Weathering With Oils

Posted on January 7th, 2017, by Michael Rountree

I was encouraged by an online friend to give a new weathering method a try, and this is the result.

My ordinary technique is a chalk-wash, wherein I use pastel chalks that I “seal” by flooding over them with a black acrylic wash. This wash sets the chalks in place, and causes them to move and collect in crevices and against rivets. However, one thing it lacks is any ability to pre-fade the paint and lettering on the car, which is something I’ve seen done to great effect on a lot of other cars.

Oil paints can be applied as a “fade coat” that covers everything, and is then removed almost entirely by using Q-Tips (a lot of them). Similar methods can then be used with browns to create rust effects. For a great tutorial, check out the videos produced by my friend, in this thread.

I chose to use a brown car with WP&P decals as my first ever attempt, which presents a challenge since the oils are a very similar color. But the thin film of color will have the effect of fading the lettering, even if it doesn’t show up so well as rust patches against the similar body color.

Boxcar to be weathered

The fresh car is sans-roofwalks; the similar car beyond with roofwalks is one done with chalk wash only. As you’ll see I ended up using a chalk wash as the final step on this new car. These cars started as pre-decorated brown cars lettered for some other roadname; I removed the main logo and reporting marks, painted over the sides everywhere except the reporting marks that I wanted to keep, and then added my own custom decals.

boxcar with oils - side B

Here is the car after doing all three passes of oil paints – white followed by the two browns. As you can see, it didn’t seem to be all that heavily weathered, which is why I decided to add a chalk wash over this. I also worked on a second car, TSNT 1991, that turned out a bit better:

TSNT boxcar with oils

You can see the Q-Tip streaks a bit better, and I got a bit more fading of the lettering. Nonetheless, I subjected it to a chalk wash as well.

boxcar with chalk wash

Following the chalk wash, this is what the car looked like. I did my trick of lightly tapping on a brush loaded with rust-colored chalk, while the car side was still damp from the wash. Timing is key; the wash needs to be almost dry, but still damp enough to have a shiny reflection to it. Dip the brush into your chalk, hold it over the target spot (like on the doors), and give it a tiny tap; you don’t need much. Let this dry, and then after it’s all good and dry, you can rub or smear off any excess chalk that didn’t stick.

TSNT boxcar with chalk wash

TSNT 1991 after the chalk wash looks even better, and you can see the flicked rust trick a bit more clearly.

Finally, here is a side-by-side comparison of the two WP&P boxcars, the one on the right having been done with a chalk wash only, while on the left is the oil faded car with a chalk wash finish.

Oils plus chalk wash on left

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