Rust with­out the fuss

Cre­at­ing au­then­tic cor­ro­sion ef­fects on steel wag­ons can be a chal­lenge, al­though Ge­orge Dent knows an ef­fec­tive short­cut!

Model Rail (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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