WEATHERING STEAM-ERA CARRIAGE ROOFS
What’s the best way of weathering the white roofs of LNER coaching stock? Some advice that doesn’t involve an airbrush would be welcome. Owen, by e-mail
George says: I recently weathered a batch of LNER ‘teak’ carriages, with their pale grey roofs. My aim was to give them a ‘lived-in’ appearance rather than an overly grimy outlook. After all, steam-hauled coaching stock with light-coloured roofs would soon gather a coating of soot and grime. Even with regular washing, the roofs would invariably retain deposits of muck around raised vents, gutters and other fittings. Once rain and the natural elements enter the fray, it’s likely that streaks would also be present, running from side-to-side in line with gravity. Due to the bright underlying colour, it’s easy to overdo the weathering of the roofs, particularly if employing the usual dark grey and brown weathering paint shades that would be ideal for darker roofs and underframes. Instead, I’ve been employing a ‘Neutral’ enamel weathering wash from MIG Productions. Formulated especially for use on white or pale surfaces, the dilute wash possesses a dirty, medium grey pigment and can be applied by brush. As with all washes, it’s vital to give the bottle a good shake before (and during) use as the pigment tends to settle rapidly. Ensure that the model is clean before brushing the thin liquid over the roof, working with lateral strokes to mimic vertical streaking. Any excess can be wiped away with cotton swabs. Being enamel-based, it takes a few hours to dry, although the long working time gives us plenty of room for manoeuvre. For very subtle effects, one coat may be enough, with much of the wash wiped away as desired. For a more pronounced finish, we can simply apply further wash coats, although it’s vital that the previous layer has fully dried. With a targeted approach to layering the wash, we can concentrate the pigment around raised details, within any recesses or to exaggerate any surface relief, creating a more realistic appearance without necessarily rendering the model filthy. We can also inter-mix enamel washes of different shades, to add some tonal variety, if desired.
MIG Productions’ Neutral enamel wash is an ideal medium for creating subtle weathering effects on pale surfaces.
STEP BY STEP Mask the glazing and shake the weathering wash thoroughly before brushing a light coating over the carriage roof. A flat brush is most effective, using lateral strokes and ensuring that the pigment collects around any raised or recessed details. 1
With clean cotton swabs, wipe away excess wash, working only in lateral strokes. Remove as much or as little as desired. Matching thinners are available to help remove stubborn deposits. The wash stays workable for a few hours, so don’t rush! 2
The wash remains pliable for many hours after each application. Dampen a clean, fine brush with the thinners and draw the pigment into subtle, lateral streaks. 4
3 After drying overnight, we can deposit more of the wash in key areas, such as around vents and gutter strips, with a fine brush. Multiple layers will create a denser effect.