Bob "Chooch" Rivard

Weathering a Freight Car

Bob "Chooch" Rivard
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Duration:   29  mins

Modeler Bob “Chooch” Rivard is known for his Soo Line circa 1977 layout. One of his goals is to replicate the freight cars and engines as realistically as possible, and to capture the look of the prototype cars. In this extended video, he shows us how he weathers a freight car using different techniques to add the weathering appropriately, based on photos from freight car books and the internet.

Bob shows a freight car he bought from Rapido Trains. New out of the box, it had no weathering on it but after Bob was finished, it looks like it’s been in use for years. He takes us to his workshop to work his magic on a pristine car.


Bob has an Airslide hopper from Athearn that looks new out of the box, with no weathering on it. He has a prototype photo (taken in 1978) he found on the internet to use as a guide for weathering. Coincidentally, the car in the photo has the same number as the one on the car Bob purchased.

Bob begins by removing the wheels and side frames. He will weather these separately with an airbrush. Next he studies the photo, identifying weathering patterns and deciding what materials he can use to recreate them.


Bob uses an airbrush, first applying a coat of Testors Dull Cote to give the car a flat, even finish. Next is a coat of thinned-out Grime color and a flat Dirt color. Paints are from Scalecoat.

Weathering powders come after the first layers of paint. Bob applies Grimy Black weathering powder with a medium dry brush. He studies the photo while he applies it. Bob works on the roof with a larger brush and a mix of dark color weathering powders.


Here at MRA we have videos of Bob’s impressive Soo Line layout. Check out the Tour of Bob Rivard’s HO Scale Soo Line. We also have more videos about weathering cars, for example Weathering Model Railroad Cars With Artist Oil Paints.

This is a brief summary only. Be sure to watch the video to see all the details of Bob’s weathering techniques.

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