How to Weather Model Trains with Watercolors

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When you look at some of the best model railroads built by experts, you’ll notice that they don’t usually feature buildings with clean white walls and elements fresh from their boxes. There is almost always some form of weathering, especially for scenes set in rural scenes or in past decades. That’s because weathering components of a model train layout gives them the appearance that they’ve actually been used– trains have pounded away at the tracks, storms have rolled through and people have lived and worked in town.

Expert modelers utilize many different techniques to give their scenes a nice weathered and aged look, and the choice is entirely personal. You can learn how to weather model trains with chalks, acrylics and even dirt. In this lesson, we teach you the simple techniques you need in order to know how to weather model trains and structures using watercolor paints.

How to weather model trains: making molded and rusted walls

The process for learning how to weather model trains is really quite simple, and it’s easy to customize your finished product according to the look you want to achieve. To help you discover the expert technique for how to weather model trains with watercolors, modeler Mike Tylick demonstrates the step-by-step procedure for adding light coats of watercolor paints to a building’s walls.

First, Mike discusses the difference between watercolors and acrylics, and highlights some of the reasons you might opt for one over the other. When deciding how to weather model trains and building walls to give them the appearance of rusting and mold, Mike believes the obvious choice is watercolor. These types of paint allow you to add thin layers of shading to a white wall so as not to change the color on the whole, but just add slight hues that make the building look older and affected by the elements. Over time, he shows you how to weather model trains and structures by slowly adding and wiping away coats of watercolor paints to hone the level of weathering you want for your walls.

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