Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Athearn 40' Box Car with Youngstown Door

This is my next weathering project.  It is as you can see a Canadian Pacific liveried 40-foot steel boxcar with  Youngstown style doors and roof walks. The colour is more maroon than the pic…it is showing slightly redder than the actual model.
I believe roof walks were phased out of service by the late 70's. This particular car is showing a July 1937 build date. It already has had a spray of dullcote applied to it. So my next job is to remove and discard the plastic Accumate couplers and remove the wheels and trucks for painting.

I've found only one pic on the web of this type of boxcar in this particular Canadian Pacific livery, and its colour is extremely close to that of the model. So this will be my weathering "template" if you will.

Water-Colour Pencils

I ran across an article that intrigued me last summer, about weathering with watercolour pencils. Embedded in the article was a short video clip wherein the technique is demonstrated.
I really liked the simplicity and effect of this way of doing some subtle shading and weathering so of course off I went to the local art--supply shop and bought a pack of water-colour pencils.

Essentially what you do is dip the pencil in Windex(see post of last Friday, the 26th of Sept.) or water and apply the mark,colour where and how you want…then using a soft damp brush you feather and adjust the colour to the way you want it.  There is a bit of a learning curve…but the beauty of the technique is you cannot ruin a model….its water-colour after all….a damp cloth and it's washed off the model….at least until you seal it.

A few months ago I ran across this discussion about water-colour pencils on the Protomodeler website,      http://www.protomodeler.com/index.php?/topic/2138-weathering-with-water-soluble-watercolor-pencils/?hl=fading
These guys do some amazing work and it is worth checking out not only the discussion about the water-colours but the whole site. Anyway, the other option discussed was to use the pencils dry, not wetting them before applying the colour. I've tried both methods and for me the dry pencil works better, I seem to have more control of the colour. The important thing is to just give the idea a try…nothing ventured nothing gained!

Monday, September 29, 2014

New IWATA HP-SB Plus Airbrush

Just received my new Iwata HP-SB Plus airbrush from Coast Airbrush in California.
I've always used Badger Airbrushes and am especially happy with my Badger 105 Patriot. However I've heard really good things about these Iwata brushes…..and after a first quick test….I'm really liking this one.  It sprays a really fine pattern and very, very thin lines. It also has a very user-friendly and simple adjustment knob for adjusting the thickness of the paint flow.  The other cool thing is that I can mount the paint cup on either the left or right side of the brush body within a couple of seconds without using any tools. That could come in very handy under certain circumstances. The trigger pull is a bit stiffer than I'm used to but I'm sure I can get used to it. Here is a link to the brush specs….


Friday, September 26, 2014

Weathering a White Billboard Reefer

Just a quickie…my next weathering project….a Roundhouse HO white wooden billboard-reefer. I think I'll keep it to a light fade and light dust on the running-gear and sills….but maybe not  :o))

  So I finished this weathering project today. I learned that white-boxcars are, in my opinion, harder to do a credible weathering job on than red,brown,oxide or black cars.
As  always  my first step was to spray the car down with some Testors Dullcote out of a rattle-can. 
I always do this for 3 reasons, #1) it tones down and dulls the shiny plastic look of the model, 
                                                #2) it gives the model some tooth to allow weathering powders and/or paint to better adhere to the model. 
                                               #3) it seems to help disappear accidental fingerprints, from this point on through the rest of the  weathering process I only handle the model while wearing gloves, until finished. 

  I next removed the trucks , wheels and couplers, and mixed up a small amount of white paint with some tan and light grey paints and proceeded to fade the sides of the car…this dulls down the white body colour of the car and slightly bleaches out the black and red lettering, giving the car a bit of a sun-worn appearance.  

  Next I ran the black and red of the letters using water-colour pencils….unfortunately the effect, being quite subtle, did not show up on the pics…my camera skills are sadly lacking….  :0(
  I followed that with a coat of black to the roof and the ends of the car and then a dusting of road grime to the lower edges and corners of the car.
The trucks were scuffed-up with a fibre-pen and given a coat of dirt, with a bit of rust applied to the springs…the wheel faces were rusted and dirtied up in a similar fashion. 
Job done.

