Creating a realistic effect to represent old, unpainted wood has been something I have struggled with throughout my modelling life. The majority of wagons I’ve built with exposed wooden areas, particularly bolsters, plates and the like, have always grated on me with wood finished in a colour which has felt to warm or carried far to much colour in comparison to what I feel the prototype should be.
Now I have been aware of the ‘Weathered Wood’ packs of acrylic paints available from AK Interactive for some time, but not being a massive fan of pre made packs, have shied away. However, I recently decided to take the plunge and invested in a set, feeling it worth a go – the cold coloured set looked ideal for the effects I wanted to create and it was priced reasonably…
Wood is, I think, almost unique in terms of the materials we deal with in railway modelling. Untreated wood can vary massively in colour, and as it deteriorates, can take on many unusual shades you wouldn’t immediately associate with wood. It’s also seasonal, an unpainted plank in summer tending to take on a range of yellow/brown hues and looking totally different to how it does in winter, when those shades are definitely more in the grey spectrum. AK have covered this with their two weathered wood packs, covering warm and cold colours…
Now, as my layout, when I eventually build it, will firmly sit within a winter setting, the finish I have gone for on my trial wagon (a Hornby bogie bolster A taken straight out the box) features a range of grey shades. Using a mix of washes and dry brushing, I built up the colour until I reached what felt like a reasonable shade, picking a couple of planks out in a darker shade to represent replacement timbers. Once this had dried a quick wash of dark grey paint picked out the detail and bought the whole thing together.
Overall, I’m really happy with how the wagon has turned out…. The effects created have been far better than anything I have achieved before (I’ll be revisiting earlier attempts to improve!) and I feel it looks just about right for an old wagon in its last days of service. Rusting on the outer body panels is my usual mix of acrylics applied as per the last post on mineral wagons, and has again given results I am happy with. The reality is this should really be in internal user service by the early 70’s but I will likely keep it in traffic with BR as I’ve grown to like it
Now, to the reasoning behind this posts title: doing this wagon and pushing it through to completion reasonably quickly has been a great project and inspired me to do more. My plans for a layout have always been for something reasonably large, and I’ve been dropping in and out of a huge number of wagon projects over the years to fulfill the layouts needs. However, this wagon has made me start thinking something smaller, still featuring heavy industry may be the answer and more achievable for now. This is an idea no doubt fuelled by looking at far too many photos of Hywel Thomas’ outstanding Morfa Bank Sidings (featured on Kier Hardy’s excellent EM Gauge 70’s website) so watch this space – I’m making no promises at the moment but you never know!