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  • weathering

    Hello i just purchased 2 Conerstone kits. i don't want them to look "new" what is a good way to weather kits? Thanks Paul

  • #2
    Hi, Paul, and welcome back! :up:

    You didn't say which two kits you got. There are several different things you can do to weather them, depending upon what the structure is supposed to represent. For example, repainting and applying a black alcohol wash or streaking with "rust" might be appropriate for one kit but not for another.

    In general, however, I would suggest painting the models, using a single edge razor or wire scratch brush to remove some of the paint ("peeling paint'), and lightly dusting the structure with powdered "earth-tone" chalks. If you don't want to paint them, spraying them with Testors Dull-Cote is a good way to remove the shine from the plastic surfaces.

    Now for a specific tip: For "metal" surfaces, you can make a thin wash or stain by adding two or three drops of burnt sienna acrylic craft paint to a half ounce of rubbing alcohol or windshield washer fluid. Mix it thoroughly and then apply it to the metal surfaces with a soft brush. When it has dried, the surface will have the appearance of light rust. For heavier rust, use more paint mixed into the stain, or paint a "slurry" of rust colored chalk powder dissolved in alcohol.

    I hope this helps. I'm sure some of the other guys will have some excellent suggestions.


    • #3
      Thanks for the welcome Mike. The 2 kits are Red Wing Milling and Northern Power and Light. Nothern power is a brick building according to the picture. I am not sure about the milling company. Thanks


      • #4
        Hi, Paul,

        If I were building Northern Power this is what I would do with it:

        First, I'd paint all of the brick walls with Floquil Boxcar Red. To avoid losing the brick detailing, I'd spray the paint rather than brushing it. If you don't have or use an air brush, Floquil has Boxcar Red available in spray cans for about $5 per can. After the paint dried for a couple of days, I'd wash it with black alcohol. That will darken the brick red color and reinforce the appearance of a sooty brick structure, since Northern is a coal-fired plant. (The reason I wouldn't use Polly Boxcar Red for this is that it's harder to stain with black alcohol after it's dried.)

        I would probably also paint all of the window frames with a light gray - something like Polly's Lt. Gull Gray - and then wash them with black alcohol.

        For the foundation, I'd paint that with either Polly or Floquil Foundation or Earth and wash that with black alcohol.

        On the loading side of the building, I'd use a soft, round brush to dust powdered black chalk on the foundation, walls, and lower windows. I'd also dust the top of the stack and down the sides of the stack for about 1/4 of its length. The idea here is to give the structure a sooty appearance from coal dust and smoke.

        For the roof ventilators, I'd probably weather them with black alcohol and a light application of both black chalk dust and some rust colored chalk.

        One thing about the chalk dust: it's easy to remove and do over if you're not happy with how it appears.

        Anyway, that's probably where I'd start with Northern Power. But like I said earlier, some of the other guys may have some different suggestions for both this and Red Wing.


        • #5
          Thanks Mike


          • #6
            Just what is black alcohol?


            • #7
              It's isopropyl alcohol with black ink added. There are a number of dilutions you can use. The most common ones seem to be 1 or 2 teaspoons of ink to a pint bottle of alcohol. Usually, though, I just fill a 3/4 oz. paint jar with alcohol and add several drops of waterproof India ink. I can't be more exact than that because I never bother to measure it or write down the amount. If it turns out to be not dark enough, I add a few more drops of ink.

              It's great for "weathering" stripwood also. I use it all the time for that.


              • #8
                Hi Paul

                I am also building Walthers Cornerstone Kits for my Ocean Port.

                Here is part of the car float used to retrieve railroad cars from a barge.

                This is a plastic kit which has been painted and then I used a product called "Instant Rust" which is a 2 step process.

                The first step applies ground up iron in a water base to the plastic and then in the second step you use an antiquing solution to actually rust the iron particles.

                The rust is extreme but since this car float is located on the ocean the rust would have been heavy.

                I also used the India ink solution and Chalks that Mike spoke about for the rest of the weathering.

                <img src="" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.


                • #9
                  Mike mentioned a black alcohol wash,is this applied with a air brush or brushed on and wiped off? What is better to use acrylic or enamel paints? When assembling a plastic kit which adhesive is best to use? John that rust looks very real i am impressed. Thanks Paul


                  • #10
                    Hi Paul

                    Since I do not own an air brush all my painting and alcohol washes are done with a brush.

                    You do not really have to wipe the alcohol wash off as the alcohol evaporates very quickly.

                    On wood models I never wipe but on the model which you see which is plastic I did wipe off the alcohol wash on the smooth surfaces but not on the rusted ones which are rough and absorb the wash well.

                    As for paint use what you like.

                    I am using more and more of the craft paints that can be found at Walmart as they are less expensive and there is a wide variety of colors.

