Weathering Tips | Five Great Tips To Improve Model Train Realism

rolling stock weathering tipsWant to learn how to weather your trains? Here are six great model railway rolling stock weathering tips from the darkest corners of the web to get you started and add faux-rust, dirt, grime, grease and weather marks to your trains.

Weathering is an art as much as a skill and takes years of practice to perfect but you can remove the factory-perfect finish of new trains and add realism and get started relatively easily. It doesn’t matter if your rolling stock is Hornby, Pico or Bachmann these six tips will help you get started with some basic techniques.

1) Avoid Problems Later – Clean First

Clean the locomotive or carriage you are weathering with a dry cloth to remove fingerprints or other oily residues, you may want to use latex gloves if you are going to be handling the train a lot to prevent leaving fingerprints.

Read the original here

2) Don’t be afraid to try

Thin coats of paint are better than thick ones. Let the model dry before applying the next coat. You can speed up the drying on water based paints with a hair dryer set on low heat, but it also blows on the surroundings, so put your model in a clean area first to keep dust and workbench debris off. An alternative is to dry in the oven, at low heat for 20 minutes (for Model-Flex) to 2 hours (Floquil on a brass model). Better to undercook than overcook! Try this on an older model you can use for a test, in case it starts to melt, before going into full serious production.

More tips from urbaneagle.

3) How To Fade and Removing Lettering

Faded LetteringTo fade the letters, put a drop of solution [decal setting solution – MRE] over top of what you’d like to fade. Begin gently rubbing the letter with the eraser [pencil eraser – MRE].

Not every model will react the same way. Some will begin to fade very quickly and with little pressure. With others, you may need to let the solution set for a few minutes and apply a little more force. To be safe, start lightly and continue working until you start to see results.

In most cases, once you begin seeing results, the process will continue rather quickly. Continue rubbing until you’ve faded just what you want. If remnants from the lettering make it hard to see your progress, wipe off the solution and apply more clean liquid. Be careful not to rub too hard or you’ll begin to remove the paint underneath the lettering as well.

Read the rest of this article here.

4) Colour With A Pencil

Using a brush can be hard work. Wouldn’t life be easier if you could have the benefits of water colour paints but apply with the accuracy of a pencil. This next tip is a video from Model Railroad Hobbyist rather than a web page and showing how water-soluble coloured pencils can be used to apply weathering.

5) A Fast Solution

New freight cars are a little too shiny as they come right out of the box. Just killing this plastic shine can make your rolling stock look a little more realistic. Use a spray from a can of Testors brand “Dullcote” (or a similar product that dulls a finish) to lightly cover the car. This can also form a base with a little more “tooth” for some of the techniques mentioned later. If you want to fade or modify some of the lettering on the car, do that first before using Dullcote, as the over spray will fix the lettering as it is. Always work in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside, when using a spray can. 

Source article available at National Model Railroad Association.

What’s your favourite weathering tip? Share it here or tweet it to @modelrailwayeng

Picture credit, top, Beechwood Photography

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.

Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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