Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Whether to weather or not?

Weathered models are now a regular occurrence in the ranges of Hornby and Bachmann, several good companies exist who offer weathering as a custom service and many modellers do their own weathering. However, the decision to weather models or not regularly divides opinion amongst modellers....

one of Bachmann's latest weathered offerings is their 'Super D'

Let's start by looking at the weathering offered by the ready to run market. Bachmann's weathering is the best the market has to offer in my opinion, whilst not giving the individuality you'd get from commissioning a model from a weathering company or doing it yourself you are left with a very presentable model.

Hornby's latest weathered option, the Crosti 9F

Hornby's weathering has always been a little basic for my liking. This Crosti 9F has got quite a gentle shade of weathering on the wheels, cylinders and frames. Other examples have had a very 'vibrant' (for want of a better word) weathering which comes out an odd looking orange colour and doesn't look very appetising. My main gripe with Hornby's weathering is the top of the boiler remains pristine which is one of the first things to get dirty on a steam loco.

As I understand it the reason for such differences is that Bachmann have a sample of each weathering done by a weathering company and then send it out to be copied while Hornby just apply a basic dusting to the loco.

That brings us on nicely to the idea of sending locos away to be weathered. There are several companies out there these days that offer a comprehensive weathering service as well as renaming and renumbering services. (those of you who know me will know I used to work for one, less said about that the better though!) This is by no means the cheapest way of getting your models weathered but, providing you choose the right company, provides a much more realistic effect than even the Bachmann models do. We are currently looking into offering a limited weathering and renumbering service here at Tony's Trains At Barby Model Rail, further details to follow (as and when).

Which leaves the final weathering option, do it yourself! Opinion is often divided on how the best affects can be achieved, airbrushing always seemed the best way to me. However, a high quality Airbrush set (inc. compressor) could easily set you back more than £400 (that's a lot of weathering jobs by one of the weathering companies). One thing I learned during my time doing weathering was it's a skilled art and the biggest challenges are having the nerve to start and knowing when to stop! If you feel confident to carry out the weathering then have a go, if not then send them away to be done!

Which neatly brings us round to the question raised by this article. Whether to weather? If you have one weathered loco does that mean all your locos need to be weathered? Then what about the rolling stock? Can you have weathered locos hauling pristine stock around or vice-versa can pristine locos haul weathered stock?

Well, as is always said, it's your layout and you can do as you please. However, in my opinion it needs to be a case of one in, all in! Running lightly weathered locos on pristine coaching stock isn't a big issue though and I must admit I have done and still do that regularly. The cost soon mounts up if you send all your carriages and wagons away for weathering!

I know a lot of people like to run their locos around absolutely pristine in a rose tinted utopia of what the railways should be like where the sun always shines and your favourite team is always in the Cup Final, while others like to run with a gritty realism of weathered locos and the railways almost on their knees approach. The way I used to (and still do) get round it is by running all the weathered stock during one session and then all the pristine stock during another.

Would be interested to hear other people's take on this subject. Thanks for reading and keep enjoying your modelling. Tony :)

ps, sorry we've been a bit quiet lately been hectic here!

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