Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Freight car graffiti, Part 2

In an earlier post, which I’ll call Part 1 of this series, I gave a summary of my contribution to the “Getting Real” series of monthly columns in Model Railroad Hobbyist or MRH, specifically the column about graffiti on freight cars. It was in the January 2020 “Running Extra” section of MRH. The post about it is at this link: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-latest-column-in-mrh.html .
     I have continued to work on the representation of graffiti for post-1980 freight car appearance. I continue to photograph prototype graffiti, on both freight cars and buildings, as candidates for the paper overlay technique I described in the MRH article and in my post about the article (link provided in the first paragraph of the present post). 
     I will just choose one illustrative example. Shown below is a covered hopper that I spotted a month or so ago. This photo was taken to show how the “writer” of the graffiti nearest the camera added back the car’s number (525551) in black spray paint, so that someone else wouldn’t do so, but farther down the side can be seen a blue-painted item.

The blue item looked like a candidate for a paper overlay, so I photographed more nearly square-on, as you see here.  Do note all the “tags” arrayed all over the car side next to this word, “bash.”

This photo was squared up in Photoshop, edges cleaned up, and printed out at my local copy shop, which is equipped with a high-resolution color laser printer. I usually just print these on ordinary paper, as it is easier to work with afterward, and the finest resolution is not really needed with these graffiti.
     The model chosen for this application is an Atlas model of a large 5700-cubic-foot covered hopper, shown below in its original condition.

     Here is the prototype bit of graffiti I showed, applied to the center of the Atlas model car, along with two additional graffiti decals. They are both from Dave’s Decals, sheet 6028 (visit the site at: www.davesdecals.com ).

     Next came weathering. Here I used a combination of Weathering Solutions decals, which I have reviewed in a previous blog post (see it here: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2017/07/using-weathering-solutions-decals.html ). I used mostly their rust streaks set 1105-SLT (they no longer have a web site, but do have a somewhat informative Facebook page, which is at: https://www.facebook.com/weatheringsolutions ). I also weathered the area around the hatches, and the car sides, with my usual technique, using washes with acrylic tube paint (see the detailed description at: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/p/a-few-years-ago-richard-hendrickson-and.html ). Here is how it looks.

     I have gotten the question from a few people, “Why didn’t you just make decals, instead of paper overlays?” Fair question. I have made a few decals myself in the past, and found that some of them, especially multi-color ones, did not come out too great. That’s mostly why I wanted to see if paper overlays would work. But of course decals have more flexibility, especially with outside-post cars, and would be best for those uses.
     For those who have never tried to make a decal themselves, a good and clear description of the process was provided as a comment to my first post about graffiti, at the link provided in the first paragraph of the present post.
     The present post is really the start of a series; I have undertaken a series of car projects with graffiti additions. I will return to those projects as further examples of my “graffiti-d” freight cars in future posts.
Tony Thompson

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