Air-brushes and Paint

Back in an earlier post, this one to be precise,  http://genes-trains.blogspot.ca/2010/08/weathering.html
I mentioned that I used an old Badger 200 air brush.

Now I really like this airbrush, its a simple, single-action, bottom feed brush that is great for beginners to get started on…and in experienced hands it does an excellent job. It's easy to adjust the spray thickness as you are  using it, with the easily adjustable needle control at the back and its very quick and easy to take-apart and clean.  That all being said it does have limitations as one gets more experienced at airbrushing, especially in the area of actual paint control and the fineness of the spray pattern.

So last summer I bought myself a Badger 105 Patriot……it is a top or gravity-feed, double-action airbrush. Being double-action it takes a bit of practise to use so be patient…but otherwise it is just as easy to master as the 200 above…and just as easy to adjust and maintain. Good job Badger.!!
I enjoyed using this brush and was so impressed with it that I ordered a second one within a week just to have as a spare and  I also ordered a number of air-hose quick disconnects at the same time, to simplify and speed-up the changing of air-brushes.

I have always used enamel paints such as Humbrol and ModelMaster paints to airbrush with mainly because those were paints I was familiar with from my armour-modelling days way back in my teens…but I have to say that as I have gotten older I am less tolerant of the smells and chemicals involved in using enamels. Well this Patriot airbrush was partly responsible for my decision to try using the dreaded acrylic paints that are so prevalent these days. 

My reading had made the use of acrylics in an airbrush seem overly complex and tedious due to having to be accurate in thinning them for good coverage and their propensity to dry so quickly thus clogging the tip and just being a pain to clean. Fortunately I came across two products that work extremely well to avoid these problems…..common household ammonia in the guise of….Windex and Vallejo Model Air paint! 
 I love this paint!!!!!!!!! Its really the best thing since sliced bread as far as I am concerned. It is specially formulated to use and spray right out of the bottle, no thinning required! I kid you not.  As you can see from the photo….the bottle is essentially an eye-dropper so it is perfect for dispensing exact amounts of paint into a jar,or side or top-mount airbrush cup. No wasted paint! You just squeeze as many drops as you need into your cup and thats it. No waste, no mess. 
One of the other great things about this particular acrylic paint is it doesn't dry-out in the bottle due to non-use…I've left my paint untouched,unused for as long as 8 months and found it to be as good as when I opened the bottle the first time.This paint is a water clean-up paint and if you really need to do it you can thin it with water too. 
Ok…one downside for model railroaders…no railroad specific colours yet…but with about 130 various colours available I'm sure you can find something of use from these guys.

Which brings me to the Windex. 

As any North American knows, Windex is the most popular and commonly available household glass-cleaner  in North America.
It is an ammonia based household cleaner for windows and mirrors and I'm sure something exactly the same as Windex is available in Europe and the UK.
The main thing about it is the ammonia…many acrylics, including Vallejo Model Air are affected by ammonia in such a way as to be beneficial to us. Among those ways are thinning of the paint and clean-up. You can save some money by using ammonia based products for thinning the paint instead of the manufacturers expensive brand of thinner…same goes for clean-up. 
When I'm airbrushing I keep a small container of windex next to me with an eyedropper…a few drops of it into the paint-cup, sprayed through the brush cleans out the cup,brush and needle ready for the next colour…I can switch from black paint to white paint in under a minute….without the black paint contaminating or messing-up the white paint! I also keep a few cotton-buds/q-tips handy that I dip into the windex to give the needle-tip a quick clean every few minutes…that helps prevent the dreaded tip dry syndrome.
When I finish a spray session I just fill the cup with the windex and give it a good spray through and boil with the windex.  After about  every painting third session I take the brush apart and soak the needle and tip in a shallow pan of windex and run a windex-soaked pipe-cleaner through the brush orifices and the brush is spotless…takes maybe 5-10 minutes at the most.  These couple of simple little tricks has not only simplified the clean-up process but it has actually hugely improved the whole air-brushing experience.

Give the Model-Air paint and the Windex a try…I guarantee it will change your air-brushing experience for the better!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

 Been having fun trying out fading techniques and using water-colour pencils to add various weathering effects.
Two billboard reefers, one unweathered one faded and weathered

And after a quick fade,
dusting of earth and some rust marks added.

Gondola untouched, straight out of the box