Weathering Ties – Test Shots

I got started on staining and weathering some ties this evening, and decided to take some test shots to see how things look.




IMG_0222These ties are on the coal track, which is about 10″ in front a viewer’s nose when they’re standing next to the layout, so I’m experimenting with a few different approaches to creating decrepit track.  I gouged a bit of wear (ok, a lot of wear) into the ties and then took three or four passes with a range of artist oil colours that I mixed from burnt umber, raw umber, mixing white, an grey.  The last step was a thin wash of a really dark dirt colour I made up.

Here are some more pics of other spots along the coal track.


IMG_0223IMG_0226I want to be sure that I like the treatment of the ties before I stain the lot of them. I might have to spike down some rail and set in some ballast before I know for sure.

TH&B Slab Side Hoppers 2852 and 2804

Continuing on the theme of my previous post, here’s a shot of TH&B slab side hopper 2852 and 2804.  Despite the fact that the weathering might look overdone, these cars were very dirty from carrying cement loads.

IMG_0086IMG_0083Like the CP car that posted photos of yesterday, these were weathered with oils mixed by eye in a range of greys and then finished of with pastels.

CP Slab Side Covered Hopper 381151

I posted shots of my Canadian slab side covered hoppers while they were still in the process of being weathered.  Here are shots of both sides of CP slab side hopper 381151 after it was finished.


IMG_0074The car was weathered using a few layers of oils that I mixed in a range of grays.  Once the oils had dried for about a week, I finished the car with pastels.

Weathering TH&B Slab Side Covered Hoppers

copyright Gerry Schaefer

copyright Gerry Schaefer

The term “slab side” covered hopper has always seemed a bit odd to me.  I suppose it does seem odd in the context of modern covered hoppers.  My guess is that back in 1947 it would have been necessary to describe the unique approach to constructing a covered hopper with the vertical side braces on the inside of the side sheets.  It was in ’47 that CPR built a prototype covered hopper in exactly this fashion, defying the norm and producing a car that appeared to be constructed of slabs, I guess.

CP liked the idea enough to National Steel Car in Hamilton Ontario to build 200 cars based on their prototype.  It must have caught on, because between 1950 and about 1963, similar covered hoppers were built for TH&B, CNR, and PGE, by both National Steel Car and Canadian Car & Foundry.

These cars are uniquely Canadian, and for a long time it was difficult to own a model of one, let alone a fleet of them, in HO.  There were very nice brass models of these cars imported some time in the 1980s, but they’re quite rare.  25 years ago, I tried twice to build a model of a TH&B car.  The first was a kitbash that went dreadfully wrong.  The second was an aborted scratch-building adventure.  In the 1990s, Sylvan Scale Models produced a resin kit of this car, and I bought two of them.  These kits proved so challenging to me that both of them are still in a state of partial completion at the bottom of a box somewhere in my basement.

True Line Trains came to the rescue a couple of years back, and produced a smoking nice model of this car in its most common variations.  I didn’t get around to buying any until they were nearly sold out, but I did manage to snag a few TH&B and CP cars at the 11th hour. They were immediately put into service on the WRMRC, and a couple of them were nicely weathered by my friend Ted shortly after they were put on the club layout.  

I love heavily weathered cars, so before I even paid for these, I had a vision of how they would end up.  I remember these slab side covered hoppers being very messed up, almost absurdly so.  And it just wasn’t the occasional car that was really filthy.  It seemed like every slab side covered hopper I saw was a complete mess.  I couldn’t resist going full out on these models.

I brought three of my cars home from the club, and over the past few days, I’ve had a chance to experiment with creating the base weathering of dried cement on the top and sides of the cars.  I’m using oils for this part.  I’ve been mixing a variety of greys by eye and applying them in layers.  I feel like I’ve captured the dried cement effect. Next, I’ll probably use pastels on the trucks and airbrush the slope sheets and underbody.  I don’t usually like showing my weathering work before it’s finished, but here’s a sneak-preview of both sides of the three cars I’m currently working on.  Keep in mind that they’re not finished.

IMG_0014 IMG_0015 IMG_0016 IMG_0017 IMG_0018 IMG_0019