Monday, November 12, 2018

Open Loads (Part 3) - Deck Weathering

One thing that I would like to touch on about open loads is the treatment of the wooden decks of flatcars.  These wooden decks were exposed to the elements for years while enduring rough treatment of D-nails regularly being driven into them, and then pulled out again during the unloading process.  Various tracked loads which could self-load and unload also tended to tear up the deck while maneuvering.

NP 62109's deck with cracked, split and torn up board ends.  This is a wooden deck.

A few years ago I started on three NP flat cars.  Two were kitbashed from Tichy 40ft USRA cars, with the goal being to make two of the 52ft NP 60250-60499 cars built in 1936.  The third car is a repainted ex-CNW P2K/Walthers 53ft flat car, 300 of these cars built during WWII.

I'll be talking about how these cars have been rebuilt in a later post.  This post will focus on some deck weathering, both painted without ripping up the deck, and also these physically weathered and painted decks.

Previous Projects

Let's look briefly at some of the previous deck weathering examples I've done over the last 15-20 years.  One thing I don't like to do is exactly copy the weathering techniques onto multiple cars that will be seen side-by-side, unless they're all roughly the same era, and assigned to the same loading, which would result in more similar weathering.

SP 140195

SP 140195, an old Athearn 40ft flatcar with wood strip deck.

The first heavy deck weathering I did was on a couple of old Athearn flats many years ago, when I applied an individual wood strip deck to it, and broke out several of the boards.

PRR 925534

Next I followed with an F&C PRR F22 'Gun Flat' which I again removed a couple of boards from.  Those models will be best saved for another time.
PRR F22 'Gun Flat' by F&C (Resin)

I've done some deck weathering with paints.  Among these are several Espee Models' F-70-6/7/10 decks and some decks on kitbashed flatcars I've done over the last 10 or so years.

SP 49592

SP 49592 is an SP F-50-14 kitbashed from a couple of Tichy 40ft USRA flats.  This deck weathering is about 18 years old.

For several years I was weathering with Floquil paints and achieving various levels of weathered decks with it.  Around 2002 I moved away from Floquil and started using more acrylics to do my weathering.  I'll be covering how I'm approaching the kitbashing of these classes of SP flatcar over the next couple of years.

T&NO 24550-24649

Espee Models' F-70-7, which will become a T&NO flatcar.

I used light weathering on the deck of this F-70-7, being built in 1946-1949, these cars wouldn't be very old, so their decks shouldn't be falling apart yet.

SP 140234

Kitbashed SP F-50-16 from EspeeModels F-70-7

The SP 140234 is a great example of a minimal weathering job over the gray deck.  Some of the brown colors come from over-spray of the Freight Car Red used on the car sides.  Because these cars are only supposed to be 3-5 years old, I'm not looking for a super heavy weathering on these 'newer' cars.

SP 79934

Again, basic light deck weathering over the neutral gray plastic deck.

Again, a kitbashed Espee Models F-70-7 into one of the 130, F-70-3 class, 60ft flatcars.  This car was photographed transporting the SPNG #9 to and from Bakersfield for shopping with wooden 'rails' spiked to its deck.

Paint-Only Deck Weathering

SP F-50-series flatcar deck weathered with only paints.

The deck weathering I've done on several OwlMtModels F-50-series flatcars for publicity photos used only paints to 'weather' the decks, no physical distressing was done to the actual deck.

SPMW 1413 with Light Distressing

On this SPMW flat, I did some light scratching to aid in the paint washes highlighting the damage.

On the SPMW 1413, I did a bit more scratching to the deck so the washes and final painted weathering passes would show a bit more.

SPMW 3605 - Beat to Heck & Back Deck

The last physically distressed deck flatcar I worked on was an OwlMtModels SPMW flatcar.  During this project I wanted to experiment again and get the feel again for distressing plastic decks.  Each section of the deck I experimented with different techniques.

Early distressing of the deck and removal of two boards at the left end of the deck.

Early distressing took the form of scratching the deck with my carbide scribe, dragging a razor saw across certain parts of the deck sideways, so each tooth made a scratch.  Worse damage was caused by using the razor saw and cutting at angles along the boards to create splits and cracks, some of these were then carved on with a No.11 X-acto blade to remove chips and sections of board.

