That Italian Tractor and the Chinese Airbrush

That class 37 has been sapping away modelling mojo like a mojo sucking monster hoover.

It has sat there looking at me, goading me, with it’s half baked detailing job every day for a couple of months now.

There is plenty of reasons why a model can throw you all off kilter, work, personal stuff or just an OD on the hobby. That class 37 was probably sidelined for a bit of all three. It stopped me from starting anything else, as anything else reminded me it was not finished. What was wrong with it you say? Well everything, not the model, it was just one of those things where the scalpel cuts you, the glazing snaps, the pipe disappears in the carpet. All those annoyances just seemed to occur every time I picked it up. And then the Laserglaze didn’t fit. That was the final straw. It sat there missing four windows that simply would not fit.

Today during our irregular modelling sessions I finally got it over the line, its still not finished (!) but it just needs headcodes and some wipers. Please god let that not be a nightmare. But it is finished enough to share and exercise the demon.

But I do like the Vitrains 37 – its cheap and its got the shape right.

Word of warning – the replacements ends from Shawplan for the Lima model are not a direct fit (posts elsewhere say otherwise). They took some fettling to even get them to fit as badly as they do in the photos.

In conclusion, I do sort of like it now, but I would not rush to do another. But now she is done it is nice to add some more EE power to the roster. It was never meant to be the perfect 37 by any stretch of the imagination, just a little tinker and something backdated. I know there is a lot wrong with it in reality. And if you tell me it may send me over the edge with it.

Enjoyment level 1/10 Model 4/10 Keeping it? Still undecided

PS My wife wanted me to mention that everyone should notice she dusts the top of the extractor fan. Extractor/tractor. Great.

Now down to weathering – do I own a swanky Iwata super Neo flash your knickers Badger turbo fire air brush that cost me £677 in last January sales? Nope. Do I have an airbrush that cost me £4.99 delivered from Hong Kong that applies paint like a hand grenade? You bet I do. Why? As really I cannot afford anything decent, like £45 is too expensive. And if I buy that airbrush then that’s my baby train budget blown and I would rather get something tangible for the layout – it is that sort of short term economics that stops me being responsible for the household bills.

But it turns out there is a limit (here at OTCM we experiment so you don’t have too) and like a £3 bottle of red £4.99 airbrushes are not good. At all. £10 is more your limit and me and Chris have been passing off weathering with £10 airbrushes longer than I can remember.

Would you tell a £15 bottle of red from a £6 one or even a £150 one? I am not sure I could.

I am no fan of applied dirt, now I know all three of you are thinking ‘surely that is EXACTLY what airbrushing is?’ what I mean is using an airbrush to apply dirt that in reality has been moved and shaped by various processes during the life cycle of the muck. Every second in the life of that train muck upon it is subjected to weather, to gravity and to all manner of contact with all kinds of third parties.

In model form, I would never airbrush for instance a stain down the side of the train, why? As it looks like you have airbrushed a stain down the side of the train. In reality that stain has been formed, it has been moved, and it has been eroded.

So below are the (if you do not want to spend a lot of money and weather stuff that looks good from 10 foot away ) OTCM top tips for weathering,

  • Remove the glazing – trains very rarely have filthy glazing. This is my favourite tip.
  • Use Acrylics – spend your money here
  • Apply Liberally – I usually go to the point where I think ‘OMG ITS RUINED’
  • Work it back with thinners – cosmetic cotton buds are great, flat end and pointy end
  • Dry Brush – look at bogies, the depth of colour. One coat filth is not the real deal.
  • Powders – not a lot – just add depth, use two, three at a push.
  • Don’t buy from TMC if you like your money and appreciate prototypical weathering.

If you are modelling a modern railhead treatment train go to step 3 and forget the rest!

And thanks to all of you for your continued support/guidance/and mischief.





5 thoughts on “That Italian Tractor and the Chinese Airbrush

  1. Well, Oly; I think she’s a keeper. The journey you’ve had with this baby has parallels with that I had with my infamous Jumbo, way back when. Take a step back and then view her with fresh eyes; that loco looks just the part in my opinion and the fact she’s got her pre-TOPS monicker adds to the attraction.
    Be proud of this one mate – you’ve put heart and soul into it and it shows in the best way possible.
    It’s clear from your comments that you’ve grasped the fine art of ‘weathered’ finishes too. Doesn’t matter how much you spend on the kit; that airbrush is just one aspect of the process and a £ 1500 Gucci airbrush will be wasted if all you do with it is take your model down the ‘bog snorkelling’ route!
    I agree with your views on ‘that’ supplier; why waste precious money on that type of finish when lower priced, higher quality options are available? 😉 Here endeth the blatant self promotion.
    And congratulations to Mrs T on her fastidiousness too! 😀

  2. The last bullet point for weathering made me laugh!

    The 37 looks good, I’ve never been sure about the Vi Trains model, but yours would make me consider it. I wonder if adding new windscreens and surrounds from Shawplan might make a difference too? The cost factor is a big thing I think – not so long ago a new Bachmann model was £80 but now most places seem to want upwards of £120, so despite the extra work, a Vi model may be justified on this basis alone.

  3. I like your thinking on weathering. I do own an airbrush but purely for painting engines/wagons, I have never used one for weathering.
    I am a fan of “Citadel” paints available from The Games workshop outlets. They do lots of washes that are great for weathering. added with two, yes two weathering powders you can get brilliant results.
    Thought you might like to see my Class 37

    1. Hey Colin, I always like seeing a nicely weathered class 37, yours is very smart. I think Citadel products are overlooked by railway modellers. They also do some great ‘How To’ videos on YouTube using their products. Do you have anymore photos of your layout to share?

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