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Modeling Gaffe 10: Please Pay Attention to Your Vehicles Too.

October 4, 2010

1953 White cabover dumptruck
Just look at the difference a coat of paint and weathering makes!

How many layouts have you and I seen that have excellent structures, nice scenery and trains, but have a plethora of out-of-the-box new automobiles, even if they’re supposed to be hard working trucks or older autos and vans? Especially considering that most manufactures use super-gloss paint and often feature blindingly chromed plastic details. They stick out like sore thumbs on your roads.

Not all Vehicles should be weathered, but they should all be detailed to at least passable levels. Simple details, all of which would take no more than 5 minutes to do would be:

-Adding Licence Plates (note the era you model, for instance in the era I model, the California Plates were black with yellow letters, as opposed to the white-on-blue they are today) Although they aren’t on the vehicles shown here, it’s next on my to-do list.
-Painting the tires flat black. Nothing stands out more than the look of fresh rubber. Unless you’re modeling a car being washed, these should be toned down.
-Dullcoating the paint job. We’ve discussed color theory and how you shouldn’t have anything except water and glass glossy and reflective, the same should apply to your automobiles’ paint. At the distance you’re viewing these little bitty autos, you wouldn’t notice the gloss, and plus it’s distracting.
– A touch of weathering helps most, but not all models. We shouldn’t make every car look like a narrow gauge layout rustbucket, with every car coated in soot (unless applicable) on it’s last, rusty legs. However most vehicles benefit from a coat of dirt on the rims and undercarriage.
-Trucks and Vans should show wear realistically in response to what work they perform. The dumptruck you see has rust where paint would have rubbed off first, like the dump bed and tailgate. Fendered cars love to accumulate wear and rust at the top of the crest of their fenders and down in the crevasses below the door.
Ford Model A pickup Athearn HO

– Always consider the age of the vehicle in respect to the era you’re modeling. For instance, this 1953 White dump truck would fit nicely on a late 1960’s layout because of the heavy weathering and more modern color/paint scheme. If I were to make it look original, I’d choose a more 1950’s color palette for my two-tone paint job and probably not paint the dump bed two-toned.
The Model A pickup, however, would fit nicely in my 1954 layout, it’s been heavily used and beaten for the 20 years it’s been running, the replacement door is always a nice touch on older vehicles.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Paul Saunders permalink
    December 22, 2010 12:27 am

    I agree 100%. I think a lot of modellers don’t weather their models due to the resale value of pristine models over weathered ones.


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