There's a great deal of chatter on Facebook model railroad groups around painting and weathering models, and this is a natural next step after either buying a new, ready to roll model, scratch-building or kit-bashing a model or two.  It seems, however, that finding the right paint, the right colour-match or even consistency from batch to batch of any given manufacturer's product is often an issue.

There are a number of methods, tricks, tools and accessories, and other factors involved in getting a good result when applying the finishing touches on your models.   Just as "beauty is only skin deep", one might also say that a paint job is based on the "eye of the beholder".  In other words, what looks good to your eye, might look a shade or two off to the eye of another.  If that's the case, it's always best to hold back on any critical comment you might feel driven to share..., at least until you're asked, more than once, to tell the artist what you really think of his or her work.  Just sayin', here.

While paint manufacturers will each likely proclaim that their colours are the most realistic, the most prototypical and the easiest to apply, the final word on those matters will lie with you, the artist.  Remember...., it's your model.  Besides, you can spend a lot of time and effort getting all of your ducks to line up when painting a model.  You've researched all of the paint manufacturers, talked to all of your fellow modellers about paint and the one brand that is the most popular among the experts; and you've made your decision.

Next, you go through every step in the complex and time consuming process of dismantling, washing, rinsing, drying and painting you model.  It looks great, right?  It's just what you hoped for.  Now, you want it to look like the models that your friends have running on their layouts, or showing off in their display cabinets.  You now have to weather that wee beauty.

Once again you get into research mode and fire up your computer or start pulling books from your bookshelf.  Gotta find that one photograph that was taken of the engine, caboose or whatever that you've just painted.  There it is!   It sure doesn't look like the one that's sitting on the desk in front of you.  Well, you want it weathered, so here we go.

You're now going to spend several hours, spread over perhaps a long weekend, or a long month and you're going to make your prized paint job nearly unrecognizable.

You wanted 'realism', didn't you?   Now you have it.  Big job, well done.  Congratulations.

At this point, let's go back to the early paragraphs of this post in which I talk about researching the right paint, the right colour and the right friends.  There was no mention in the first couple of paragraphs about making a mess of your paint job and being proud of it, was there?   There were mostly references to the perfect colour to match the prototype (when it was new).

Once the weathering is completed we come to the happy realization that it's not just OK to have a model who's paint job looks a little beat up...., it's preferred.  The best part, the finishing touch came with the weathering, the intentionally applied dents and scratches, the graffiti (ugh), the rust and the nearly  unreadable numbers and road name.

Yep, it looks like it's been working hard and hasn't been cleaned or painted in a long time, but it's now ready for the high iron.

We're suppliers of Badger airbrushes, accessories, modelflex paint, Thayer-Chandler compressors and more.   Have a look at the "Garage Sale" page at Badger's home page for airbrushes and more at very attractive prices.

Badger Airbrush

Rapido Trains Paint

TruColor Paint Products

It's not difficult to get started.  Once you've decided on an airbrush and a source for compressed air, established a well-ventilated area to set up in, ordered some paint and a few other necessaries, you're ready to go.  Any Assuming you're not yet an accomplished user of airbrushes, I'd recommend an easy first time experience.  You may already have a few inexpensive kits, or an old 'Blue Box' model that you just haven't been able to bring yourself to get rid of.  If it's already painted, you will have to strip the original paint from the shell, and other parts that have been painted, like truck side frames.  99% rubbing alcohol will do the job.  Wash it with dish soap and warm water, then rinse it thoroughly.  Allow it to dry and you've now got your canvass awaiting paint.

When you order your airbrush, compressor, paint and accessories, don't forget to order Black Cat decals from Caboose Coffee Hobbies.

Good luck!