Spring 2021 – Weathering A Murphy Models 121 Class Locomotive
This brightly coloured model was just crying out for some work-staining. It would only have looked like this for the first few days of its working life, accumulating road dirt and grime from the moment it started moving.
As an exercise in minimalist weathering I decided to only use one product, just to see if it was feasible to achieve something that looked realistic without expending too much in the way of time, money and effort.
One wash seemed to me to be the ideal candidate for this task, MIG Products Dark Wash. I have had this bottle for over 5 years and it still has plenty of content, although it has become ‘stronger’ in that time, as the carrier has evaporated and left a greater proportion of pigment to the mixture. To begin with I’ll use a rigger brush (long bristles, thin point) to apply a thinned wash to all the detail areas, using capillary action to take the fluid where I want it to go.
Dipping the brush in the white spirit that is being used as a thinner for the enamel wash, the wash is added to the brush by the simple expedient of dipping the bristles in the wash bottle. This gives a thinner version of the wash that can be applied carefully to a corner of raised detail. The effect of this can be seen below together with the apparent horrific mess, where blobs have formed. There is no need to worry about the blobs at this stage, they need to be left for 20 minutes or so to start drying out.
Having completed one side of the locomotive and left it for 20 minutes, a start is made on removing the blobs of wash. This is achieved by using the bristles of a cleaned rigger brush laid flat against the surface and mode from side to side at the edge of each blob in turn, using the bristles as a sponge to pick up the wash. Each stroke of the brush requires the absorbed wash to be wiped of on a paper towel, to prevent the wash being simply redistributed across the surface. Cotton swabs have been used to clean larger flat areas of wash that has appeared in the wrong places as a result of my clumsiness.
The same process has been used for running wash into the detail lines on the roof – dip the bristles in the white spirit, then in the wash bottle. It may take a few dabs to get the consistency right. The wash should flash along the detail lines as soon as the tip of the brush touches a corner.
The same process was used for the other side. Apply the wash, wait 20 minutes, remove the blobs, clean up the mistakes. At this point I also added a random layer of wash on the running plate.
Once the cleaning up had been completed, I sat back and studied the result, but was not happy with it at all. The dark colour of the wash and the high pigment content had created what, to my eye, was too much of a contrast between clean and dirty areas.
The resolution was to remove the heavier applications of wash around the grilles and lessen the harshness of the remaining grey paintwork by applying a very thin airbrushed coat of the wash. This had not been my original intention, wanting to only use one brush. I think that if I had chosen a lighter colour of wash, such as a medium grey, I could have achieved the required effect without the airbrush.
The airbrush was also used to lay down a thin coat of wash over the cab roof, because there was some wash left in the colour cup. The same effect could have been achieved by using a wide flat brush to apply the wash, brushing across the roof from side to side.
Finishing touches were cleaning up of areas where the wash had strayed too far, using a clean brush and clean cotton swabs, and applying the same wash to the fuel tank and bogies using the wide flat brush, thus removing the black shine thereon.