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 Painting a steamer weathered black or engine black
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Posted - 2011 December 02 :  5:26:42 PM  Show Profile
My steamers are going to be 30+ years old in my era, so i'm wondering what would look better.

1. Paint steamer Floquil Weathered Black then weather it fully

2. Paint it engine black and then weather it heavier.

Would a solid coat of weathered black look too uniform, or would it make weathering it easier?
I generally use drybrushing and Bragdon powders.

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Posted - 2011 December 02 :  5:38:58 PM  Show Profile
The only steam engine i know that is relatively unrestored and still works has gloss paint, flat paint, thick paint, thin paint, cracked and chipped paint, faded paint, runny paint, rusty paint, blisted paint, wavey paint and a few areas that still look good as new - just about everything. :)

Ron S.
"How many model trains is enough ??...a few more."
(a take on a J.D. Rockafeller quote.)

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Posted - 2011 December 02 :  5:44:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit jmlaboda's Homepage
Depending on the age that you are trying to convey a mix of weathered black and engine black would not be bad... weathered black tends to come out way too gray for my tastes. For an engine that had been serviced in the past couple of years consider "Tarnished Black" which is not nearly as gray as weathered black. Not sure if it is available in the Floquil line but it will be the black I will be using on most of my steamers.

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Posted - 2011 December 02 :  5:48:08 PM  Show Profile
I started with Tarnished Black for this and followed up with washes and chalks...

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Posted - 2011 December 02 :  10:25:09 PM  Show Profile
One of our club members wrote an insightful article on painting steam engines for our club newsletter this month. It's on page 7 at

Bill Kepner

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Posted - 2011 December 02 :  11:36:31 PM  Show Profile
Start with a gloss or semi-gloss black for jacketed areas, can and tender. Consult prototype for smokebox and firebox areas (if not lagged).

Weather to taste.

I don't like "weathered back" or the like as they make the model a gray ghost. Steam locomotives deserve to start out right, and then be weathered.


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Posted - 2011 December 03 :  12:35:57 AM  Show Profile
Damn lashedup , that is gorgeous . You know the weathering is correct if you don't want to touch it for fear of getting your hands dirty . You are the steam king .

Richie Dost Photos

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Posted - 2011 December 03 :  01:51:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit mmagliaro's Homepage
I would tend to go with some sort of all-black, not "weathered black", which is just too
gray for me. Engine Black (Floquil) or even Tamiya TS-6 Matte Black out of a spray can work well for me.
Then weather it with oversprays of grays or browns OR go with the weathering powders. I think either approach works.

I used Floquil Concrete over engine black on this and an 100% happy with it:

This one was some sort of black I don't even remember (but definitely not the grayish "weathered black", and than weathering powders went over it:

Tamiya TS-6 from a spray can - not weathered, but shows you the black finish you can get. Even from a spray can, I like it:

-- Max

N Scale steam for the masses

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Alwyn Cutmore

Posted - 2011 December 03 :  05:41:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit Alwyn Cutmore's Homepage
I'll go with Max on this. I figure locos start life as Black:Black or very dark DGLE and then when the air gets to them they start to oxidize. After that the world throws whatever it can at the, soot, smoke, mud, oil, grime, heat, cold, stones and so on until it get to the day we see it or the day of our perceived colour. That is the way I weather by building up to the end.


Al Cutmore
Slobbering Pennsy Sharknose Freak

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Posted - 2011 December 03 :  05:55:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lemosteam's Homepage
I'll second Max on the Tamyia Ts-6. That is some darn fine paint from the finest spray nozzle I have ever seen. The particles are so small the overspray looks like fog.

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John "Lemosteam" LeMerise

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Posted - 2011 December 03 :  06:35:57 AM  Show Profile
I add refer white to Floquil Engine Black .

Richie Dost Photos

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Posted - 2011 December 03 :  07:30:52 AM  Show Profile
Here are two approaches;

The first is a locomotive painted engine black and then weathered. It produces a kind of well used but maintained look.

The second was painted with grimy black which gives that faded, dusty, sitting out in the elements without a repaint look.

I believe if you are going to have a large steam roster, you need them both ways.

Andrew Hegstad

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Posted - 2011 December 03 :  08:31:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit dkruse's Homepage
I'm a modern diesel Union Pacific guy, but man, those weathered steam engines are magnificent! Hats off to you guys!!!

Edited by - dkruse on 2011 December 03 08:32:27 AM

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Posted - 2011 December 03 :  09:25:43 AM  Show Profile
I always favored Grimy Black with a dry brush Graphite smoke box.

Summerset Ry.

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Roger Perkins

Posted - 2011 December 03 :  10:34:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Roger Perkins's Homepage
I prefer the Polly S engine black for steam engines.

I have also used it solely on a tender to paint over rather than remove roadname decaling to reletter with other decals.

Engines did move from one railroad to another in the course of their working life. As far as I can determine, they did not get a total new paint job, just paint out and reletter.

I would suggest that you get both weathered and engine black Polly S paints and simply paint some scrap styrene with both to see how it looks in your layout room under that lighting.

Tarnished black is too grey IMHO, but is great for aged asphalt roads and parking lots.

Edited by - Roger Perkins on 2011 December 03 10:36:51 AM

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Posted - 2011 December 03 :  11:04:51 AM  Show Profile
As Roger mentioned, PolyScale Steam Power Black is my choice. I played around with grimy black, engine black and everything in between and the Steam Power Black is the most consistant.

I don't like Gray loco's. I think it is an artifact of looking at too many black and white photo's with the contrast tweaked to make details visible. The real steam loco's I have seen, both active and dormant are not that gray and for the most part, until the very end of their life, loco's were well maintained and wiped down with an oil cloth between runs. The gray appearance in photo's is from bright sunlight which we generally don't have.

My suggestion:

Steam Power Black for the primary color.
Neo Lube for graphited smoke box, firebox and valve gear.
Dry brush Grimy Black / Concrete for dried water stains.
Dry brush Rust for well, rust.
Light airbrush of custom light gray / concrete for final dirtying.

Dull coat entire model

Combinations of Oily Black, Gloss Black, Clear Gloss afterward for oil and water leaks.

This loco is the same color as the one above, but the photo was taken outside in bright sunlight......

Again, Steam Power Black taken inside this time.

Tony H

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