the other my standard track colour brown. The finish is a mixture of light greys (from Carrs 'Shades of grey'). The chassis is my standard track colour brown.

The 24 ton mineral wagon is an O Gauge Parkside Dundas kit. These wagons tended to become rusty as well as affected by coal dust and this has been represented. Possibly not clear in the photo is that this wagon is an example of a practice I have used in more recent years and that is to paint the backs as well as fronts of wheels - this is more noticeable in O Gauge than 4mm. The reason behind this is that when you take photographs, a flash gun always finds the unpainted areas or the interior through windows which is still plastic colour. Weathering time offers an opportunity to fix these issues.

General Comments

As indicated in the introduction article, many RTR models these days have a paint finish which will not take Carrs powders because the finish is too smooth and/or shiny. Generally, I have not had a problem with wagons in this area because they require a fair amount of working of the powders - you are trying to get a brown finish on these vehicles for more heavily weathered examples and not just a tone change.
The great thing about kit-built models is that the paint used readily accepts Carrs powders, unlike the factory finishes.
Although I use varying shades of my track colour brown on the chassis of all of my rolling stock, I also apply varying degrees of Carrs browns (from 'Shades of Mud') in order to provide variation. It is the variation which gives the realism.

Related Articles

Index of Articles

Graham Plowman

Reader Comments