2017-09.3: Minimalist weathering

18 Sep 2017

Average: 4.1 (13 votes)
46:19 - Sept 2017 Act III - Minimalist Weathering (2017)

Not every weathered freight car needs to be a “rust bucket”.  Model Railroad Hobbyist editor Joe Fugate drops by the studio to demonstrate simple techniques for “minimalist" weathering of rolling stock.

For more on minimalist weathering, check out Joe’s article in the September 2017 issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist.

Act IV:  Railway Life documentary (part 1) ...

Go to Act IV


Warflight's picture

Dirty on the outside, clean on the inside.

Years ago, I was hauling gravel, and I noticed that our yard had a few older "bottom dumps" that were a bit rusty on the outside, but looked brand new on the inside. I asked one of the mechanics about it, and he said "sandblasting".

"Sandblasting?" I asked...

"Yeah", he said, "Look at what you haul! You haul gravel and sand all day! It aint no coal truck... that sand and gravel is keeping that inside clean, like sand blasting! You're loadinng and dumping that trailer three to five tiomes a day!"

It seemed the more use those things got with sand and gravel, the dirtier the outside, but the cleaner, and shinier the inside.

I couldn't imagine that railroad hoppers wouldn't be the same. Throw a bit of a silver wash inside the hoppers to stain the paint a little, make sure the lines are in a downard direction... clean it out again with a wet q-tip, and you should be good to go. The sand and gravel has exposed a bit of the silver metal, but for the most part, is keeping it sandblasted clean!

Hello Joe,

After viewing this very interesting video, I went out to purchase a bottle of Armor All Auto Glass Cleaner.

I went to Walmart (auto dept), they never heard of the product, I also went to Canadian Tire (3 different stores) they don't carry that item.

Can you suggest a replacement product that contains  "propylene glycol"  for thinning acrylic paint.

I live near Montreal, Qc.

Thank you


Hi Serge,

The MRH website has a good discussion on modifications to Joe Fugates acrylic thinners, washes and cleaners.  Look for http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/30967.  "For Joe and all, a twist on HP acrylic solvents."  I got my propylene glycol on eBay along with the butyl cellosolve.

I live in South Burlington, VT.


Audio issues with this video

TMTV Station Agent's picture

Please post a description of the issue, and the running time where it occurs.

Thank you Nick, It's much appreciated.

While watching this, I got the sense that I was seeing an acrylic version of Mike Confalone’s weathering series, something Joe referenced later in the video. Mikes videos were influential in that his approach using oils and turpentine dramatically reduced the surface tension effect that is so noticeable with water-based washes. I’ll have to give the propylene glycol thinner a try to see if It works for me in offsetting that effect. 

Thanks for the demonstration!