In this video, modeler and owner of the Coal Belt model railroad Bill Henderson demonstrates weathering a boxcar. To start, a car should be painted with purposeful streaks to give the appearance of bleached boards. After being painted, coal dust can be added to the car. For weathering a boxcar, Henderson uses a black powder or pastel chalk that has been scraped off with a knife. The pigment is brushed downwards from the top of the car with a damp brush, as if the coal dust has run off the roof from a rain shower. Then, dust is added using a powdered tan chalk. Bill applies this from the bottom upwards to mimic the dust commonly swept up from the roadbed wheels and speed.
Henderson has made 3.5 versions of his original Coal Belt layout and each time found better materials and techniques for weathering a boxcar and making model scenery. Bill kept his eyes open and collected images to model from. He loves modeling scenery, it gives him a creative outlet and it really draws people into the scenes on his layout. Bill uses old forgotten techniques from the hobby’s history instead of standard techniques used by most modelers. He believes many solutions modelers search for today were already addressed by the master modelers of the 1930’s and 40’s.