Monday, November 10, 2014

An excellent book on weathering

One of the discoveries of my visit to the marvelous National Railway Museum in York, England (see my description and photos of the museum itself at: ), while in the museum shop and naturally in the section on modeling, was an outstanding book on weathering of rolling stock. I purchased it at once, and want to pass on the information about it.
     The book is by Tim Shackleton, and is recent; the book was published by Ian Allan Publishing of Harsham, Surrey in 2013. Here is the book cover:

This is a 96-page soft-cover book, on heavyweight glossy paper with superb photo reproduction, so the book is a pleasure to use, whether just to browse or to study the individual projects. The cover does feature two passenger cars, but the interior is evenly divided between freight and passenger equipment. But it’s all British, I hear you say. True. More on that below.
     As it happens, Shackleton has also written a book on locomotive weathering, which looked every bit as nice, but I chose the one of more interest to me. This is the cover of that book:

Each of the books cost £16 (which is currently about $25, an extremely reasonable price for these well-made books). They and a whole bunch of others in the current Ian Allan series on modeling topics, can be purchased on line from their site, at: . The books can be delivered by surface post or air mail; the charges vary with package weight but charges start at £5 or £8, respectively, and they will calculate the cost for you (read the section on “Postage” on their site). They are quite experienced in worldwide shipping and you can trust the arrangements.
     What is inside? As mentioned, the prototypes are of course British, and some details of weathering patterns or freight car hardware are naturally different from U.S. experience. Many other details, however, are universal and apply perfectly well to U.S. modeling. But the key point is the clear demonstration of how to achieve the various weathering effects shown. Here is just one example of the results, on a group of wood and steel coal gondolas after long service.

     The illustrations of how the work was done are extremely clear and well photographed. I have not seen better illustrations of this kind, and Kalmbach’s model railroad books, to name one source of this kind of material, rarely come close to this standard. Here is one of the photos:

     I realize many people may shy away from a book about different prototypes. But I can assure you that you will find dozens of excellent weathering tips and techniques in this book that can help with any project. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Tony Thompson


  1. Nice book, by all accounts. Just now it is out of stock, hope it will be available again.

  2. Excellent finds, Tony. At one time, Tim Shackleton was the editor of Model Railway Journal magazine from Wild Swan Publications. Wild Swan also has some great weathering books - look for "The Art of Weathering" book by Martyn Welch (and here's a link to Martyn's website):
    - Trevor

    Port Rowan in 1:64
    An S scale study of a Canadian National Railways branch line terminal - in its twilight years.

  3. The Brits are head and shoulders above the best of USA modeling in terms of both artisanship and craftsmanship. USA-ians make collages while the Brits (and French) tell rich stories thru their work.

    The work that Roy Link often displays in the "Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modeling Review" would stretch credibility except for the before-during-after pix.

    Everyone on this side of the Atlantic should read some of their books and magazines to discover what potential lies in model RR-ing.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, all of you. I entirely agree with the view that British modeling is, at the top level, superb indeed. I learned this the year I lived in England, as I discussed in a previous post:

    I have heard directly from Tim Shackleton, and he is about to deliver a third book on weathering to Ian Allan. Watch for it.
    Tony Thompson

  5. For those who cannot wait, it is available through Amazon at this URL

  6. Similar books by the same author, and cheaper from The Book Depository: