Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Raising the Standard

I've had this loco since around 2004 when it first appeared much celebrated from the Bachmann stable. One of the first things I did was to renumber it as Templecombe's (71H) Standard 4 2-6-4 tank No. 80043 and give it a quick blast with the airbrush to tone it down.

This loco is one of those great ones for an all weekender exhibition, it just runs on and on with no hassle and without the wheels treads building up with gunk even at the sweatiest and smelliest of toy chuffer shows. This is much like the real thing I imagine, back when steam was just hanging in there on Britain's worn out post-war railways.

Last weekend, I pulled the loco out of its box and came to the conclusion that the weathering has fallen behind my more recent projects that have moved beyond a simple blast with a mucky matt varnish concoction. Luckily this engine, which saw out its days on the Somerset & Dorset Line and withdrawn on 7 March 1966 was well photographed, so there is plenty of material to use as reference along with other members of the same class.

Something I did notice, and as a change from my other weathering jobs is the large amount of orange (rust?) which appeared around the front end and cylinders. The upper surfaces tended to get covered in quite a bit of ash, which I imagine looked worse if it hadn't rained for a bit. The rest of the loco would have that smeared oily 'Christmas Pudding' covering which can be easily replicated by dry-brushing on black metal-cote from Humbrol. A build-up of brake block dust from use on stopping services would tend to add a dusting of orange too along with corrosion.

We often despair at the state grubby state of engines in their latter years, but I have a hunch that the congealed oily coating protected the metal work from further corrosion, this allowing scrapped engines, many of which breathed salty air at Barry Scrapyard to survive just long enough to be spotted for preservation and then stored for even longer, almost forgotten at the end of sidings on heritage railways.

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