Saturday, June 9, 2018

More Hopper Weathering

Weathering is a hobby in itself. It requires so much dedication and attention to detail I'm not surprised at all some modellers focus their effort only on this particular aspect of our hobby.

While the temptation to rush things is high, I decided to keep my head cool and weathering my fleet step by step. Instead of doing it from start to finish, I do one step on a car, then move on to the other only to come back to the previous one few hours or days later. While it helps the various media to dry thoroughly, it also distances me from my work and enable me to better asset the results before moving on. Knowing I'm a very impatient man, this is already a big improvement.

It also gives them to better analyze prototype pictures and improve the model. Nice details are hopper hatches which are often repaired and replaced on real cars. This is a fun detail to model and that brings personality to the fleet.

Various hatch covers showing car's life cycle.

Speaking of organization, I took some time to reorganize my working area to increase my efficiency. Each tool and paint jars were located (temporarily) in the most convenient spot for speedy results. Paint jars in the rack are now organized in such a way the most often used are right in the front row. I also took time to write the paint color name on the black bottle cap to be able to identify them at a glimpse. An uppercase letter "E" or "A" standing respectively for Enamel and Acrylic also brings some order in the chaos.

It is also nice to revisit previous weathering job and identify flaws to be corrected. I was proud of my weathering work on an old Athearn Milwaukee Road hoppers only to find out, two years later, that many areas weren't up to what I observed on prototype pictures. Not a big deal and it will be improved in due time.

Still a lot of work to do on this previous weathered car.

So far, six hoppers are in various stage of completion, with to others in the paint shop. In total, about 25 grain hoppers will be improved and weathered and I'm glad I did because it helps to blend better models from various eras and manufacturers.

I also started to add some graffiti on my cars, following particular patterns found on real cars. Some are drawn using Prismacolor pencils while others will be done with suitable decals. I won't overdo it, but a few off them are a good way to ground the layout firmly in the 2000s.

Finally - and I hope to write about it in a future post - I started to put in practice what I recently said about pre-weathering cars before applying decals or weathering individual pieces prior to final assembly. So far, I'm really pleased because it gives me more control on what I'm doing.

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