Model Railroad Weathering Techniques: Aging a Wall

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In most cases, when it comes to creating buildings for your model railroad scenes, the more weathered the scenery the more realistic it will appear. That’s because very few railroad towns feature polished train stations with freshly painted exteriors, but rather chipped siding and distressed coats. There are a variety of model railroad weathering techniques that can be used to replicate the effect of wear and tear, and in this lesson we teach you some of our favorite expert tips for achieving this realistic worn look on wooden walls.

Model railroad weathering techniques for wood siding

The first step in making your towns look more realistic is to remove the shine from that sharp coat of paint. To help you take those freshly painted building walls and give them a touch of realism, modeler Mike Tylick walks you through a variety of his favorite quick and easy techniques for model railroad weathering.

Mike begins the model railroad weathering process with a sample wall that’s been gifted a new coat of paint. Thanks to inclement weather such as rain, snow and extreme heat, a building’s paint job and walls themselves are bound to take a beating, so he shows you how to use sandpaper, an X-Acto knife and rivet wheel to add a few years to the wall.

Next, Mike demonstrates his model railroad weathering technique for using a simple solution of India ink and rubbing alcohol to give the same wall a darkened, distressed look as if it’s existed in a dirt road town by the tracks for decades. And lastly, he teaches you the best way to apply weathered signs and advertisements to the side of a building by scratching them up as they dry. With these and other of Mike’s tips for model railroad weathering, you can take those bright white walls and make them appear aged like the real things. Give them a try on your next railroad!