This story will probably be a familiar one if you've gone anywhere near my website, or were a subscriber to the G-Scale Society back in the day. Still, for the benefit of any interested parties, I reproduce it here.
So for a bit of background, I started my journey into the world of garden railways began in about 2003. After the initial few months of enjoying a 'shake the box' approach to modelling rolling stock (that is, ready to run, just dump it on the track and run it
) it started to dawn on me that a certain enjoyment might be derived from making what was essentially a toy look a little less so.
The main barrier to this was my non-existent prior experience in doing such a thing. That, coupled with the cost of the rolling stock. However, the cost issue - and therefore the principal risk) was removed when I managed to obtain a second-hand loco (a ToyTrain 'Otto'), for what is now an indecently reasonable sum of £20.
Not a bad little loco, a reasonably good runner, but plainly a little toy-like. At that price, it was too good an opportunity to miss! If I messed up, then I will not have lost a massive amount. In any event I would have gained something more valuable: experience.
I figured that in order to weather it, I would first have to give it a decent surface to work on. As it stood, the shiny plastic was likely to resist any attempt to apply acrylic paint to it. In order to do that, it followed that I should first dismantle the loco into as many parts as practical, bearing in mind the need to ensure that it stood a reasonable chance of still running once re-assembled. Loosening a mere 6 screws was enough to yield this level of dismemberment:
I decided to keep things simple by just giving the loco an all-over black look, courtesy of a 'satin black' car-body spray primer. Before doing so, however, I trimmed off the rather oversize drip rails from the cab roof:
Once the paint had dried and the loco reassembled, it was already starting to look an improvement even in an 'ex works' state:
I also took the opportunity to relocate the steps to directly below the cab access. It just seemed more sensible to have them there, really! So it was, at this point, I was ready to embark on the weathering road.
From looking at a couple of reference books I found a couple of photos of old locos around the time of the abolition of steam in the late 1960s. I decided to try and emulate that dilapidated look: A gradual gathering of whitish-grey grime, interspersed with rust-spots at vulnerable places like bolts/rivets, and the odd leak of something from a pipe, or a cylinder, and another layer of grime on top of that. So to start with, numerous layers of thin grey acrylic:
After a period of being allowed to dry overnight, it was time to have a go with some 'rust' colour, on various points:
The cab had a fair amount of detail to it, so I took the opportunity to make this more visible:
Finally, the smoke-box door was given a coat of stippled white acrylic, to show heat damage and ash:
Back where it started, and looking certainly less of a toy than before:
Finally, out on goods duty with real coal in the bunker and some smoke oil in the chimney: