Six Easy Diesel Details

Here are a couple of weathering and detailing tips that take only a few minutes to do,
and are incredibly cheap because they can be done with paint.

Take a look at the below photo for a few seconds. The red and black paint on the hood of
Great Western SD9 #914 looks to be in pretty good shape. That's a part of the locomotive we
normally notice when it rolls past.

Click for larger image.

Now look at the walkway. Over the years brakemen with different gaits wore a patch through
the paint. The bare metal took on a patina of rust. Near the steps everyone placed his foot in
the same place. Farther down the pattern seems random.

We can't see this when standing beside prototype tracks, but it is easy to see on our models.
It only takes a few minutes to add this detail with chalks or dilute acrylics.

There are a lot of cheap parts on a locomotive that are designed to wear out so that expensive
parts don't. One of these is the bearing journal pedestal liner. A pair of these are bolted
to the truck casting on each side of the wheel bearing.

Click for larger image

Pedestal liners come in different thicknesses and colors. Above is an interesting teal green
pair I found on Rio Grande F9B #5763 as it sat rusting away outside the Cheyenne roundhouse.
I've also seen them in a silver-gray.

A lot of the Hyatt roller bearings used on first and second generation EMD locomotives seem to
leak oil. It forms a cake of greasy grime. The bearings of 5763 and 3100 are typical examples.

Brake shoes are never painted, and can usually be found in brighter colors of rust as on DRGW #3100 below.

Click for larger image

Batteries leak acid. Most of it drips through holes in the battery box floor, but some always oozes
over the side sills of the locomotive, as on 3128 below. Sometimes the acid deposits white streaks
on the truck brake cylinder, other times it can produce rusty streaks.

Click for larger image

The brake actuating arm sometimes deposits rust streaks down the side of the truck, as on this
BNSF GP35 truck.

Click for larger image

The battery box (just to the left of the BNSF logo) leaked acid that stained the truck side
frame and brake cylinder. Both bearings leaked grease.

These are all quick and easy details that can give prototypical character to your model, yet cost
next to nothing. Grab a brush and paint some cheap details!