With a little work, even an inexpensive kit can become something unique and special. Some projects follow specific prototypes, others are freelanced. Even a freelanced car can be a realistic model by following prototypical paint and weathering practices.
EMAX 92206 is one such model. Starting with an old kit and lacking any photos of a similar prototype, this model has freelanced reporting marks but has been weathered to reflect a car of its relative age and condition. Using the techniques shown here, you can recreate this car, or a similar one of your own.
1. Getting Started
The starting point for this project was an old Athearn kit for a CB&Q Pullman Standard covered hopper. Although the kit no longer fit my operating plans, it was just too nice to lose. This car was purchased many years ago, but similar models are still produced in ready-to-run versions.Tangent Scale Models also produces CB&Q covered hoppers of this prototype in HO with a much higher level of detail for those who desire it.
If you are starting with a kit, begin by assembling it per the instructions.
The only mechanical improvements made to this model were replacement couplers and metal wheelsets from those supplied in the original kit.
The first step is to fade the existing lettering on the model. Removing a portio of the letering helps suggest age and wear. You can remove a lot or a little. The lettering on this old model came off easily. Leave enough old lettering that the heritage can stll be seen.
The printed logo panel could not be faded with this technique. It could be removed entirely, but this left two large mounting holes in the body that would need filled. Not wanting to go that route, they will be treated in a later step.
Next a light wash of black water colors is applied to the entire car. The thin wash highlights the details, espescially on the roof. This is a very simple technique that anybody can do.
4. Roof Details
The roof of a model is often more noticed than on a prototype. To help imply age and repair, the loading hatches on this model were modified to represent replacements. One was simply painted a dark green (likely applied when the car was owned by CB&Q successor Burlington Northern.)
The second hatch represents a later replacement. In addition to repainting (white), several of the reinforcing ribs were shaved off with a chisel blade. This provides a little more detail and further implies a newer hatch.
Repairs like this are more common than you might think. New roof hatches on covered hoppers, or doors on boxcars, are an easy detail to model. You can modify the parts of a kit as done here, or swap parts from other models.
Modeling the paint-outs suggests the car has changed hands.
This car features two paint-outs. The first, gray patch was applied with gray primer paint and includes the road number, weight data and consolidated lube plate. These came from Microscale decal sheets.
The second, small tan patch was applied over the first using the same technique and Polly-S aged concrete paint. The reporting marks, in a different font, came from another Microscale lettering set.
A note about the reporting marks: with no specific prototype to follow, the easiest thing to do was freelance the reporting marks and roadnumber. Since the model was one of the first I assembled as a child, I based these off of one of my daughter's initials and birthday.
By far the most distinctive weathing pattern on this car are the large patches of rust. These were easy to create using oil paints and a makeup sponge.
If you've never tried a technique like this before, there is no better opportunity than an old inexpensive kit like this!
In addition to patches on the sides, ends and roof, the oil paints were used to rust over the logo panels as well. Small portions of the original "paint" were left to help show heritage.
The black underframe, trucks, hoppers and ends were dulled with grimy black paint. The couplers were given a touch of rust paint.
Finish the rusting with some light patches and streaks with chalks. Particular attention was paid to the trucks, where a little chalk helps bring out all the detail.
After any final touches with chalks and paint, your model is ready to go back to the rails. Weathering an old inexpensive kit like this is not only an affordable way to learn some new techniques, it can also be a very rewarding experience.