Author Topic: Subtle steam weathering  (Read 3488 times)

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tom mann

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Subtle steam weathering
« on: October 25, 2007, 08:57:44 AM »
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Last week has been "steam week" for me.  I'm weathering 4 steam locos in 3 scales!

The problem is, since I'm not too experienced weathering steam, I don't know when to "stop".   Since steam had to be frequently maintained, there wasn't a big opportunity for much weathering to happen between shop time.



Thanks to Erik for sending me the landmark 1980 Gazette article.  I followed the advice in this article, with slight changes of paint.

Allentown Hump

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2007, 01:53:49 PM »
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So did you take that thing apart to weather it, or did you do it in pieces? Once I figure out how to get my damn Bachmann Mountain to run right, I have to hit that with an air brush...
A-Town Hump

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tom mann

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2007, 02:14:25 PM »
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No need to take it apart.  Just set up a little track and run it back and forth while the airbrush is 8" away.

central.vermont

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2007, 05:34:59 PM »
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Hey Tom,
Tell me more of this "Landmark 1980 Gazette article".
Whats the Gazette??? I'd like to see this also. I've got
a brass HO B&M 2-8-0 that needs to get a weathering.

Jon

pbrooks

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2007, 06:50:04 PM »
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Tom-

I think she's a beauty! Good job.  ;D

The problem with steam is trying to find some other colors to drop in so everything isn't just black.
I actually designed my paint scheme to have oxide roof and tender deck just to get a little color in there.
Some steamers had sand spills, hard water stains, and even rust. It just depends on the life of the unit.

The only suggestion I can make is to cover the molded coal load with a thin layer of scale coal.
Good luck finding some! The WS stuff is actually charcoal, so grinding and sifting real coal is probably the best bet.

You don't need much to do the job, though.

Thanks for sharing pix...

take care,

-Phil
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DKS

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2007, 07:31:35 PM »
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Nice effect; the tender is especially good. I think subtle can be harder to pull off than the more seriously aged. My suggestion (other than the coal as already noted) is to try adjusting the coloration of the siderods and, in particular, the valve gear. Even on the most bedraggled steamers, the valve gear was clean and shiny, as they were usually slick with lubricants, and the siderods seemed to get less dirty than the wheels.
“Everyone leaves unfinished business. That's what dying is.” —Amos, The Expanse

3rdrail

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2007, 09:16:07 PM »
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Nice effect; the tender is especially good. I think subtle can be harder to pull off than the more seriously aged. My suggestion (other than the coal as already noted) is to try adjusting the coloration of the siderods and, in particular, the valve gear. Even on the most bedraggled steamers, the valve gear was clean and shiny, as they were usually slick with lubricants, and the siderods seemed to get less dirty than the wheels.

I disagree as to the rods and valve gear. Here's a photo, albeit in black & white, of an NKP Berkshire (709):



To me, it seems the only shiny part of the rods is the piston rod itself, everything else has a pretty uniform coating of grime. At times, the rear drivers were lighter in color, due to ashes being dumped from the firebox behind them.

tom mann

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2007, 09:42:32 PM »
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Even on the most bedraggled steamers, the valve gear was clean and shiny, as they were usually slick with lubricants, and the siderods seemed to get less dirty than the wheels.

I've been looking at a lot of steam loco photos over the last two months, and you are right - but for a small percentage of them.  It all depends on the frequency of maintenance and when the photo was taken (ie, right after a shopping).

Looking at steam has taught me something:  the subtle difference between "weathering" and "aging".

wcfn100

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2007, 11:22:59 PM »
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I admittedly haven't been next to a ton of steam engines in my life, but everyone I have seen is shiny, and greasy.  But everyone likes to weather them dull and dusty. ???

Maybe it's just me.


Jason

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2007, 12:24:46 AM »
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Jason
It's probably because the ones you've seen are all dolled up for tourist service.

