TIPS & TECHNIQUES

Painting Decks on Flatcars & Gondolas

This tip comes from a Large Scale modeler in Virginia named Pete
Piszcek.
    If you have looked closely at the Aristo flat cars and gondolas, you
have noticed that the flooring is molded  to simulate wood planking.
The problem lies in the fact that this planking is a glossy painted (or
unpainted) plastic, which is very unprototypical. In the real world this
wood planking gets roughed up, stained, and most notably bleached out by
the sun over time.   With a little paint, these cars can be changed
dramatically in their appearance to more closely resemble the prototype.

     Poly-S water based paint was used for this project, since mistakes
can be more easily corrected.  This paint is best thinned with alcohol
since it breaks down the surface tension and allows for a smoother coat
without bubbles.  The decks are first lightly airbrushed or dry brushed
with a light gray as a foundation.  Pete feels he has the best results
with a color called "aged concrete".   Once this has dried, a thin wash
of black is brushed over the entire deck. This wash is then wiped off so
that most of it remains in the grooves, but still leaves a grimy look on
the planking.  Several planks were painted with a light tan to simulate
replacement timber for broken deck planks.  As a final step, some more
light gray was dry brushed over areas of the deck for a more weathered
effect.
     If you choose, the decks can be distressed using an x-acto knife or
hot soldering iron.  This would simulate minor damage caused by dropping
or sliding loads over the deck.
     Once the deck is finished, additional weathering of the car can
take place.  Remember, these cars took a beating when in service, just
because of the nature of the loads carried, and how they were loaded.
The beauty of this weathering technique, is that several cars can be
done at one time.