Friday, December 21, 2018

Donohue MLW S2 - Part 3

Another motive power project completed before Christmas. After the SW1200RS fiasco and overcomplicated GP15-1s wiring, it's a nice touch to end the year on a positive note.

The biggest challenge with this locomotive was to make the details pop under the black coat of paint. Pure black is notorious to be one of the worst color for scale models. Smaller details and shapes are buried because shadows and highlights can't contrast enough with the surrounding color. This effect is even worst when trying to photograph the model.

For this reason, the black paint was faded in various ways, using oil washes, diluted acrylics and some powders. But even that wasn't enough to bring details back. A subtle oil pain drybrushing helped to highlight the louvers, rivets, fan and grilles. Then, not yet satisfied, I used my trusty color pencils to make specific details even more visible. At this point, I new I had stepped into the artistic side of the hobby. It was no longer about recreating a specific effect by following a recipe, but to build up effects until they toll the story I wanted.

In the case of the trucks, they were painted significantly a lighter shade than on the prototype, dusted and dry brushed to replicate the dirt streaking effect that happens in real life. It wasn't enough. Once again, using a color pencil, I lightly colored the truck sideframe edges to had some highlight and better define them.

Taking this extra step is generally what makes a model full of life. Surprisingly enough, we rarely venture to that point when creating scenery. Several layers of scenic materials are laid one upon another. Rarely we will use paint, washes, powders and various other tricks in our tool box to add depth and variety in the mix. If I had a single goal for 2019, it would be to approach layout scenery with the same dedication I have for motive power and freight car weathering.

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