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Weathering a Live Steam Engine

8218 Views 24 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  F7
So here I have my nice new Accucraft Mogul that has its perfect Museum Quality Finish and although it looks nice on a shelf, it looks pretty out of place running on the track. I would like to do some weathering like I have seen done by Jack Thompson (aka Big65Dude)my only fear is that with the high heat of the engine, any paint may just flake off. Now before you post any responses, please note that my resources are very limited as I have a very demanding household (a wife and 4 kids) so if your idea would envolve spending lots of money on fancy equipment then the process most likely wont work for me. I apologize if this question has already been asked, but I have searched the forums and archive and havent seen anything about the particular weathering techniques for live steam engines. Thanks in advance for your help. You guys always have great ideas! :D

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Speaking as a professional model builder, there is no substitute for a skilled weathering job to give the correct scale look. Sure our steamers produce their own grime but our engines are still scale models and the only way to give the impression of the full size locomotive is by applying weathering artificially. That said, I have weathered at least five live steam locomotives. I use primarily Floquil paints. I have no explanation for why the other guys paints changed color. I have never experienced that effect with Floquil. I have always found them to be the highest quality, most stable, and lowest sheen scale paints around. In my experience the Floquil paints can withstand all the punishment that live steamers can put out, including high temps.

Here is my Mich Cal 2-banger Shay sporting a weathering job that was about four years old at the time the picture was taken:

Just make sure to clean your engine within an inch of it's life before painting. No grease or oil can be on any surface you are painting. Your prep time should far exceed your time spent painting. If possible a light scuff to the surface with a fine grit scotch brite pad is a good idea-- I think someone else suggested that too.

Good luck.
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Garrett, you are correct-- and I think that it is easy to over weather something. There are many times when I have to tell myself to "step away from the airbrush". I also have a rule; there is no amount of work that I can invest in a project that will make my use it, if it looks like crap. In other words, I don't care how much time I have invested in a paint job, if it looks bad I always repaint it. FYI, for me, the extreme weathered look is appropriate because I am modeling a logging company in the mid-late 50's, right at the twilight of steam. I use many of the photos of West Side lumber as reference because West Side was in operation until 1959. There are actually many color photographs of West Side equipment in operation in the late 50's.

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