MRA Editors

Weathering Model Trains with Make-Up and Ink

MRA Editors
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Duration:   5  mins

As part of his research on the Conrail New Jersey Division, expert modeler Matt Snell carefully studies photographs before weathering model trains for his layout. Model railroad weathering usually is more subtle than most modelers apply, so he uses some unconventional materials and techniques which he shows MRA’s Allen Keller in this final episode on this outstanding layout.

Instead of relying primarily on chalks, Matt uses a lot of makeup products a product called “chalk ink” and various makeup brushes in weathering model railroad cars and engines.. He demonstrates step-by-step how he weathers a stock locomotive shell using brown makeup powder, starting more heavily at the bottom and feathering off as he nears the roof, to which he again applies brown more heavily, and then adds black chalk ink to apply to fans areas. Vertical areas where “Conrail rust” tends to settle gets a heavier coating of Burnt Sienna chalk ink. He cautions that the shell must be free of any fingerprints before starting, otherwise the weathering process will reveal them! Finally, when he’s pleased with the results, he seals it in with Testors’ Dullcote.

What Matt likes most about the hobby is the multi-faceted aspect of it. He also has learned that he has organizational skills that allow him to set a realistic timetable for completing an aspect of his layout by carefully scheduling activities that needed to occur along the way. He found that ordering two segments before he would need the materials helped him build without major construction delays and become more efficient.

In other words, Matt approached the building of his layout much as he would a job. And that approach allowed him to create his entire layout in just six years!

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