Strasburg's stuff is usually  pretty clean, maybe some oil at the end of the day, but not much dirt.

Maybe some of the longer distance stuff out west might be different though. How about those NG lines?


DKS

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2007, 09:33:31 AM »
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To me, it seems the only shiny part of the rods is the piston rod itself, everything else has a pretty uniform coating of grime. At times, the rear drivers were lighter in color, due to ashes being dumped from the firebox behind them.

I'm sure there are plenty of examples to support either view. I reviewed about a hundred period photos before making my post, and seldom where all of the valve gear and rods a uniform tone that exactly matched the wheels. For instance:



Or, something a bit closer to the subject:



Obviously Tom did his homework and I imagine the information supported his view. I was merely presenting an alternate view based on my own observations.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2007, 10:02:41 AM by dks2855 »
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pbrooks

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2007, 11:14:54 AM »
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Good points, guys... which brings us to another hairy weathering dilemma-

Scale Gloss.

If you look at the flanks of the Pere Marquette tender, it's actually shiny, and so are a lot of other spots.

The problem, (in my humble opinion) is that scale gloss is HARD to do in N scale.
A good example is the mini-metals autos... by the time you have enough clear coat to be shiny, it's so thick that the paint looks toy-like.

I would rather have a semi-flat or flat THIN finish than a glossy, THICK one, even if it's "wrong".

It just seems the lesser of two evils to me.

Remember, I'm just saying N-scale... HO and larger is no problem...

Any opinions or modeling examples you guys have seen?

-Phil

p.s.- Here's an example of my attempts....
notice how the gloss on the truck says "plastic". Maybe rubbing down an engine with some kind of wax for gloss? I dunno!



« Last Edit: October 27, 2007, 11:24:27 AM by pbrooks »
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DKS

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2007, 12:38:03 PM »
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The problem, (in my humble opinion) is that scale gloss is HARD to do in N scale.

Quite true. Gloss is a very difficult finish to pull off successfully. So too is the unevenness of sheet metal. No real boxcar, for example, has the perfectly smooth sides that mass-produced models have; yet, if the surface of a model was made to replicate the subtle undulations of real sheet metal (which I imagine would be a tooling nightmare), it would tend to look like a mistake.

Nice scene, Phil, BTW. Great smoke effect.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2007, 12:41:47 PM by dks2855 »
“Everyone leaves unfinished business. That's what dying is.” —Amos, The Expanse

3rdrail

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2007, 12:53:03 PM »
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The problem, (in my humble opinion) is that scale gloss is HARD to do in N scale.

Quite true. Gloss is a very difficult finish to pull off successfully. So too is the unevenness of sheet metal. No real boxcar, for example, has the perfectly smooth sides that mass-produced models have; yet, if the surface of a model was made to replicate the subtle undulations of real sheet metal (which I imagine would be a tooling nightmare) , it would tend to look like a mistake.

Nice scene, Phil, BTW. Great smoke effect.

Really? Look closely at this Fine-N-Scale car. All their PRR and B&O steel cars have "wavy" sheet metal, just like the prototype!

DKS

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Re: Subtle steam weathering
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2007, 01:10:19 PM »
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Really? Look closely at this Fine-N-Scale car. All their PRR and B&O steel cars have "wavy" sheet metal, just like the prototype!

Yes, I know, I have several Fine-N-Scale cars (my previous post was referring to injection plastic mass-production, and after making the post I had a feeling this would crop up). After painting mine normally and not liking the finished effect, I repainted them all with very heavy aging, which subdued the slightly unnatural appearance. This is obviously a personal perspective; not everyone thinks they look "odd," just like not everyone is bothered by glossy N scale models. But I do know other modelers who, like myself, agree that certain effects do not always translate well when faithfully reproduced.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2007, 01:56:44 PM by dks2855 »
“Everyone leaves unfinished business. That's what dying is.” —Amos, The Expanse