Rust without the fuss
Creating authentic corrosion effects on steel wagons can be a challenge, although George Dent knows an effective shortcut!
Idread to think how many steel-bodied mineral wagons are lurking in my rolling stock collection. These onceubiquitous vehicles came in many different shapes and sizes, so there’s little risk of running out of inspiration. As coal was once the most important commodity to be transported by rail, pre-thatcher-era modellers really can’t have too many of them! They also offer endless possibilities in terms of weathering. Indeed, they provide the perfect blank canvas for all manner of techniques and processes. With many cheap RTR or kit options to be found, we can practise these methods to our hearts’ content, free from the worry associated with working on expensive models. Dapol’s range of unpainted ‘OO’ gauge wagons is especially suited to experimentation with weathering techniques. The underframes are also ripe for replacement with superior plastic or metal kits and components, but here we’ll concentrate on making the best of what’s provided in the box. With the 21t mineral wagon, the moulded plastic bodies feature plenty of detail relief that can be greatly enhanced with a considered weathering job alone. Such wagons received plenty of abuse during their working lives, and contemporary images show large areas of peeling paint revealing patches of corroded steelwork. What’s important to note is that the rust
appears from beneath the paintwork, rather than atop the finish. This vital aspect is not so difficult to recreate in miniature, as many people assume. Indeed, there are numerous possible methods and materials to achieve this end, including the use of salt crystals, Marmite and hairspray. However, using ordinary masking fluid – such as Humbrol’s Maskol – provides one of the simplest and cleanest methods. Equally suitable for any scale, the addition of a discernible texture to the ‘rust’ is another key element in the process. This is often omitted by modellers, yet it has a transformative effect on perfectly flat, plastic or metal surfaces and mirrors reality; run your fingers over an area of corroded steel and you’ll feel a very rough, uneven surface. I’m a long way from shaking my addiction to weathering mineral wagons. Indeed, I’m still having great fun refining and tweaking my favoured techniques, with the aim of constantly improving the finished results. The way things are going, though, I may have to model Edge Hill’s ‘grid iron’ sidings in order to accommodate them all!
Recreating heavily corroded wagons is deceptively simple – and great fun too!
The combination of a realistic surface texture and the rust showing through from underneath the paintwork produces a superior finish.
The randomness of the rust deposits and the different livery shades avoids an overly uniform finish.