Saturday, February 27, 2010

Free Clinic at Trainmaster Models

I love model train clinics!  Especially good ones!  Mike Devaney who owns Trainmaster Models in Buford, GA invited the public to a clinic this afternoon called Weathering 101.  Mike is a fantastic weathering artist and I've drooled over his models for years.  So now he's going to show us how!

(See the bottom of the blog for a list of key learnings!)

The new clinic room is huge!  It will seat 50 people easy and has digital projectors in the ceiling, work desks for each attendee and all the comforts you need for training.  No other hobby shop that I know of has this.  That's Iron Mike in the red shirt.

We were supposed to be there for two hours.  He threw us out after three hours!  We had a blast.  Mike covered weathering both large (G) and small (N) rail cars, structures, scenic items, track and other things.

We began the program with a short slide presentation showing various weathered prototype objects such as rolling stock.  Then we turned to the paints.  It was handy doing this in the hobby shop because if we needed something we just went and got the material!

Several weathering media were covered such as paints (solvent and acrylic), chalks, pastels, washes, inks and powdered pigments.

I'd not watched someone weather in G scale before.  Mike sanded off some of the logo on this boxcar to make it look faded and them took his pocket knife and dug cuts into the "metal" of the boxcar!

The room kept filling up and even wives got into the action!

Several members of our operating group were there.  Some new modelers, some advanced, but all had learned a thing or two.

For years I've not really cared about which type of alcohol that I used.  Mike went into detail on which to pick and what they are used for.  Handy!

The excitement kept building as he showed us different tricks.  When he fired up the spray booth, we left our seats for an even better look.

The two hour bell rang, and we forced him to keep going, all of us riveted to what he was doing.  I'm amazed at how easy he makes it look.  The HO scale gondola looked real!

My favorite topic was painting a brick building.  He showed us a technique for using chalk/pastels and an alcohol ink wash to make mortar in bricks.  It was fantastic!  It looked better than any of a dozen techniques I've used over the years and I'll try it and post the results on the blog.

He rusted the trucks and then weathered the G scale box car.  It was so real that I couldn't believe it.

Thanks Mike for a great clinic and for sharing your skills.  I look forward to the next clinic!

Key Learnings:

  1. To make telephone poles look more realistic, used stained glass paints to reproduce glass insulators on the poles.  It is easy to do and is a 100% improvement on out-of-the-box poles.
  2. There are two types of weathering; that which collects on the surface, and actual changes in the surface such as rust.
  3. For mortar in a brick building, scrape up shavings from a light gray chalk and apply using an ink wash to the plastic brick.  Allow to dry and the brick will have a light gray coating.  Wipe of the coating and you'll have a very realistic motar finish that is better than acrylic paint techniques.
  4. Mortar in bricks is often not much different in color than the brick in older buildings.
  5. Remove trucks from rolling stock before weathering, and remove the wheels from the trucks.  this allows you to pay special attention to each piece.  Then reapply the trucks to the rolling stock before any oversprays.
  6. Different trucks weather differently.  friction bearing trucks tend to have a greasy black appearance where roller bearing trucks are more rusty.
  7. Use fine sandpaper to distress printed logos and test on rolling stock.
  8. Tack boards on boxcars weather rapidly and will have cracks and knotholes that should be carefully modeled.
  9. Don't use plastic handled brushes with solvent based paints, and don't use plastic cups.
  10. Gray scale chalks are handy for weathering in that they can be mixed with paints to provide texture as well as color.
  11. Put grimy black on door tracks for boxcars as they were heavily greased and leaked frequently.
  12. There are water based india inks which don't work well, and don't mix with alcohol.  Be alert to this.
  13. When using alcohols note that there are several types.  The strength of the alcohol is noted in its percentage (i.e. 97%) which means that it is 3% water and additives.  When working with ink washes, use a 50% alcohol base so that you don't wash off the ink (paint) lettering on the car or locomotive.
  14. The ink wash mix can vary greatly.  A heavy mix would be two-to-three drops of india ink to 4-5 oz of 50% alcohol.
  15. There are brown and other color india inks.  When buying black be sure to get carbon black as some of the inks have a blue hue to them and don't work well for a black wash.
  16. Use Floquil Earth for a general overspray on a model to help tie together all of the weathering.
  17. Spend the time to weather the underside of the car as this will add to the affect.

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