Author Topic: Weathering Passenger Cars  (Read 780 times)

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chicken45

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Weathering Passenger Cars
« on: February 26, 2013, 09:02:22 AM »
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Hey folks,
I've been curious as to what you guys do to weather your varnish.
Searching this forum didn't turn up too much so I started a new thread. And of course, my questions are asked with the Pennsy in mind.

I know "passenger cars were usually kept clean" and "car ends got dirty" but I'm looking for more info.
  • When they got dirty, how dirty before they were cleaned?
  • Did they get dusty or grimy?
  • What did the roofs look like?
  • Were cars dirtier depending on the decade?
  • Did they weather differently depending if it was pulled by steam or diesel?
  • Were cars less clean later in life because of budgetary concerns?

What do YOU guys to do your varnish?
I'm also wondering about how to finish a car, dull or gloss. Should anything really be glossy in N scale?
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dougnelson

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Re: Weathering Passenger Cars
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 01:01:24 PM »
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Passenger car condition varied greatly depending on era, location, and car type.  Passenger trains and locos were kept pretty clean prior to WWII.  Less cleaning occurred during WWII when car utilization was very high.  After WWII, most, if not all, passenger trains passing through Sunnyside Yard in New York when through the car washers.  Lightweight cars with their smooth sides were easier to clean.  Heavyweights and older cars often were weathered by the elements and lost their gloss coat.  P70 coaches looked shiny and clean when freshly painted, but older weathered cars were more common, particularly in the last decade of the PRR.  P70s in commuter service probably got dirtier quicker - think Pittsburgh commuter service - but New York and Philadelpia cars probably ran throught the car washers more regularly.

If you look at prototype photos, you will see that most PRR passenger trains were a mix of lightweight and heavyweight cars of differing weathering.  As cars were shopped they were repainted, so there could always be a mix of shiny, freshly painted cars, in consists with dull, weathers cars. 

To answer your question directly, it is hard to go wrong with any combination of finishes and weathering.  What was probably rare was an entire train of shiny new cars.

dougnelson

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Re: Weathering Passenger Cars
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 01:07:12 PM »
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A couple of other notes:

the car roofs were the first thing to weather due to the direct exposure to the sun and the greater likelihood of dust and dirt settling on the horizontal surfaces.  Combine this with the fact that the car washers only cleaned the car sides, car roofs were almost always weathered and covered with a coating.  Even if you leave car sides unweathered, I would give roofs a spray of dull coating.