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Ropley - Weather me clean.






Hi again all.


In the previous blog entry WillJ commented on the weathering carried out to a couple of the engines used on Ropley during RMweb Live.


Weathering is a subject I have been pondering for sometime, since it is a totally different proposition when modelling a preserved railway to any other era. As can be seen from the top image, steam locos on heritage railways tend to be kept in top link condition, with polished boiler cladding & shiny brasswork. This goes almost totally against every known modelling convention where the subject of weathering is concerned, and if not approached carefully could totally ruin the overall look and feel of the layout.


So, where to start! Something I noticed fairly early on when visiting the MHR was the matt appearance of the smokebox in relation to the highly polished boiler cladding. To replicate this I masked off most of the loco, using Humbrol Maskol for difficult areas, and sprayed the smokebox with Tamyia Matt varnish. The same was done for the underframe on the tender. Once dry, the boiler cladding and tender body were given a coat of Kleer to up the gloss levels. A few select items of pipework were also picked out in brass, although I have a few more to do on the Black 5 seen below.




The difference from the all-over satin finish of the standard Farish paintwork really makes a difference I feel, and a dusting of black weathering powder along the top of the boiler & running boards to represent ash/dust deposits helps further. The drivers and motion need attention also, and I'm leaning towards matting down the wheels, and painting the motion in a more accurate steel colour, if one can be found.






The Black 5 proved a useful test subject, as I need to find the different style of body to better represent 45379. Hopefully the photos show the effect off sufficiently, although I should really have taken a photo before the changes were made. The model could have probably used a second coat of Kleer, particularly the tender, and I may try gloss varnish as a comparison on a different engine.


Cheers all,



Ropley is a N Gauge Model using 2mm Finescale Easitrac modelled after the real location on the Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line.

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Although not a preserved loco in the same sense of yours, I have a Tornado that I plan to do something similar too, thanks for the inspiration!



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  • RMweb Gold

Ah, yes indeed Andy! The latest GF models have improved in that respect, many having a representation of the full coal space now the motor is located where it should be, but the Black 5 & Std4 will always look like they are fully loaded as a result of the tender drive. 



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Interesting stuff Tom, thanks for replying to my pondering......


Weathering on models of preserved stock is an interesting subject. While the frequency of cleaning (especially for the more common 1948-68 'look') is higher, the odd converse effect is that a locomotive might actually spend longer carrying a livery  than it did when in 'front line' service. Due to this, the effects of sun bleaching, and presumably plenty of polishing, add up!


A favorite of mine, was the SVR's Bradley Manor, which I recall appearing as a gleaming freshly restored example in 1993 ish, then building up a distinct patina of not dirtyness, but well loved fadedness, over the next two decades. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bradley_Manor_7802_5.jpg


Bradley Manor presumably carried elements of this paintwork for far longer than any 50's / 60's decoration. 7802 has now faded from the limelight to be made all rather spick and span and new again, hopefully my patronage of the owning group's shop at Bewdley will help a little!

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In the case of the Black 5 Farish went beyond plastic coal, giving us a hefty slice of metal coal to aid adhesion on the tender drive. I tried putting some glue on the metal coal and giving it a light dusting of 'yer actual' coal dust, however I overdid it and the tender appeared to be wearing an elaborate coal 'hat'.....    still working on a plan B.

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  • RMweb Gold

Yes, that is a problem with the black 5. Removing the metal "coal" does make it even lighter on its feet, and it's not exactly heavy to begin with!


My current line of thinking is a thin sheet of lead for weight cut to the size of the opening, with some coal superglued to the top, however I haven't tried this approach yet.


I would be interested in peoples recommendations for N Gauge coal though, particularly something to match the more rounded lumps you tend to find these days. A lot of the stuff marketed as coal is more like small splinters of the stuff rather than lumps.



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Looking good Tom. I think that getting the right degree of shinyness in 2mm scale is a very tricky subject but your Black 5 certainly looks the part.


I'd suggest that a close inspection of the buffer beam on the real thing reveals a bit of muck in hard to reach places and a personal favourite of mine - the buffer heads have a brownish tint but with a big black splodge of grease in the middle - all very restrained but these little things all add up.


Regards, Andy

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The other thing which you may or may not have spotted already is that often the top of the boiler isn't actually polished because the cleaners can't reach without a little more effort. The effect shows quite clearly in your photograph of the prototype.




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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks Alex.


I have dusted the top of the boiler with black weathering powder, although that was more to represent ash/soot deposited over time. It's not immediately obvious in the photos as its quite a subtle effect, maybe too subtle!!


Its a little more obvious in this photo hopefully:





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That '5' looks great Tom, I think you've got this about right IMHO.


Re. the coal load. You could cut a piece of lead sheet to size mount it in the tender and pile real coal on top of it - you might actually increase the traction weight this way!


Keep up the outstanding work!

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