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Simple Guide To Weathering & Detailing - Preparation | Model Railway Hints, Tips, How To Articles and Reviews at Model Trains Online
Continuing on from Part 1 of our Weathing Guide for Railway Modellers, Trev’s back with the second part of this new series…
This instalment covers the process of preparation prior to actually applying detail or paint. I will briefly cover locomotives, and for the purposes of this text, and to try and keep things brief, will touch on diesel locomotives, although I will attempt to detail my work with steam and electric traction at a later time.
Weathered Fowler 4F Locomotive

Weathered Fowler 4F Locomotive

This instalment is not a particularly exciting one, but is crucial in the preparation of your model, with a view to creating realism.

I usually follow a simple routine that builds up to the finished model and are generally as follows:
  1. Once you have the item that you wish to alter, do some research. Investigate how the real life item looked in the period you wish to model , how dirt appears, where it collects and in what form. Different types of loco for instance collect dirt in different ways, dependent upon the shape of the roof, the bodysides and bogie patterns. Also investigate wear and tear caused by the crews climbing in/out (something simple, often overlooked. Diesels attract dirt in different types and ways to electric traction as do steam locos. Oils, diesel, lubricants, coal, ash, water, steam, brake dust and exhaust all play extremely significant roles in how a loco looks after being in traffic. Books, magazines, and now the internet can help, as long as you respect copyright laws!
  2. Research again! This time, look for external fittings/fitments. Different locos vary in lots of different ways, according to sub class and modifications that may have been carried out through the years. Things to watch out for according to period modelled, class and sub class can include:
  • Bufferbeam detail vacuum only brakes, dual brake variants (vacuum and air), and air only.
  • Steam heat pipework or ETS (Electric Train Supply) cabling
  • Multi working sockets and cabling (different styles and positions depending on loco type!)
  • Buckeye coupling or shackle
  • High intensity headlight position (if required)
  • Types of lamp bracket. (Western Region locos had transverse facing bracketry to accept WR  lamps)
  • NRN aerial. (National Radio Network) – the aerial usually seen on nose ends or cab roofs. (for contacting the driver in an emergency)
  • Fuel tanks – are you modelling a class 47/8? If so, they featured two fuel tanks to give themadditional range. Not all 47’s had these!
  • Bogies (some locos such as 37’s featured fabricated bogies, with some receiving CP7 (re-geared and cast metal bogies)
  • Body side grilles – for instance some 56’s had modifications for reliability and performance carried out when under Loadhaul ownership, and featured flat cant line meshed louvres to one end, making them recognisable from the others
  • Battery boxes/compressor boxes, additional fuel tanks, hand rails, types of headlight, etc – there are a plethora of variations, and depending upon the type of modelling you do determines just how far you go. For now, we will concentrate on rudimentary basics for the beginner, but as they say,” the devil is in the detail!”
  1. Obtain the correct paints, thinners and tools for your project (see my previous instalment for basic tools and requirements.
  2. Set out your stall. Tidy your work space and make sure things are easily in reach.
  3. I now begin the actual task of preparing the model and start collating the detailing parts. The most common parts I use are (in no particular order)are :

    Basic-components-used-for-a-standard-level-of-detailing-on-a-Hornby-Class-56-locomotive

    Basic components used for a standard level of detailing on a Hornby Class 56 locomotive

  • Heljan air pipes (usually used on main reservoir (yellow) and train brake (red) pipes due to their thickness)
  • Hornby air pipes (I use the Hornby thinner pipes when replicating control air pipework) (white pipes)
  • Heljan vacuum “bags” (with dummy receptacle and bracket)
  • Shackle (various manufacturers)
  • NRN aerial (various)
  • Multi sockets (various)
  • Bodyside grilles/roof grilles and fan chamber grilles (Shawplan)
  • BR “arrows of indecision” – Shawplan
  • Windscreen wiper sweeps – usually masking tape cut to suit. (However I am looking

    at investing in some of the excellent brass inserts made by Pete Harvey at PH

    Designs.)

  1. Carry out any necessary modifications – bufferbeams, glazing, grilles, fans, wheel replacement etc (to be covered in my next instalment!)
  2. Clean your airbrush. I dismantle and clean my airbrush before, during and after every session, in particular the needle, the nozzle outlet and paint cup. It is amazing just how much gunk collects in the airbrush even though you have just spent ages cleaning it out! I do tend to clean initially with a cellulose based product (making sure my workspace is extremely well ventilated and I have my trusty safety glasses with me when I use the cellulose!)

    Cleaning-of-the-airbrush

    A very important part of the preparation – make sure your tools are clean!

  3. Check the operation of your compressor, including checking the outlet pressure (if you have one!)
  4. Prepare your paints and thin as necessary.
  5. Wipe down your model with a tack cloth to remove any fingerprints.

Next Time: Trev will be moving on to Bufferbeam detailing for a Class 56.

About Trev: Trev is an experienced railway modeller who has perfected his weathering and detailing skills over many years. He currently offers a bespoke Turn-A-Round weathering and detailing service, with very competitive prices from his workshop in Tamworth. If you’d like Trev to work his magic on one or more of your locos, you can drop him a line through his page on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/dirtymodels

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