Weathering Using Oils with Bob Lawson

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Duration: 7:07

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In this video, Bob Lawson will demonstrate his model railroad weathering techniques on his Southern Railway. He has used oil stains for years for many instances from weathering buildings to cars. There are a variety of brands available in the colors burnt sienna, burnt umber, raw umber, black, white, and some oranges for rusty colors. He uses them with any type of mineral spirits as a thinner to dilute the paints. Bob adds dabs of paint to a piece of cardboard to mix them to the texture he wants with the thinner.

He will begin demonstrating model railroad weathering techniques with oils on a refrigerator car. First he will use a diluted burnt umber or raw umber to add to the roof with a wide brush. Unlike with india ink, modelers can better vary the colors with an oil stain, which is useful since different cars will weather in different ways. He then takes a smaller brush with a dark color to add grime to the rivet lines to highlight the rivet and door lines roof lines. Using a medium size brush with spirits, he wipes down the sides to add some more all-over color to the car and make the lines he just made more subtle.

The beauty of working with spirits is if you don’t like how the car turned out, you can take a brush with spirits to wipe it right off. Oils will not attack any plastic and flows easily versus india ink and alcohol. It is also easy to add on more, for example adding more darkness to the ridge cap lines where they collect the dirt when they are running. After this is dried, Bob discusses model railroad weathering techniques for the trucks and other aspects of the car. For more weathering tips and techniques, like model train weathering with alcohol, ink, and paint, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.