One aspect of modelling I have always enjoyed is weathering Rolling stock. Locos and coaches are now kept in fairly clean condition though not always pristine and in factory gloss condition as the British weather and working hard takes its toll on paintwork etc. However, in the transition era (and BR blue era too), such love and attention was rare. The early diesels shared shed space with steam engines as they were being run down, the sheds themselves were often being run down and closed in the transition process as well. The facilities and pride that had maintained the steam age   system was removed and resulted in some shocking bodywork on locos. Rolling stock was also going through modernisation so Steam Era coaches were often run without heavy overhaul as lines were closing and DMUs were on order as replacements. This offers some real modelling challenges and Kirkmellington should become home to several battered grimy locos, coaches and a wagon fleet in varying states of decay.

Rolling stock, wagons in particular were often old, unloved and in terrible condition. This applies equally to the NCB private owner internal use fleet, many if which were wooden bodied wagons dating back to the 1920’s. there have been many new offerings for producing such weathered affects with various acrylic paints now on sale which will be used on the Kirkmellington fleet.  Key to success will be studying and duplicating photos of similar stock. A good thread on such things can be found on RMWeb 16t minerals wagons on RMWeb

I have been weathering stock for my Dads layout, Eskmuir as well my own for Kirkmellington. I love to tone down pristine paintwork to depict the faded and patch painted look so common through the 1960s and 70s. Here are. Couple of coaches recently completed as just needing a wash of grime on their underframes.


The faded paintwork is achieved by coating the body side in a thinned wash of pink paint which is the rubbed off with a cloth.  This will stick in recesses and in random small patches on the bodywork. Features such as handles, hinges and doorstops were picked out in sooty black and some streaks added for water runs. Roof and ends were sprayed in weathered black and new numbers added using water slide transfers. A coat of matt varnish sealed everything in. These two coaches were weathered using acrylic paint from Railmatch Paint

Weathering wagons is a bit of a science. There are many sources of information – 4mm coal wagons by Wild Swan is a must. There are also plenty of websites, the most comprehensive is that by Paul Bartlett. Some typical period wagons can be seen on his website including

P101648 ex Bolsover Colliery private trader mineral @ Swindon Works mid 1950s

P302758 ex private trader mineral

B116029 COAL 16 @ Toton 1978

B951560 CAO @ chesterton Junc 1979

In preparing stock for Kirkmellington (2014/15), i was experimenting with the Weathering Dyes from Modelmates. The Rust Effect dye is looking very useful and realistic, it gets darker with the more layers you add so the first layer needs to be the widest with second & third layers used sparingly just to give texture and depth to the colours.

Here are my sample wagons:

Bachmann Mineral Wagon weathered with Rust effect

Bachmann Mineral Wagon with Rust effect patches

Bachmann Mineral Wagon lightly weathered with Rust effect

I have now moved on to trial the Lifecolor weathered wood Acryllic paint set. There were still a lot of wooden planked mineral wagons in traffic through the 1960s and 70s. These had often weathered back to bare wood and even the better examples were in pretty dire condition. It has been a learning curve on the best way to use the Lifecolor set but trial and error has produced a result I am happy with.

I have worked on two wagons, a7mm Dapol wagon and a 4mm Bachmann wagon.  Both are weathered using the lifecolour weathered wood pack for the timber, railmatch acrylic weathered black for metalwork with detail such as bolt heads picked out with rust effect weathering dye by modelmates. The 7mm wagon looks the best but with refinement, I am confident that the main batch of 4mm wagons will be equally impressive.

Bachmann wagon with Lifecolor weathered wood

Dapol 7mm wagon weathered by black and decker boy 1

Dapol 7mm wagon weathered by black and decker boy 2

We are working our way through the loco roster adding detail, renumbering for 1970s Ayrshire and weathering. A few pics to give a flavour:


Bachmann type 1, 8073

Bachmann type 1, 8027. Bachmann type 1, 8027.
Type 3, D6859 Bachmann type 3, D6859
8027 and D6859 8027 and D6859
57 57″ Observation Saloon
Weathered 16T mineral wagon Weathered 16T mineral wagon

Weathered 16T mineral wagon (ex MOT type) Weathered 16T mineral wagon (ex MOT type)

I am also weathering wagons for Harkness, Inchyra Mill and P4 Aylesbury (by Risborough & District MRC). Products now being used include Lifecolour acrylic paint, Vallejo and AK Interactive paints and rust effects, washes and powders.

It’s a hard knock life

Perfecting Perfection

Any old Iron

Man and a van (or 12)

3 Responses to “Weathering”

  1. Peter vale-humphreys November 29, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

    Brilliant weathering. I will try the modelmates rust and build up on wagon as you suggest. Great idea and THANKS.

  2. maxstafford60093 June 1, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    Chris. What’s your preferred base colour for NCB wooden bodied wagons? So far I’ve tried Humbrol acrylic BR crimson and Tamiya dull red. The latter seems too brown to my eyes.

    • Black and Decker Boy June 1, 2016 at 9:01 am #

      It’s a long time since I painted them but pretty sure it was Precision Red Oxide enamel (acrylics weren’t on the market back then).

      Hope that helps.

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