Normally at this time of year for the last few years I’ve had upwards of 20 HO scale freight cars in various stages of completion headed through the weathering process as I get them ready for RPM Chicagoland at the end of October. This year, with the change to P:48 in scale, and other tasks that have required time and energy, I have 2 cars going through the weathering process getting ready for that event. It’s quite a change. However, I’m throughly enjoying the work this time around as the cars start to look better and better with each step in the process.
The Rails Unlimited NP 36’ boxcar has made it into weathering at this point. I have to admit I have been reluctant to start processes this year, with small numbers of projects. I am used to setting up and spending hours doing one task. With the smaller number of cars, I’m not having that issue, and when I finally goad myself into doing something, I’m really pleased with the outcome.
A couple of days after painting the car, I sat down with the set of Protocraft decals and began lettering. There really isn’t much to the early NP scheme that these cars wore for a long time. I had a chuckle over the fact that the “NORTHERN PACIFIC” decal on the left hand side of the door is all one piece to get a good arc for the lettering, and it’s big enough that my usual dealing water pot wasn’t big enough to hold the whole thing and I had to get a bigger bowl. When wetting the decals I use bottled water. Our tap water is extremely hard here, and I find that if I use that I get mineral fogging. Once wet, I pulled the decal out of the water and let it soak while I applied Micro Set to the car side. A few seconds later, the decals slid into place, a small piece of paper towel wicked away the excess water and solution, and then I applied Micro Sol to soften the decals and make them conform to the car side. My preferred way to do this that seems to give me good results is to use a micro brush to pass this solution along the edges of the decal. The capillary action of the liquid sucks it under the lettering and draws the lettering down onto the car. I usually apply two to three passes of Micro Sol over the course of a day, letting each dry on it’s own. It takes me about 24 hours to get all four sides of a car lettered this way, but I like the result so I keep going back to this process.
Again, I let the car set for another day or so, and then applied Dull Coat over everything. The models really start to come to life when the first coat of dull coat goes on. I decided that I want to get this car looking like it’s in use, but not as rough as I’ve done cars before. I have some new tools and techniques to try this year, and those will come up next as the car goes through weathering.