Unrealistic and Over Weathered Freight Cars

Yeah, right, as if any freight car would have algae stains and streaks… And what’s with that peachy-looking stuff? Obviously an amateur modeler.

Seriously, I love finding subjects like this. Unusual/uncommon/unique colors and patterns. I looked at those two covered hoppers and pondered if the results could be be achieved with streaking pigments or washes. Both, I believe. I suppose the green organic matter is from parking LO ( AAR Class: LO = covered hopper) TILX 650687 in a shady wet area for a while. Or maybe the load of baby pea puree overfilled? TILX 648238 looks to be simply grimy, with rust starting where too-thin paint is wearing away.

The other thing that struck me is the sheet metal damage to 650687. These cars usually carry powders or pellets, but this looks like steel beams were dumped inside.

This coil car I photographed to show that it is okay to put a weathered container/car next to a …gently used?..car.

CABX 570828, the blue car to its right, is a bonus as it shows weathering that, I think, could be achieved with the hairspray method, or a sponge.

If you have a photo of a prototype railcar that looks like a bad paint/weathering job, please consider posting it.


Interesting photos, thanks! Sometimes you can find examples of vehicles with an unbelievable level of wear -I am more into armour, but it happens the same.
The problem, for me, is when some (many) modellers take this as a rule instead of an exception…


Concur. I tend to enjoy heavy weathering but only in context of what subject I am trying to recreate, based on theater of operations, season, and operating tempo. Some of my armor models are dirtier than this Lee and Shermans…

Others are “parade ground” clean except for some scuffs and dust, and fuel stains, of course.


It’s a case where the “oil dot” method would actually make sense.

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You top photo (M3 Lee) reminded me I was in Israel in '77. I saw a squad of IDF come back from the desert near Jerusalem (I assume because that’s where I was). Their olive uniforms were covered with yellow dust. Just like in your photo.

Back in the late '90s or maybe very early 2000s, I paid it up a Sherman and weathered it like the one in the photo. Completely covered with dust. The judges at the show I put it in dismissed the weathering as unrealistic. The next show I went to, I took along the book with the color photo I used as source material. Again, judges dismissed it as like some childlike flight of fancy. I challenged them and showed them the photograph. They actually told me something along the lines of ’ but it doesn’t look realistic so nobody believes it it would be and we must judge things based on the perception. ’

That, and an IPMS show in Roanoke, Virginia in the mid to late 90s, killed any interest I have in entering models in shows.


I have heard a similar retort from several of my wives and girl friends plus my daughter.

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