Martin Tärnrot

Weathering a 40-Foot Container

Martin Tärnrot
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Duration:   5  mins

MRA Contributing Editor Martin Tärnrot weathers a 40-foot container, resulting in realistic weathering effects that can take an extreme amount of time and effort to obtain—unless you know Martin’s tips and techniques for creating the effects easily. Let’s see how he does it.


We start with a standard 40-foot container in HO scale. We have two types of paint to choose from: acrylic paint with acrylic thinner and oil paint with odorless turpentine. With oil paint, Martin first puts it on bathroom tissue, which soaks the linseed oil out of the paint (this is necessary because otherwise, the paint will never dry). Dissolve the oil paint in odorless thinner and apply it to the container using a method called pin wash (the video demonstrates what this method is).

After it dries, flip the container and repeat the process, starting at the top of the container.


Martin applies a thin layer of odorless turpentine all over the container’s roof, then wipes it off with bathroom tissue. Next he takes dry pastel chalk powders, chooses a dark brown color, and grinds some of it off onto the roof. Repeat with a lighter brown. Here’s the magic trick: mist isopropanol all over the pastel chalk powder that’s on the roof. This combination forms pools that have a corroded appearance.


The finishing touch is sealing. Martin uses a shader from Mig in Grime color and he airbrushes it over all of the container’s surfaces. The shader cancels any new and shiny surfaces that may still remain and gives the container an overall used and grimy look.


Weathering is an extensive topic, and we have a whole category of videos about it here on MRA. Check it out! For a specific related video, watch this one on Weathering a Freight Car.

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