Saturday, October 09, 2010

How I weathered some LGB tippler wagons

To handle the copper ore traffic on the railway, I have accumulated two rakes of eight LGB tippler wagons - one train of full wagons and one train of empties. As these tipplers are used frequently in running sessions to justify the existence of the railway, I was keen to give them a more realistic, weathered look. In their original out-of-the-box state, they look far too toy-like:

The first job was to disassemble each wagon. The couplings were removed........

 ..... as were the wheels, which needed to be prised out with a screwdriver.

Each wagon was thus separated into its component parts.

The prominent LGB moulding was filed off the end of each bucket:

The chassis and buckets were then washed in diluted dishwasher detergent (I've heard this is better than ordinary washing-up liquid as it does not contain additives such as lanolin). They were left to dry for a couple of days...........

........ before being given two coats of Halfords rattle-can red primer, in my highly sophisticated spray booth (a large cardboard box with one side and the top removed).

These were left to dry for a couple of days. Then each bucket was given a wash of muddy brown/black acrylic...........

......... which was then dabbed and wiped off with a paper towel, leaving deposits of muck in the corners........

...... and streaks on the larger surfaces:

The same treatment was given to each chassis (note by this time I'd decided to wear disposable plastic gloves after leaving handprints on the doors between the workshop and the kitchen sink!).

The two components of Scenic rust were mixed together in the little pot provided - one component is the binder (basically PVA glue) and the other is fine iron powder:

This was then applied liberally to the buckets and chassis, focusing attention on the places where rust accumulates (ie corners and joints) but also dabbing here and there. Some wagons were more heavily attacked than others, suggesting they were in a more weathered condition.

Once all had been suitably daubed, they were left for a day to dry, before the 'developer' fluid was liberally applied with a brush. As you can see, the rusting process was already beginning.

The following day and most of the wagons had acquired a distinctly rusty look, though I sprayed a few with water to accelerate the rusting process.

I tried increasing the bashed look of one wagon by attacking the bucket with a blow-torch to soften the plastic of the bucket. However, the plastic of is so thick it caught fire before going soft which made the process difficult to control. I decided not to take the risk with the other buckets.

 The next task was to reassemble the wagons. I decided to rewheel them using Bachmann metal wheels, which are by far the cheapest at around £12.50 for four axles.

The wheels were prised into place with a screwdriver.

As the wagons would never be uncoupled from their train, I decided to permanently couple them into rakes of four wagons. I did try a full rake of eight wagons permanently coupled but when one became derailed on the hidden link to the copper mine, it plummeted to the ground taking the other seven with it. The only way I could retrieve them was to squirm into the undergrowth on my stomach.

A series of couplings were fashioned from copper wire and chain:

Holes were drilled in the coupling plates to accommodate the hooks:

Then the couplings were pushed into place. I decided not to Superglue them in case they needed removal later.

Standard LGB hook and loop  couplings were added to the ends of each rake of four wagons

The train was then test-run in the October sunshine:

So far, the train of empties has been completed. The train of eight full wagons is next on the list.

I must say, I am very impressed with the results, which is due mostly to the properties of the Scenic Rust. I probably have sufficient left to do another four wagons, so I'd say each kit will do 12 wagons - which is good value considering the ease with which some impressive results are achieved. I am not sure whether to varnish the wagons or to let them continue weathering naturally. I may try an experiment and varnish one to see what happens.

UPDATE: See How I made a rake of loaded tippler wagons

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link from the 16mmNG Group. You give me confidence.