As the subject of an upcoming Model Rail Workbench Test, I've been trialling a number of new and improved weathering dyes from Modelmates. Proprietor Alan Taylor has been tinkering with the formula of these popular dyes in an effort to achieve ever-better results and his hard work is certainly paying off. A number of all-new products are also coming on-stream and these are even more exciting. I can't give too much away yet, but the full story and results of my tests will appear in the next issue (MR171), on sale June 14.

The images below show my first couple of attempts and the cheapo Hornby models look pretty convincing. Both wagons have since received further treatment with Modelmates' new textured 'Rust' dye and now look even better. Look out for Model Rail 171 to see more. The same issue also includes an exciting subscription offer...
Using only Modelmates dyes, a pleasant variety of shades have been achieved on the planked van, suggesting faded paintwork and layers of grime. Some great results have also been achieved using a couple of new products on the underframes - this is where the original batches of Modelmates dyes struggled, as their translucent nature left them unsuitable for use on dark surfaces.

Modelmates dyes perform equally well whether applied by hand or airbrush. However, delicate misting and streaking effects such as this can only be achieved by spraying. The dyes are thin enough to to be used 'neat' and a low air pressure (10psi) is sufficient for really close work. Models need a 'primer' coat of matt varnish before application, however, to ensure proper adhesion. A sealing varnish coat afterwards also helps. See MR171 for a full demo.


  1. From Andrew John Small...

    Hi George
    I have been experimenting with Alan's products since April 2010 when he was marketing these as "Dirty Down" in spray cans. As I only model N Gauge I advised him at Warley that year that the product was great but could he sell the solutions only so that they could be better controlled & I believe this change has paid dividends. I normally spray using cellulose thinners as a base & I have found that if these are further diluted from the jar with this & a little Phoenix enamel is added they will work on the darker plastic of the underframes.Keep up the great work with Model Rail.

  2. Hi Andrew.
    Sorry but I accidentally deleted your comment and couldn't work out how to reinstate it, so have pasted it back above. I'm no computer whizz kid!
    Thanks for the info on Modelmates dyes - the idea of adding cellulose thinners and Phoenix enamels is an interesting one. I'll have to give it a go and see what happens.
    The Modelmates range is certainly worth experimenting with.


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