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Discussion Starter #1
I have a new Bachmann "Annie" with the BBT drive, and Walschearts valve gear. I'd like to weather the loco, and especially want to get rid of the shiny chrome look of the valve gear. How have others done this? I have my own ideas but I'd like to avoid making a mistake on such an fine and expensive loco. 

I recall reading something about a product that goes on as a liquid, then dries, leaving a graphite coating that gives a nice finish while also acting as somewhat of a lubricant. Anyone know what that is, or had any experience with it? I don't remember where I first read about it.
 

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RE: How to weather valve gear & rods?

Just leave it alone....

Natural oxidation of the chrome work plus normal oiling will produce a perfectly natural patina. The valve gear of a steam locomotive was one of the most highly polished and oiled parts of it.

My own personal viewpoint on "weathering" is that it is a fashion rather than a reality. After having spent several hundred miles crossing the African Veldt each locomotive was washed, cleaned and oiled at the end of the day. At the end of each week the crew with the best cleaned and oiled engine received a cash prize award. This is because a clean and well oiled locomotive requires less expensive maintenance than one covered in grime...

In your own words; "I'd like to avoid making a mistake on such an fine and expensive loco." So I ask you why do you want to take the chance of ruining all of Barry's lovely work -when simply maintaining the works will give you everything that you need?

regards

ralph
 

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RE: How to weather valve gear & rods?

Neolube, a suspension of graphite in alcohol is excellent and is available from Micro-Mark.

Larry
 

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RE: How to weather valve gear & rods?

Ray,

I concur with Ralph. Except perhaps for a stored out of service lokey pulled off the dead line for an emergency you'll seldom ever find a steam locomotive with heavily weathered rods or valve gear. These parts were critical for the locomotive's operation and even when the rest of the engine might be dirty were cleaned off and lubed frequently. This was essential to check for cracks and fatigue in the metal. Of course everything could get quite dirty temporarily during an individual run when hauling coal or switching a quarry, etc. Another exception might be with a small logging operation where an engine was purchased second hand, hauled to a remote location and just run until it fell apart. Maintenance would be minimal and the engine often just abandoned when cutting stopped, the engine not being worth the expense of hauling it out and repairing it.

Many younger fans got used to seeing steamers at the very end being rusty and dirty all over because while they were still on the roster officially virtually all the work was being done already by diesels while the steam engines spent most of their time in reserve on a storage line. Many of these engines never saw service at all before being hauled off to the scrap yard and those that did might only get to run one or two times in an entire month. Maintenance in this case was absolutely minimal except on a handful of RR's that had great pride in their operations.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
RE: How to weather valve gear & rods?

I'm not planning to heavily weather the gear, I just want to tone down the shine and make it look more like well-used, oiled steel.

Even in the photos I've seen of locos restored to mint condition, the running gear doesn't look like chrome, it looks like various types of steel -- i.e., some components are lighter colored, some are darker. In places where it gets oiled a lot, there's a yellowish or brownish hue. And some parts are painted to match the rest of the loco.

That Neolube stuff looks like just what I need.
 

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RE: How to weather valve gear & rods?

Be careful with Neolube (or any graphite lubricant... whether intended to lubricate or just 'weathering'). Graphite is a conductor and if you get it across an insulator you will get electrical current across the insulator too. The graphite coating is not zero resistance, so it will heat up with current flow through it and can burn or melt plastic (as well as maybe draw too much current from the supply) or it could put voltage and current in places that should not have that much voltage and/or current (like semiconductors... transistors, logic chips, etc. in sound cards, decoders, controllers, etc.)
 

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RE: How to weather valve gear & rods?

flat (NOT gloss) aluminum with just a few drops of grimy black or SC black (both are more grey than black) will give you more of a polished steel look.
 

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RE: How to weather valve gear & rods?

Micro-Mark includes mention of possible conductivity across insulation, but I have been using Neolube from my Mantua HO days in the 60's and do not recall ever having a problem. I also use it on live steam smokeboxes and stacks, as well as running gear.
Bottom line: if you don't like it, or a problem arises, wipe it off with alcohol.

Larry
 

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RE: How to weather valve gear & rods?

The big trick with any weathering application is to be observant. Parts of this type were heavily greased so you will see kind of a yellowish brown translucent smear. That grease will pick up dirt blowing up from the ground so a little roof brown along the bottom. Now smoke and ash will settle from the top so very light grimy black will appear on the top. Lastly, in certain areas, the steam will leave some alkaline stains so some reefer white very lightly airbrushed will show that.

John
 

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RE: How to weather valve gear & rods?

If you are using it on the connecting rods, they are already insulated from the chassis in some way. I would not worry too much about making extra electrical paths. You can pretty much figure it out by looking, if the rods go into plastic wheels, then don't paint conductive stuff over the wheel faces. Since the connecting rods are metal already, adding graphite will not change anything.

Regards, Greg
 
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