HOW TO... DE-BRAND YOUR DB ‘SHED’!
GEORGE DENT tries his hand at ‘filtering’, as he strives to re‑create the distinctive appearance of the EX‑EWS Class 66s.
Bucking the modern trend of train operating companies constantly revamping their corporate images, the vast majority of DB Cargo’s Class 66 fleet still retains the long‑obsolete EWS livery. After nearly 20 years in service, the once‑vibrant red and gold scheme has taken on a dull hue. Indeed, only the underframes and upper roof surfaces tend to retain the grimy deposits associated with the freight traction of yesteryear. My main challenge, therefore, was to portray a characteristically careworn DB Class 66, utilising a Bachmann model already sporting EWS colours. Simply mucking it up with ‘dirty’ shades of paint wouldn’t suffice, so an alternative tactic was necessary. Instead, I decided to create my own ‘filter’ layer. I discovered this approach in military modelling magazines and recently road‑tested it, with modest success, on a couple of carriages. However, I’d yet to try it on a locomotive. So what is a filter? Basically, it’s a jar full of heavily thinned grey paint that is sprayed over the entire bodyshell. It may not sound scientific, but there’s method in the apparent madness. The point of the exercise is to add an ultra‑thin layer of a neutral pigment onto the existing livery, which will act to tone down the vibrancy of the colours, without altering them excessively. Grey is strictly a tone, rather than a colour, and is suitable for use over virtually any livery colour. Some degree of fine‑tuning is possible, simply by adjusting the shade of grey. Lighter shades create more of a ‘bleached’, washed‑out look, while darker shades impart a more sombre, grittier aspect. There’s a fine line to tread here between an effective filter and a grey locomotive, so a patient, cautious approach is essential, especially when attempting this technique for the first time. To work effectively over the rich maroon livery, I opted for Tamiya XF‑24 Dark Grey as the filter shade, thinned with the same brand’s acrylic thinners. As the paint is thinned so heavily (approxi‑ mately 25% paint to 75% thinner) the pigment only reveals itself on the model as the thinners evaporate. This can take several minutes and the delayed visual appreciation consequently makes it easy to over‑egg the pudding. Therefore it’s essential to take things steadily, waiting before applying further filter coats. I trialed the mixture on a similarly coloured scrap model first, which revealed that I’d need three or four very light misted coats of the filter to get the effect I was after. Applying the filter via an airbrush, with the air pressure set low, offers conveni‑ ence and speed. The medium can also be applied by hand brush, in a similar manner to working with weathering washes, although creating visible brush strokes is a risk. Furthermore, if working by hand, I’d opt for either thinned enamel or water‑based acrylics, rather than the fast‑drying Tamiya paints. Again, practising on a scrap model beforehand is recommended. I’m really chuffed with how this ‘66’ has turned out, not least as it allowed me to gain more confidence in a new tech‑ nique. Don’t we all feel like trying something new from time to time? Sometimes it’s daunting to take a step into the unknown. But now and again, you simply have to go for it.