One of my newer 'favorite' techniques is using the saw to cut up and distress the ends of the boards.  This was common on flat car decks as the end-grain, despite be coated with two coats of paint when new, would still tend to split and draw additional water into the ends, causing further splitting.

Major deck sections removed, to be replaced with wood strips.

Next I weathered the deck roughly with color before putting the new wooden strips into the broken board sections.  I did this because in previous board replacement attempts, I never could quite get the natural strip-wood to match the colors and textures of the plastic/resin decks.

Strip wood broken boards added and mostly finished weathering.

In the later stages, I did some pre-painting of the strip wood replacement boards, with the same colors as used on the deck.  Doing this separately let me adjust the color to account for the wood soaking up the wash colors, and also get the color on before any ACC would 'harden' the wood to being colored.

Dusty San Joaquin Valley living at its finest, should also reflect in your weathering!

 Notice also that the deck tops of the SPMW 3605 are designed to match the 'dirt' and 'dust' colors of the Tehachapi Pass, where the 3605 has been 'living' for the last 6-8 years, at least in my mind's storyline of events. - The result will be more sun-baking and dust blowing on to deck boards, and getting washed into the boards, where as a car in wetter climates will have more water streaking and mud effects.

SPMW 3605, retired 1944, modeled as it might have appeared in 1952-53, starting with OwlMtModels 2002, F-50-5 kit.

Additionally, I decided to try some additional distressing experiments in the middle of the car with the razor saw at extremely low angles to the deck.  Basically shaving off a slice of the boards.  This caused some very interesting effects.

While I enjoyed working on the extreme damage examples where boards are completely missing, cars in revenue service wouldn't be allowed to get 'that bad', because of safety issues for both trainmen and men loading and unloading the cars.  Many flatcars in museums today have decks that are twisted and warped so badly I wouldn't even want to try standing on them, also many boards are broken too!

I actually tend to like the weathering I was able to do in the plastic areas of the deck more than the extreme damage.  I feel the deck of the SPMW 3605 is one of those 'extreme' examples, one which generally shouldn't be used very often.  The deck effects in the middle are more typical of the 'rough' decks that I'd expect to see in regular service cars.

Turning a New Splinter

In September, I went to San Jose to visit with TSG Multimedia and film a "How-To" video on building and weathering lumber loads.  I'll be using many of the same techniques here, but with different - more weathered colors.  Enjoy watching the video, it hopefully will help seeing some of the techniques I'm describing here as well.  I'll probably do a blog on some other lumber loads I'm working on soon.

On to the NP Flats

On the NP cars, I want to experiment more with this moderately rough deck techniques.  More examples of chipped boards, but without the whole board missing.

The starting point for this project before the physical distressing started.

These three cars give an example of three starting points: The NP 62109 is in the foreground with a repeatedly weathered and repainted deck, currently mostly black with a misted layer of Krylon 'Almond' sprayed on.  The 60430 in the middle has been weathered with my usual painting techniques and some places are wearing through to the neutral gray plastic.  Finally, in the background is an un-numbered NP 52ft flat with its natural neutral gray plastic deck, and only a bit of over-spray black on a few boards.

My basic tools, razor saw, No.77 X-acto blade, carbide scribe, small file, and two cheap Michael's craft brushes (the ones with glitter in the handles)

My tools for these projects are very simple.  The more unique being the carbide scribe, which is a machinist's tool, and the razor saw, which is VERY SHARP.  The No.11 blade should also be sharp enough to easily carve the plastic decks with easy control, and not slip and skip along the top of the deck - which can be very dangerous to fingers and such.

Apple Barrel acrylic craft paints from Walmart, less than $10 of paint in this shot total.
On the deck below I used Apple Barrel Paints: Pavement (for the darkest gray), with lighter colors coming from: Sunkissed Peach, Light Mocha, Khaki, and Territorial Beige.  It's handy to have White available also to bleach out the colors and be able to to make more neutral gray colors again.

Basic Paint-Only Weathering

The unpainted deck after several minutes with only three colors of paint.

