Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Freight Car Guy, Part 8: weathering

 I’ve been accused of not emphasizing weathering in some of these posts about freight car modeling. And to some extent, that is deliberate. Modeling is one part of a freight car project, paint and lettering is the following part. That there is a third part, weathering, is not always central to a particular freight car project. 

But of course, cars that do go into service on my layout or on someone else’s layout do get weathered, just as do prototype cars that move around the nation on the railroads. Based on the joint clinic about weathering that was developed between Richard Hendrickson and me, a few years back, I wrote ten “Reference pages,” the links to which are at the upper right of this page. These are a pretty complete summary of my methods, with lots of examples.

Nevertheless, I have indeed shown a number of projects recently without going to the final weathering step. An example is the New York Central PS-1 box car, repainted from a scheme that did not belong on a model with a 6-foot door. I described both the background and paint and lettering, in a previous post (see it here: ).

Here’s that car, weathered and with paint patches for reweigh and repack stencils, a few chalk marks, and both a route card at the bolster, and a placard on the door’s placard board. 

Another example might be the Stewart Hobbies kit-built Western Maryland hopper that I showed earlier. It has now gotten a good weathering coat (see: ), along with the usual reweigh and repack stencils.The interior has been considerably darkened.

The companion to that model is the Ulrich metal hopper car, originally lettered for the Big Four,” that I repainted and re-lettered for WM. I described that process, and showed prototype photos, in two posts about the project (the concluding one is here: ).The model was completed with reweigh and repack stencils and some chalk marks.

And then there is the stand-in box car, lettered for the Atlantic & Danville, that I showed in freshly lettered condition (you can find this one at: ). Now it’s not only weathered but has a reweigh paint patch, chalk marks, and both route cards and a placard on the door’s placard board.

Lastly, there is the West Shore Line resin model of a B&O covered hopper, described as a combined rescue and completion exercise ( see that one at: ). Here too, the reweigh and repack stencils are evident, along with moderate cement staining.

Each of these cars is now in service on my layout, in various duties suitable for the individual identity of each. Weathering, to me, is an essential part of the appearance of very nearly every single car in my fleet, and these five cars are good illustrations.

Tony Thompson


  1. Nice weathering, Tony. Not overdone, and the chalk marks, etc. add a realistic character. -Jack Shall

    1. Thank you, Jack. The degree of weathering on my cars varies from car to car, with some quite dirty. None of these happen to be that way, but the real world was that way, so I try to do the same.
      Tony Thompson