Techniques for Realistic Locomotives with Bill Aldrige

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Duration: 2:54

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For owner Bill Aldrige, the challenge of weathering the New York, New Haven and Hartford was that the railroad was not noted for keeping their power clean. With the number of passenger trains the railroad had, they had no time to wash the engines. It was an interesting challenge to reproduce the grime and discoloration, but it was one of the most enjoyable aspects for Bill. To make the locomotives look shabby and dirty, his technique at first was to use paint and black spray paint.

However, he was never satisfied with the black because it would look too black and clean. As Bill was driving home one day, he noticed the balck metal lamp posts on his driveway. He noticed that they were not black, but a faded gray bluish color. So, he went out with a paint pallet and mixed until he made a color that matched his lamp post. By mixing black blue and white, he was able to reproduce the correct color. After painting the locomotives with this color, he then oversprays them with a rust red color airbrush. This goes on the top of the boilers to indicate where cinders, soot and sulfuric acid have landed.

Bill was also never satisfied with his smoke boxes. He finally decided to use graphite instead of paint, which worked much better than a black with gray spots. Graphite lubricant can be found at most hardware stores and by stippling this onto the train he can determine how new the smokebox will look. The more the graphite, the more the sheen and the newer it looks and vice versa. Older smoke boxes also have chalk added.