Let’s talk weathering with modeler Bob Rivard. Bob believes weathering is very important. All the locomotives and freight cars he models, including the wheels and couplers, show signs of weathering.
Bob models the Soo Line. Here at MRA, we have a few videos about Bob’s layout, including ones where you can take a tour of his Soo Line layout. When he buys a new white Soo Line locomotive, he considers it an artist’s palette, a starting point for adding weathering in order to make it look as prototypical as possible.
Bob shows an example of the weathering he has done on Soo Line locomotive number 738. The first step is to find a prototype photo, either in a book or on the internet. Bob keeps that photo right in front of him as he works on the out-of-the-box locomotive.
The Soo Line, which operated in the upper Midwest, was known for not washing its locomotives in the winter. Bob has a prototype photo of locomotive 738 taken on April 1, 1978, and 738 is very dirty. Bob models the summer, so the prototype photo is a bit early, but he couldn’t resist recreating the weathering shown in the photo.
Locomotives, even newer ones, show grime and soot on the trucks, the underframe, and the grills. Taking the time to mask off around the grills is important. Soo Line locomotives show weathering effects in the door latches and hinges. Bob feels the weathering process is like an artist capturing a painting on a palette.
The three main techniques Bob used to create the weathering effects on Soo Line locomotive 738 were oil paints, weathering powders, and airbrushing. It takes time to create the effects but Bob feels it is well worth it.
Here at MRA, we have a category dedicated to weathering. Check those videos for step-by-step instructions.