GE­ORGE DENT tries his hand at ‘fil­ter­ing’, as he strives to re‑cre­ate the distinc­tive ap­pear­ance of the EX‑EWS Class 66s.

Model Rail (UK) - - Work Bench -

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.

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