Some Weathering Ideas (Part IV)

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Milepost 800

“We interrupt the regularly scheduled discussion of car weathering techniques to inform you that today, February 9th, is the blog author’s sixty-first birthday1 After appropriate merriment & celebration, the regularly scheduled discussion will continue…”

We will conclude our weathering series with some thoughts on boxcars since they were probably the most widely used type of car up until the recent advent of intermodal shipping. Since the cars come in all shapes & sizes… from old, short 36-footers to monsterous 86-foot hicubes. They are also found in varying heights, again from the shorter, older cars to the hicubes mentioned… and all heights in between. Even today, they are also found in a variety of different colors so they are most likely the car that you would have the most of on your layout.

Weathering a boxcar takes in to account not only the elements but also the freight being hauled in the car. I’ve seen cars with what appears to be the remnants of a load just below the door sills where a bag or carton most likely burst and spilled its contents. Most likely, this would be white from flour or a light gray from cement but other colors might be found on the car’s sides as well. Then you can add all of the “normal” dirt & grime that would be a part of the elements. Don’t forget that boxcars were made of both wood and steel so you can use different weathering on each of those materials. Do all of this and you will have quite a variety of colors present.

Note on the car above that there are a couple of boards that have been highlighted with the weathering technique. These boards for whatever reason didn’t take the paint the same as the others when the car was built and so shows signs of that paint already being affected by the weather. It is interesting that a simple technique like this really stands out and gives the car some additional character.

Weathered Boxcar 03

This double-sheathed car has been heavily weathered suggesting that either the car is getting up there in years or is way past due for a trip to the paint shop. Paint formulation 70-80 years ago wasn’t the same as it is today and the paint simply didn’t last as long as it does today. Note on this car that the weathering tends to be vertical, not only following the grain of the wood but also the way gravity would affect the flow of rain water (and melting snow) on the sides of the car.

Note that all of the cars have their trucks and wheels weathered as well.

This concludes the series of posts based on the Pirates’ discussion of weathering techniques. I hope you enjoyed my sharing their efforts as much as I enjoyed their sharing them with me. And a special thanks to all of the Pirates who graciously allowed me to use their photos.




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