Re: Detailing Cars - high/low priority



I no longer do - as I get older, I can't even see the detail. Although, there is a certain sense of satisfaction just knowing its there.
Do any of you choose not to weather some or all of your train equipment?
Some, depending on what I paid for it. I've got some old Athearn rolling stock and a crappy Bachman loco that I weathered just to try my hand at it. However, I just can't bring myself to weather the more expensive stuff. I know I could use chalk, but deep down I love that "showroom shine".
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stock
Accurail
ladders, and add

details [such

equipment?
Maybe my eyes are going, but my experience has been that when a train is moving you really can't see much in the way of detail. Especially on the underbody.
So on the KL&B:
Detailing:
Cars from "shake the box" type kits intended for static scenes, or that will always operate near the front edge of the layout, get the full treatment from underbody detail to the roofwalk.
Cars that will be moving around in "revenue service" initially just get the basics of metal wheels, Kadee couplers, and the truck 'journals' being reamed out with a Reboxx "Tool".
And, if I remember to do it, I'll hit the molded on grabs and steps with a fine point black marker to create the illusion they aren't quite so thick. The only time I do anything more to these cars is when the "detailing muse" strikes, and I just feel like doing it.
Weathering:
Locos and cars: I go very lightly with chalk, so it's removable.
Structures: I'll use whatever works, chalks, paint, india ink, highlighters, etc.
Always remember, it's your railroad and the idea is to have fun with it.
So, beyond the basics to insure reliable operation, do what you enjoy doing with your cars. And, whether they're detailed or not, or whether they're weathered or not, it will be right for your trains. -- Len Head Rust Scraper KL&B Eastern Lines RR Museum
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Matt & Kathleen Brennan wrote:

>

The answer is yes. I have many Athearn type cars that I have scraped off the molded on stuff and added separate details. BUT I have many that I just use straight out of the box. It just depends. I've found that under heavy operating conditions that really detailed cars get broken up a whole lot quicker. Some are just too good and fragile to risk and don't get to participate in normal operation. If I need a photo shoot I'll round up the detailed cars.
Also when one needs 200 cars to fill a yard, it would either cost a fortune to buy or take forever to build detailed cars to fill it with. Simple logistics demand using out of the box stuff. Through the years some of the out-of-the-box cars get a natural weathering with dust and handling.
I have both detailed and none detailed cars that have all degrees of weathering from none to heavy.
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On Fri, 09 Jan 2004 20:40:54 -0500, Matt & Kathleen Brennan

Genreally speaking I do NOT buy anything with cast on grabs and the like..There are exceptions, of course..Covered hopper and hopper cars generally have them but they are easy to replace with wire bits and the like...I no longer settle for cast on details and have not since I built my first Front Range kit many moons ago...Thankfully, since that time, things have gotten even better for those of us who demand more detailed models and FR in now only a nightmare of the past..As far as kits go I prefer the offerings from Red Caboose, Intermountain, Branchline and their like..There are cars from other manufacturers that you mention that I do pick up from time to time. Accurails USRA 55 ton hopper, their autroracks and Stewart Hoppers are good starts as well for superdetailing...It is all in the details for me.
Regards,
Denis F. Blake Columbus, OH TTHOTS
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I follow a similar practice to what Denis outlines.
I do not like the look of cast on details so do not buy these kits unless I have absolutely no alternative and this is limited to hoppers. I have tried removing the heavy cast on ladder rungs on hoppers with mixed results but I am getting better and am determined to stay this course.
In addition to Red Caboose, Intermountain, and Branchline I would add Proto2000. Their "War Emergency Hoppers" do actually have separate wire grabs for the end ladders!
I also like a consistent look to the cars on the layout. Having highly detailed cars such as the Kadee box cars and now covered hoppers running coupled to an Athearn "shake the box" kit draws attention to the lack of detail. So, since I can not afford a full layout of the excellent Kadee cars (nor do they offer enough variety in roads and road numbers to do that) I go for a "middle of the road" look of separately applied details but not to the level of the Kadee cars.
I do not do any additional detailing to the bottom of cars beyond what is included in the kits. In operation, all you can see is the outline of the details anyway.
I like the weathered look but not if overdone. I think that weathering should also be done "to scale" and a little goes a long way.
Allen Cain
wrote:

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I'm the same way, so far. I hate shaving grabirons and putting on the fine wire one. I even hate installing the fine wire ones that are included in the kit! Mainly due to impatience and a desire for instant gratification.
Though in other instances, I have detailed stuff. Put on a plow, an antenna, some other oddball item for a detail....
A long ways from the days I used to detail Micro Armor for wargaming....
Kennedy
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Matt & Kathleen Brennan wrote:

Of all the details on a model the paint job is the most visible. If the model is getting a new paint job that will cover the odd tool mark from removing cast on grabs, then I go the whole route and add as much wire detail as possible. On models with fancy multi tone factory paint jobs that are beyond my painting skills, I tend to stay with the factory setup, cause the tool marks will show. As a general rule I give the undersides of cars a coat of gray auto primer to kill the new plastic gloss. I glaze any windows the car might have. I give the trucks a coat of red auto primer and brush paint the faces of the wheels grimy black. Locomotives get a light shield prevent the headlight bulbs from showing through the cab windows. My weathering has not progressed much beyond a shot of dull cote to kill the gloss on some models.
David J. Starr
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If you have an airbrush, a light thin coat of flat black wash will do wonders. Make it a little thicker around the exhaust pipes and on the roofs of locos (diesel particulates settle out sometimes), and if it's an Alco, really thick around the exhaust pipe.
I've also used red oxide to almost completely mask a road's herald to look like faded white lettering.
Jay CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"
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I only do what I can with paint. I detail paint things like reefer door hinges, spray on dust and grime, use chalks to make letters look like they are running or fading. I use India ink and alcohol for relief washes and dry brush everything to make the details pop. Here are some photos http://www.dougcoffey.com/html/rolling_stock.html
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Matt & Kathleen Brennan wrote:

As my interests became more focused on operation, I discovered something: When operating in a prototypical manner during an operating session, I don't notice the fiddly details on the rolling stock very much.
This realization came to me gradually when operating on a friend's layout over the past few years- he still was running some older cast metal cars from the 1950s and a few paper-sided cars from the same era as the number of Intermountain, Branchline and resin kit cars in his fleet gradually increased. As I focused on getting trains over the road according to the rules and spotting the right car at the right place, I paid less and less attention to the details on the cars. Having the low-detail, even somewhat crude 50 year-old cars running side by side with cars that represent the current state of the art drove this home to me.
Having said that, I still prefer the more highly-detailed cars, especially if they more accurately represent the car they're supposed to model, but at some point I have to make the decision as to how much work I want to put into each car. The compromise I've chosen is to pay more attention to detail on home road equipment and "signature" cars from other railroads, and less to the more run-of-the-mill cars from other roads. If it's a car that calls attention to itself, I prefer a higher level of detail. If it's just another brown 40-foot boxcar that blends into the rest of the train, I'm not as concerned.
Weathering makes the lack of detail on some cars less obvious. Since it's easy to apply a base level of weathering in bulk when I have the spray booth up and running, I periodically go through and shoot any cars that haven't been weathered yet. If I have the time while I'm assembling a car and the mood strikes me, I'll get out the CeramCoat and hand-weather the car before I put it into service.
Then again, I'm focused on operation and operation is less about the equipment than it is the procedure. I believe it is possible to represent prototype operation while pushing Brio around on track set on the floor.
-fm Webmaster, Rails on Wheels, Washtenaw County, Michigan's HO Modular Club, at http://www.railsonwheels.com
The address in the header of this message is deliberately bogus to foil address-harvesters. See my web sites for my real address.
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Fritz Milhaupt wrote:

concept. Bill Jewett's a terrific guy. He and his wife were here for dinner last year prior to a big OPSIG event that we both attended. The "Dispatcher's Office" is a fabulous newsletter. I read that publication cover to cover for insights on train operations in the real world [and in the model railroad, world].

I certainly agree that during train operations, car 'detailing' takes a back seat to car 'spotting' and car 'retrieving'. Yet, it is quite easy to pick out a Kadee boxcar amidst a collection of lesser models and vice versa. I think you do see the detailing, or the lack thereof, when it is inconsistent with the larger body of rolling stock present.
However, as someone else pointed out earleir in the thread, the paint quality and the lettering are the NEON SIGNS of high quality or poor quality. That is impossible to hide no matter how many cars are within view. Any time I have attended a train show, you'll often see long consists running along the rails as members/clubs simply couple anything and everything together for the audience to enjoy. Within those trains, a Kadee boxcar will stand out from the rest of the cars w/o exception. Your eyes are drawn to the paint almost immediately where upon you then see the fine detailing as the car rolls by. Intermountain cars are equally impressive, and Atlas cars have closed the gap as well.
I would add that the recent Walthers rolling stock is extremely well painted, lettered, and detailed. Once you add metal wheels and Kadee [or McHenry] couplers, the Walthers cars look and perform terrific. Cost, with the additions stated, is comparable to Atlas. This was the reason I hesitated to contribute to the Athearn thread discussing the potential impact it could have on the industry. I have a number of Athearn cars. In my opinion, they are quite inferior to the Walthers cars that I own. This was the reason that I started this thread. I felt that the Athearn cars were in dire need of some additional detailing to match the other rolling stock.
I like having access to all of the brands since they all offer certain cars that are unique and desirable. However, I do not see that any one of these manufacturers is bigger than the whole. Hence, Athearn, should they choose to part with the Walthers catalog approach and the normal train shop market, will be hard pressed to survive the competition as it presently exists wthin the market.
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Matt & Kathleen Brennan wrote:

As in real life, as a train rolls by certain cars will catch one's eye for one reason or another. And therein might be the plan. Include a bunch of hum-drum cars so that the ones one wants to emphasize stand out.
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I wish I had the TIME to do a lot more of such added detail work.
Probably 90% of my rolling stock collection has at least REAL Kadee couplers and (often, as needed) better wheelsets. Probably about half have at least SOME extra work done beyond that. The type of work you list is pretty much what I do, on an as needed basis ... when I have the time. While I DID spend a lot of time on Athearn shells and such in years past (they were mostly ALL you could get), NOW I tend to put the extra work on 'better' cars to start with. Why spend countless hours trying to correct crude problems, when today much better bodies are available to start from (in most cases).
If I want to spend THAT much time on something, I occasionally scratchbuild a car or structure, or remotor, regear, or add 'sound' to a locomotive.
About half my rolling stock is "weathered".
My rolling stock is divided into pretty much four sets.
1) "In service" equipment ON my model railroad. This has almost ALL been 'upgraded' already. Almost all are weathered to varying degrees. The current project, just begun, is to switch to the narrower tread semi-scale wheels and the smaller Kadee #58 couplers. These look significantly better, especially on smaller, older equipment.
2) "In service" equipment for use on the local club modular railroad. Perhaps 50% have been 'upgraded', somewhat. This stuff takes quite a beating from our frequent public displays. Kids, of ALL ages, poke and grab at moving trains despite the best efforts to keep them away. Baggy winter coat sleeves snag on all sorts of things when reaching across the layout to point at things (they're NOT supposed to do THAT either). We have perhaps 30K people see our layout each year, much of the traffic during a five-week Christmas display. With THAT many people, there are always some 'bozos'. And some of the problems are just from normal wear and tear. We put a LOT of ACTUAL (5280 ft.) miles of operation on the trains in five weeks, 6-8 hours a day!
The layout is displayed in a heated (more or less) one room building. However, when the crowds get large, the doors are open most of the time, and temperature drops dramatically. The wooden floors get VERY wet from melted snow tracked in. Temperature and humidity swings are extreme. The layout is subjected to a lot of thermal and humidity 'heaving'. Due to ever changing module gaps, and bumpy track due to these problems, I'm sticking with full width wheelsets and full size Kadee couplers for this equipment. Still, we often run 50-70 car trains for HOURS with no problems.
3) Out of service equipment. Many of these need work. Some are operable, but 'below standard' compare to the rest of the collection. A lot of these are flea market purchases. Most look like they have some promise, when I can spend the time on them. Future projects ... or flea market fodder as the case may be. Some are kept for sentimental reasons ... I have a lot of my dad's old HO from the 1940's. Surprisingly, with a little work many of these are quite presentable, and some are 'in service'.
4) New unbuilt, or even RTR, kits or cars that I just haven't gotten into service yet. A couple closets full. Half the fun is dreaming about what you're going to do, someday!
Dan Mitchell ========Matt & Kathleen Brennan wrote:

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``````` No detail added whatsoever. I am one of those "good enough" modelers...if it looks like a boxcar, it's good enough. I do, however, add various forms of weathering in varying intensities to 99 out of 100. That 100th car may get none, other than a little bit of talcum powder to tone it down a little. I play around with various techniques and media - pencils, chalk, paint, airbrush, india ink/alcohol, graphite, real dirt, water colors - whatever comes to mind or I have on hand at the time. Sometimes I'll look at a photo for a particular car I am modeling and see how closely I can match my weathering to the photo. Most of the time I just wing it. I just have fun with it. The only other thing I do with ALL my cars is to weight them to NMRA standards, using pennies secured with Walthers GOO when possible. I also paint wheelsets, trucks and coupler boxes and add Kadee couplers.
I may add a couple details to my locos such as the radio antenna,spark arrestors if appropriate, strobe/mars lite, or metal grabs if none or all aren't already on the engine, and some decals such as builders plate, etc. That's pretty much it in addition to details which may be included with the engine such as, for example, sun visors and all weather windows.
I consider myself more of a model railroader than a railroad modeler.
Paul - "The CB&Q Guy" Modeling the CB&Q and its fictional Illiniwek River Valley Branch in the 1960's.
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