                    As for glue I have used Model Master Liquid Cement for Plastic models and Aleene's Super Gel from the craft store.

                    Everyone has their own favorite glue and paint so pick the one that works for you.
                    <img src="" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.


                    • #11
                      John that rust effect is very convincing and I think you have allied it just right for a structure of that sort. Who makes the 'Instant Rust' product please?


                      • #12
                        Hi Barry

                        Instant Iron and Instant Rust are made by Modern Options.

                        The web site on the bottles is


                        Here is a picture of it as listed on the Dick Blick catalog.

                        <img src="" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.


                        • #13

                          Originally posted by plbab

                          Mike mentioned a black alcohol wash,is this applied with a air brush or brushed on and wiped off? What is better to use acrylic or enamel paints? When assembling a plastic kit which adhesive is best to use? John that rust looks very real i am impressed. Thanks Paul

                          Paul, an air brush could be used for this, but I never have. Normally, I use an old Testors flat brush (approx. 1/4" wide) that I bought in the model car section at Walmart years ago. I use it just for the black alcohol washes. I just brush it on and let it dry. As John pointed out, the alcohol will evaporate fairly quickly anyway.

                          When it comes to paint, I used to use a lot of lacquers and enamels and always got good results with them. In recent years, however, I have been using acrylics more often than not. For one thing, cleanup is much easier with acrylics than the others. And there is no odor associated with acrylics - something which my wife appreciates (she always complains when I open a bottle of Floquil). Also there are fewer health hazards associated with acrylics than with the solvent-based paints. Finally, as John mentioned, the acrylic craft paints are much less expensive than the other varieties. Many of the colors available are exact or nearly exact substitutes for the so-called "Railroad Colors" offered by Floquil and others.

                          Having just said all that, I have to admit there are still times when I need (or feel the need) to use Floquil or Testors for some purpose.

                          About glue: for styrene kits, I use Testors model cement. I avoid the tube variety, however, because it's too difficult to control. Normally, I use the liquid variety that comes in a bottle with built-in brush. If you hold the two pieces to be joined together and let the liquid cement flow into the joint from the brush, capillary action will draw the cement all the way in and "fuse" the pieces together. Recently, I have started to use Testors/Model Master liquid cement that comes in a special black "applicator" bottle with a needle nose cap. I have had good success with that. But there are lots of adhesives out there that will work just as well. I think it probably comes down to finding one that you are most comfortable working with.


                          • #14
                            This is a very interesting thread...

                            While reading all these great replies, it's occured to me that weathering is such a broad topic, with so many techniques, effects, & nuances, that there could easily be an entire section of the forum dedicated strictly to weathering!

                            Anyway, I thought I'd toss in a penny's worth on a few things I've learned about painting & weathering!

                            *"Less is more" In other words, a lighter, more subtle weathering effect is often more realistic than overdoing it. Also, it's a lot easier to add additional weathering than it is to remove it.

                            *Priming - I like to prime everything I paint...& I've discovered that the color of the primer coat has a lot to do with how the finished model looks. If you want a model to have a newer, cleaner appearance, use a light color, like light gray, or flat white for the primer coat. If you want a older, dirtier look, use a dark brown, or flat black primeer coat.

                            *Paint Types - I like to use spray enamels (flat colors only) or solvent-base paint like Floquil as a base coat, & then use acrylics such as Polly Scale over that. I like the way solvent paint, & flat enamel provdes a lot of "tooth" for the acrylics to stick to.

                            *Washes - I like to mix washes using alcohol as a base...alcohol washes seem to flow better than the ones mixed with water, & aren't nearly as smelly or messy as a solvent-based wash. I use India ink for mixing black washes, & Polly Scale acrylics for any other color. As a general rule of thumb, I weather light colored models with dark washes, & dark colored models with light washes. I mix all washes very I said earlier, "less is more".

                            *Dry-brushing - This is always one of the last things I do to finish up a model...It's great for highlighting details, & for representing streaks of rust, dirt, grease, etc...Dip a brush in some paint, & then wipe off most of the paint on a towel...the reidue of paint left in the brush is enough to leave a small amount of color on the model...Once again, remember, less is more".

                            "Life is all the stuff that happened while you were making other plans."


                            • #15
                              John I love that rust. I have got to get me some of that stuff.

                              I basically follow the methods mentioned here except I use blue windshield wiper fluid instead of alcohol. I have heard of promblem with alcohol and Dullcoat where the Dullcoat will turn white. Any one have this happen?

                              I apply the washes and drybrushing like Drew said in his post. Sometimes I apply the drybrush first then the wash, other times I do the wash first.


                              Regarding the Northern Light & Power the following link will show you how I created the brick effect: