Weathering a Steam Locomotive (Dampflok-Alterung)
Steam locomotive modelers can weather their models with this specific set of paints from Vallejo Acrylics. The set contains eight special colors and a matte finish, liquid mask, two paint brushes, a mixing tray and illustrated step-by-step instructions.
Vallejo is a very popular brand of model paint. Vallejo expertise dates back to the mid-1960s, producing paints and inks for the motion picture industry.
Steam Locomotive Weathering
Weathering is one of the first steps in the advance of modeling skill. While many modelers find building to a factory-fresh finish as most satisfying, other modelers consider wear-and-tear as integral to an authentic model as correctly placed parts and accurate markings. Weathering done well can bring a model to life just as a bad weathering job can reduce a model to sub-toy status. Steam locomotives present a variety of weathering options oft overlooked by modelers, yet applicable to models of any metallic vehicle subject: air; land; maritime.
Steam locos wore many liveries. Europe boasted some of these ash and soot snorting beasts sheathed in jackets of chrome yellow, scarlet, apple green, and sky blue, as well as work-a-day black. In the United States many early engines were equally flamboyant. Eventually, economy overtook pride and America's motive power succumbed to the "dark age" of overall black. There were bright spots, such as the Southern's gorgeous "Sylvan Green" and Southern Pacific's "Daylight" livery, but most railroads made do with basic black. Despite this, the jackets were often wiped or polished to a mirror finish and the black lacquer could sport a blue hue reflected from a clear sky.
However, as the saying goes, "You don't want to look closely at the kitchen of your favorite restaurant." Locomotives are still soot exhausting, rusting, oily, greasy, mud and grime splattering machines. The dust, rust and mud depend upon the climate (wet or dry) and environment (desert, verdant; summer, winter). Regardless, steam engines respirate and drool. Water falls upon raw steel and the oxidization commences, often with startling swiftness. The myriad of chemicals in the water ( anti-foaming solutions, acid from the fuel, etc. ) can expedite the process. Whether the liquid creates the rust, or is the carrier of the rust particles, many parts quickly show the effects. The rust can appear as the fresh yellowish color, the more advanced orange hue, or the old, deep brownish oxidation. It is not uncommon to see this riot of rusts all at once on the same part!
Specific examples of steam locomotive weathering can be viewed in the feature Steam Locomotive Weathering
; see it by clicking Click here for additional images for this review
, at the bottom of this review.
Train Color Weathering a Steam Locomotive (Dampflok-Alterung)
Vallejo Acrylics created this set of seven specific colors to weather European steam locos, plus bottles of matt clearcoat and liquid mask.
The set contains nine 17 ml bottles:
73001, Basic Rust
73002, Grease & Oil
73004, Basic Brown
73006, Chalk White
73007, Basic Red
73008, Liquid Mask
73009, Matt Varnish
A high-quality brochure printed in English and Spanish demonstrates which colors to use and where to apply them. A fine tip and a flat tip paintbrush are included, as is a plastic mixing tray/paint bottle holder. The instruction brochure also guides you in their use with suggestions about mixing the colors for varied effects.
Bottle to Boiler
This is my first experience with Vallejo and I am pleased. First, I like the consistency and saturation of the paints. It came out of each bottle in the heavy cream consistency useful for hand brushing while easy to thin for airbrushing. Second, I like the dropper top bottles from Vallejo because I can draw paint without the wastage of using a separate pipette. Third, I like that these are water-based.
I thinned the paint freelance: three drops from the bottle with one drop of water from a Testors pipette. I made sample squares of each color with an Aztec double-action airbrush, spraying with 20 PSI. Then I applied the paints to an HO BR18 steam locomotive. I used both brushes and an airbrush. Both methods of application were successful and satisfying.
Liquid Mask worked well to protect the data stenciling from weathering. The Matt Varnish dries nicely dull. Don’t use it on Grease & Oil because these need to look shiny!
I think Dampflok-Alterung
Train Colors set is a fine selection of excellent paints. The included paintbrushes are impressive and not bargain basement types usually found in paint sets. The paint tray is useful.
What about the paints? I understand why Vallejo paints are popular and gaining market presence; I am impressed with the paint medium. They are easy to squirt out of the bottles although they are thicker than I am used to. Consistency is great for brushing and they are easy to thin for spraying. Coverage and saturation are first rate. These paints also diffuse well when applied to a spot saturated with water.
I think most of the colors included by Vallejo are good choices. Three essential colors are:
1. Chalk White -- a specific color for steam locomotives as it represents scale buildup from water leaks and also pulverized sand overspray coating rear drivers.
2. Grease & Oil -- no self-respecting hogger would crack the throttle without glistening grease and oil coating the valve gear, rods, and other moving parts of the running gear.
3. Basic Red -- primarily used on frames and running gear of European and Chinese iron horses. Except for mixing with other colors, modelers of post-1890s United States locomotives will have little use for Basic Red.
are good for modifying colors and for simulating an engine after heavy road duty.
Contemplating my observations from a life of hanging around trains and construction heavy machinery, I believe that Steel
and perhaps Rust
could be replaced with different colors. Although couplers are almost always rusted, I’ve observed the rust is a dark brown color like Basic Brown. Rust develops where the wheel flange joins the tire surface although it is rubbed away as soon the wheels turn. Except for steam locos in their neglected waning days (or already in the dead line), it is hard to find noticeable rusted areas on maintained steam locomotives; I rarely spot rust even on display engines exposed to weather for years. Period color photographs of steam locos show that when rust was allowed to take hold, the most prevalent rusted areas were the smokebox and firebox, and on the face and sides of the steam chest and cylinder covers. I do not think Steel is useful at all. Although many driver rods were left unpainted, the constant oily film kept them a dull color if not continually polished. Where paint wore away from grabbing and scuffing, grease, oil and dirt inherent to steam locos usually stained the iron dark gray or brown. I think one or both of those colors could be replaced by a weathered black—a very dark gray or brown—to simulate sooty cinders and black faded by the sun. I would even contemplate concocting a translucent blue for the boiler to simulate a clean loco under a bright sky.
Train Colors Weathering a Steam Locomotive (Dampflok-Alterung)
is a fine selection of excellent paints. Specifically I think they offer the model railroader authentic colors to simulate working steamers. This set is a good general weathering set for modelers of most heavy equipment. Included paintbrushes and the mixing tray are nice additions. I recommend this set.
We thank Vallejo for sending this set for review; please tell vendors and retailers that you saw these paints here – on Railroad Modeling