The deck painting is pretty simple, I'm using the paints with a bit of distilled water to help keep it thin and able to have the pigments adjusted by the brushes until I'm happy with them.  Remember to set the model aside for an hour or so to let the layers your happy with dry before doing anything with scrubbing actions that might tend to lift off the previous layers.

Final washes of black or dark gray offer a way to highlight the board edges.  This deck is meant to show a 'graying deck' but not one that's fully cracking or chipping.  Remember to wait around a day or so for full drying of the acrylics before doing anything with washes, which could still lift off older laters.

There's a certain point with the acrylic paints that I find a happy medium working it, where the paint's not sloppy wet, and it's not too dry.  Often 'dry brushing' with acrylics can quickly lead to putting paint down that dries hard before it can be properly blended out.  To help combat this I'll lay down some water on the model before putting any paint to the model, that way as the paint goes on it forms a mixture of dry brushing and a wash. - It's very hard to describe, but it works well.  On the drying side of things, remember also that acrylics have a point where they 'cook off' and will set.  The wet shine of the paint and water will start going flat, showing that it's dried.  As this happens you have about 5-10 seconds to choose if an area you're still working with the brush is good, or if you need to work it more.

If it's good, *STOP!*  Let that area dry and finish curing.

If there's anything you don't like... a water mark especially, Get water on it **NOW**, before it 'cooks' and locks the defect into the finish.  Once the 'cooking' starts (polymerizing of the paint into longer strands and sheets), the only option is to hit it with water (or alcohol) and rub it back off in larger sections with a paper towel.  This often results in a challenge to be able to blend the later weathering back into the original parts that don't come off.

Physical Distressed & Painted Weathering

Much of the 'fuzz' on this deck is from the razor saw dragging across it.

On the NP 60430, I used my razor saw techniques and some additional work with the scribe to make smaller scratches.

Highlighted here are the chipped ends of the boards and some splintering of the mid-deck boards as well.

On the NP 60430, I didn't really use a lot of carving with the No.11 blade, which I did on the NP 62109 (P2K car) below.  Same basic shot, but with different lighting to show effects.

Basic overview of the distress to the deck of NP 62109.

The largest damage is in near the center of the car with a large cracked section of a board missing.  This could happen when a board fractured, then became loose, and was discarded.  The missing section does not extend through the deck, but only a couple of inches, which the low angle light shows better in the photo below.

A more yellow low-angle lighting of the same deck.

Several other gouges along the edges of the boards exist around the deck.  Some of those are made with the razor saw at low angles to create an overhanging ledge.  Then the No.11 blade is used to carve it and remove some of the resulting splinters.

Here's another darker image of the deck.  Notice the chipped and cracked ends of the deck boards.

Given that the deck of the WWII built NP flatcar is going on 8-9 years old, assuming I'm modeling 1952-53 with this car, with a reweigh date of 1950.  This deck's getting toward the point there may be some replacement boards coming in the next 3-4 years.

Detailed view of the damage to the boards.

In the photo above, the scribe marks are visible, along with the carved No.11 splinters taken off, and some of the saw work making the damaged board ends.  The painting effects were a mix of paint for the basic color, then washes to get darker colors down into the scribes, and finally small amounts of dry brushing to highlight the splinters and physically higher details resulting from the physical distress made on the deck.

In Conclusion

A lower angle view of the NP 62109's deck.

The NP 62109 will now go through final detailing repair (grab irons, stirrups, brake wheel, etc) before returning to service in the new paint scheme.

An OwlMtModels 3001 "Wide" Lumber Load partly completed, the deck damage is still visible between the lumber stacks.

I'll be talking about Lumber Loads soon, so here's a teaser using the NP 62109...

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

Open Loads (Part 1) - Building Steel Loads from Scratch - And Operations of Loads.

Open Loads (Part 2) - Lumber in Boxcars - A concept for the odd 'open door' boxcar load.

Modeling an MOW Supply Train (Part 1) - Overview of Supply Train Consist and Operations.

Two Years of Blogging - Reflections - Links to previous and future blogging ideas.

1 comment:

  1. GREAT Article, Thank You For Sharing Your Modeling Tips and Paint Selections.


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