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Beginners Guide to Weathering Model Trains : Selecting & Mixing Paints

Step two: Paint Selection

For this job, I will be selecting the following paints:

  • Track dirt
  • Leather
  • Matt black

These will be used in various quantities in different areas etc to replicate the effect of brake dust, fuel leakage, exhaust carbon deposits and general accumulated crud as detailed previously.

Step three: Paint Mixing:

For paint mixing, I will combine several of the enamel paints with thinners directly into the cup of the airbrush, adding colours to provide the desired effect.

I use a cocktail stick to transfer the paint from tin to airbrush, and a plastic pipette to add my thinning agent as it is more accurate and creates less wastage.

Adding paint to the airbrush cup…

Use a cocktail stick to add paint to the airbrush cup

Use a cocktail stick to add paint to the airbrush cup

The paint mixture goes into the cup before the addition of thinners.

The paint mixture goes in before the thinners

The paint mixture goes in before the thinners

Adding thinners to the paint…

Add your thinners with a pipette

Add your thinners with a pipette

I am often asked what ratio of paint to thinners is best? I tend to do my paint mixing by eye, and aim for a final paint/thinners mixture similar to that of milk. I know it’s not to everyone’s’ style, but it works for me!

I do know that other modellers have a more scientific approach – measuring volumes of paint percentages and ratios of thinners to paint, but I think life is too short for that!

One thing I do do, is prior to spraying, apply a quick spray to a piece of blank paper. This will give you a true representation of the colour you are about to apply to your model. I think this gives you a final opportunity to change your mixtures if you are not happy with what you have mixed, saving a disaster!

A quick test spray onto a blank sheet of paper prevents costly mistakes in the next stage of the process

A quick test spray onto a blank sheet of paper prevents costly mistakes in the next stage of the process

I’ll be back tomorrow with the step you’ve all been waiting for… Applying the paint to your model!

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