In the previous Part 6, I described weathering of flat cars and covered hoppers, and also provided links to the first five posts on this topic, which presented my basic weathering method. Part 6 can be seen at this link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2014/10/my-acrylic-weathering-method-part-6.html .
In this post I take up open-top cars such as gondolas and hoppers. For them, I once again prefer to weather in two sessions, once to do the outside of the car (sides, ends and trucks) and again to do the inside. Insides are often different in wear patterns, degree of rust, debris, and other factors. The rest of the basic method is about the same.
I will begin with a kitbash I did some years ago, following a Richard Hendrickson article in Prototype Modeler magazine (“Mill gondolas and how to model them,” Part 2, Vol. 5, No. 8, November-December 1982, pages 12–16; Part 1 was in the preceding issue, September-October 1982). It’s an EJ&E gondola modified from an Athearn model with fishbelly sides cut off, and given new, correct ends (from Detail Associates), a lever hand brake, and a wood floor. It was also necessary to add rivet-impressed styrene overlays inside the car to add rivets there (today, this would be far easier, and look better, with the use of Archer rivets). You can click on the image to enlarge.
As you can see, there is some yellow rust streaking on the inside of the sides, along with some red rust, and the wood floor (represented with scribed styrene) has been weathered much like the flat car decks shown in Part 6 (link provided above).
Another example is a model upgraded from the old metal Model Die Casting low-side gondola, which has a steel floor. These cars naturally took a beating inside, as do most gondolas, and in this model you can see the extensive rust. You can also see some debris inside. Many receivers of cargoes shipped in gondolas or flat cars simply left dunnage and bracing remnants on or in the car, and viewing prototype gondolas today still shows this kind of debris.
The way to represent rust, as I’ve said before, is to use Raw Sienna (yellow rust) and Burnt Sienna (red rust), along with Burnt Umber (older, brown rust), again in the form of the usual washes.
A car type which took particularly hard use, in fact comparable to hopper cars in some ways, was the General Service or GS gondola in the West. Most western railroads rostered substantial numbers of GS gons instead of traditional cross-dumping hoppers, and used them for a wide variety of cargoes, not least mineral and sand/gravel cargoes. Here is an example of interior rust and dirt added to a steel SP GS gondola. The interior looks visibly different from the exterior, as it should.
First is a War Emergency twin hopper. These cars were wood-sheathed to save scarce sheet steel in the early part of World War II. Some of them survived into the 1950s on the Santa Fe with their original wood sheathing, and the model shown below is Richard Hendrickson’s weathering. (He gave me the model, with its limestone load permanently installed, because he had done two models like this, in his view one more than he needed.) Artist’s color pencils have been used to give individual boards a little contrast and fade, and lettering is also faded. The overall effect is quite nice.
One conventional hopper I do have is an old Ulrich metal kit, which has separate ladders and wire grabs. It is not too bad a match for some cars owned by the Montour. When I moved to Pittsburgh in 1977, the Montour was shutting down and a lot of equipment was on the scrap line. The weathering and rust in the image below is based on a photo of one of the cars I saw there. In regular service, coal can be abrasive to paint and rust alike, and probably the car interior would not have looked quite like this.
These different open-top cars give some idea of the kinds of approaches which may be useful for your own fleet, depending on what (and where) you are trying to model.
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