As part of a broader article on weathering BR blue Western Region diesels, I've been working on a Heljan 'Hymek' to go with the Bachmann 'Warship' mentioned a few weeks back. Under the various layers of dirt, grease and grime, the blue livery has faded in a number of places, adding a much more convincing array of textures and shades to the plastic bodyshell. Indeed, the yellow ends have also been similarly treated and an already impressive model now looks much more realistic.

Next on the list is a blue 'Western', but this time with a much more serious case of distressed paintwork. Look out for the full demo on how these effects were achieved in Model Rail issue 186, out on 8 August.


  1. Hi George,

    After a model is weathered do you varnish it and if so what with? I'm finding even after varnishing if the model is put in its box the weathering rubs of which is a total pain!


  2. Hi Lewis,
    I tend to varnish weathered only if I've applied new transfers, nameplates or weathering powders (but not always!). Or, if I'm not happy with the final sheen of the model: ie it's looking too flat, so a little satin varnish will get the slight sheen back, or vice versa. Varnishing also acts to give a more unified finish to the model.
    If your weathering is rubbing off, it's more likely to be that the model hasn't been cleaned properly beforehand. If possible, dismantle the body and give it a thorough scrub with diluted soda crystals, with an old toothbrush. Once completely dry, enamel and acrylic paints should adhere reliably, but make sure you wear gloves every time you handle the dry model to prevent further contamination.
    While varnish can seal paints and pigments, it won't stop them rubbing off if they're unable to stick reliably to the surface in the first place.

  3. Thanks a lot George :-)


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