I always loved the red and grey Railfreight livery of the 1980s and have been stocking up on a number of Bachmann VDAs in this scheme to flesh-out my Speedlink-era rolling stock. As featured in the latest Model Rail - on general sale today - I trialled some weathering dyes on my own limited edition Civil Link version of a VDA but was not entirely pleased with the results. Having learned the lesson of not testing unknown products on a precious model, I couldn't see any other way of salvaging the van except for a complete strip-down and repaint.
So, said wagon now carries the red & grey of Railfreight rather than the 'Dutch' scheme of the engineers' department. The repaint has taken a month or two to complete, the various stages being fitted in around other projects and coinciding with a Railfreight-liveried Class 47 (lima/Vi-Trains hybrid) also on the go. I usually wait until I've a couple of things to paint in the same colour, as well as varnishing and weathering - it saves a lot of time mixing paints, etc. It does, however, result in lots of part-finished models littering my workshop at any one time!
The airbrush weathering job was undertaken yesterday. With a number of signal kits and a blue Class 37 also in production, I subsequently sprayed the different shades over each model in turn. I usually just use three shades: Railmatch enamel frame dirt, roof dirt and weathered black, applied in that order, working from the frames upwards. My new Iwata airbrush (also reviewed in the latest Model Rail) proved perfect for adding fine, freehand streaks of grime along the various door and panel seams of the van. Well-thinned paint and a low pressure (about 8-10psi) allows ultra-close up spraying and the Iwata 'brush has a paint flow limiter that removes the risk of too much paint being emitted by accident. Mind you, it's not a cheap device (nearly £200), but the quality results and pleasure from its use are worth it.
Another model in the weathering queue was this Vi-Trains Class 37. Portraying boiler-fitted 37247, this is another blue South Wales 'Tractor' for use on my Maudetown Colliery layout. The loco has also been the testbed for a variety of detailing parts that came into Model Rail for review; most notably the snowploughs and bogie footsteps (PH Designs). A full appraisal and demonstration of these components will appear in th magazine in due course.
Still waiting for glazing and other final detail additions, this grimy '37' is not far off entering service, hauling mineral wagons to and from Maudetown. It's interesting how better the Vi-Trains model looks without its front windows in place - the prismatic effect of the plastic glazing making the windows look smaller and boxier than they actually are. I'm tempted to look into an alternative to re-fitting the original glazing... watch this space...!