MRA Editors

Weathering Model Railroad Cars with Artists' Oil Paints

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Duration:   10  mins

Weathering the cars and structures on your model railroad can be a great way to quickly and easily add realism to any layout. Real railroads, after all, don’t look fresh from the box, so neither should your models.

You can give your scene components an aged and weathered appearance in a number of different ways. Weathering model railroad cars in particular can be done with chalks, acrylics, or rust products that you can purchase at your local craft or hobby store. However, we’d like to introduce another great method for weathering model railroad cars that often goes overlooked by modelers. In this lesson we teach you how to add years to your new railroad cars using artistic oil paints.

Tips for weathering model railroad cars with oils

We all know what happens when rain, snow, and wind do their worst to metal. That’s right: rust. It’s impossible to avoid rust, which means your model railroad cars should have endured at least a bit of rusting throughout their tenure on the tracks. To help you make your railroad cars look like they’ve been beaten up by the elements, NMRA Master Modeler Gerry Leone demonstrates a simple painting technique for weathering model railroad cars.

To complete this expert technique for weathering model railroad cars, you’ll need a beginner’s oil paint pack. With paints in hand, Gerry shows you how to use three of the colors from this pack and a bit of turpenoid to add realistic rusting to your cars. He walks you through the step-by-step process for weathering model railroad cars, including preparing, applying, and perfecting the rust marks you create.

There are two different types of weathering you can add to your cars—rust wash and rust streaks, both of which Gerry teaches you how to create with a soft brush. He discusses a few simple tips you should keep in mind when weathering model railroad cars in regards to application and drying time, and then he shows you how it’s done. With the methods you learn in this video, you can take the realism of your layouts to a whole new level!

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