by John Winter Originally presented as a clinic at the 1996 MCoR Regional Convention
Weathering with Photocopy Machine Toner
I’ll bet you haven’t tried this one! I discovered this one while changing the toner in our office copier. Our old copier used a powdered toner which came packaged in a plastic bottle. What you did was pour new toner into the holding bin, a very messy job, and then you had to empty the container which held the “spent” or used toner. Well, it never failed, I usually got it all over everything including my hands. As I attempted to clean up this stuff, I noticed it stuck to everything, then the light bulb went on! You know, I said to myself, I bet I could use this stuff for weathering on my railroad. Well, I was right. I use it on everything. Locomotives, rolling stock and buildings. It also looks great on the backdrop to represent smoke from chimneys and smoke stacks. I also used it on Dee Joseph’s backdrop.
The fabulous Franklin and South Manchester of George Selliois has more paper signs than you can count. Where does he get his signs? Well, George is always on the lookout for old magazines from which he cuts classic advertising. I have found some current catalogs to be of some use, or at least the ones that sell the reproduction signs for Coke and Pepsi. First cut the sign from the catalog over size, that is, leave extra material around the edges. Then trim the excess with a new No. 11 blade. After it is trimmed, flip it over and very carefully sand the edges. After sanding, dilute some white glue, 50/50 with “wet” water. Apply a very thin layer of glue to the back of the sign, then place it on the building. Let the sign dry completely (overnight). After it is dry, you weather the sign with white chalk dust to make it look like it is faded. You can also lightly sand the face of the sign with some very fine sandpaper so it looks like it is old and torn.
Vines to Hide Your Corners
No matter how hard you try, no matter how careful you are in constructing structures, plastic or wood, sometimes you just can’t get the corner just right. The seam will show because the plastic or wood is warped and a huge, at least in HO scale, crack appears at the corner. Well, a time honored cure to this problem is “cover-up”! What I do is add ground foam vines held in place with full strength white glue. Apply the glue along the corner seam starting at the top, working your way down to the bottom. Continue to apply the glue along the bottom of the building, trying to visualize how the real thing would grow along the bottom and up the corner. Take a look at some of the photos of Tony Koester’s layout, he has some great examples.
Painted in Place Toilet Paper Roofs
This little gem you may have seen in one of the model magazines. Go to the library in your house (the bathroom) and check out the T.P. to see if the wife buys the cheap kind, the stuff that is single ply and doesn’t have any designs in or on it. Now if you have more than one bathroom, like in our house (his and hers), the cheap stuff will be in the “his” bathroom. Ok, you got the right kind. After you cut it into ½” wide strips, lay the first strip, cut a little longer than the length of the roof, on the roof. Along the lower edge paint it in place with some Floquil roof brown or weathered black, or whatever color you want your roof to be. Continue the process on up the roof until you have completely covered the one side of the roof. Repeat the process on the other side. Where the two sections meet at the peak, cut a thin strip to represent the cap strip. Use a sharp X-acto knife to trim the roof edges after the paint has completely dried. This trick provides you with a very good looking rolled roofing effect.
Masking Tape Rolled Roof
This idea works just like the one above except you use ½” wide masking tape for the rolled roofing. Apply it just like you did the T.P. roof material, except the adhesive will hold it in place. After the roof is covered, paint it the desired color.
A side note – masking tape also makes very nice window shades, and you don’t have to use glue to hold them in place.