Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Pennsylvania Railroad FM Flat Car Modeling - Part 2

Left side of the finished model. Note the reweigh and repack stencils
Picking up from Part 1 of modeling the PRR FM flat car

The previous installment showed the model after it had been primed. Prior to priming, I blasted the grab irons, towing loops, brake rods, brake staff and hand wheel, Carmer cut levers, truck sideframes, wheelsets, and any other metal or engineering plastic surfaces I am forgetting to list here. I washed the model with liquid dish soap and a soft toothbrush, followed by a thorough rinsing and air drying.

I airbrushed the model using Tru-Color Rust to represent PRR’s distinctive orange-red oxide freight car paint. All surfaces were sprayed this color, except for the deck. I airbrushed the deck with Tamiya’s XF-59 Desert Yellow, a good base “wood” color to serve as the foundation for my weathering efforts.
After decaling and adding a flat coat, several areas were masked prior to weathering (see text for description)
Tru-Color paints dry to a glossy finish conducive to decaling. I lettered the model using Speedwitch set D175 for PRR FM flat cars and DD1-A containers. Walters Solvaset was applied to help the decals conform to surface details. The decals were sealed with a coat of Future floor wax/polish followed by an application of Tamiya XF-86 clear flat.

Before weathering the model, I applied small pieces of masking tape to the places where I would add reweigh, repack, and brake test stencils. This served to keep those areas “clean” when the rest of the model was weathered.

Both sides of the car after the first "coat" of weathering with PanPastels Extra Dark Payne's Grey, which was sealed with clear flat coat, followed by the addition of load limit, light weight, and reweigh location and date stencils, as well as chalkmarks, followed by an another coat of clear flat
I began weathering the car with PanPastel Payne's Grey Extra Dark (840.1) powder, sealed with the Tamiya clear flat. I like that the Payne's Grey is blackish with a noticeable blue tint. I then removed the masking tape covering the reweigh location and date, load limit, and light weight (re)stencils. With a brush, I applied a small amount of Future over the clean reweigh paint patches, as well as in a few locations on the car side. I added the reweigh, date, load limit, and light weight updated stencils as well as a few chalkmarks in places where I had added Future. These were then sealed with Tamiya clear flat.
The right side of the car after the second "coat" of weathering (PanPastel Raw Umber), another coat of clear flat, and removal of the masking tape from the brake test and repack locations (these are the two "clean" rectangles)
I added a second round of weathering using PanPastel Raw Umber Shade (780.3) powder, which is basically brown. I sealed that with Tamiya clear flat. I removed the masking tape from the repack and brake test locations and with a brush, added Future to those clean paint patches, as well as to a few locations for chalkmarks. I applied the appropriate decals and once again, sealed everything with the Tamiya clear flat. I brushed on one more light application of PanPastel powder, followed by Tamiya clear flat. I created one more “splotch” of Future and one additional clean chalkmark decal. Everything was sealed with Tamiya clear flat.

On the trucks, I highlighted the springs and journal box lids with a brown colored pencil. On both the sideframes and wheelsets, I used Bragdon's black weathering powder. It is more dense in coverage than the PanPastel offerings. This is perfect since I want the trucks to appear more weathered than the car body.
The "unweathered" deck, painted Tamiya Desert Yellow over the primer coat
One note that I neglected to mention in the first post of this project: I notched and trimmed the edges of several boards to create a more random appearance. I weathered the deck in progressive steps. First, I ran a stiff wire brush across the boards, using strokes parallel to the boards. This “mixed” the Desert Yellow and gray undercoat. It also created a glossy finish. To eliminate that, a coat of Tamiya clear flat was applied, coordinated with one of the clear flat applications to the car body.
The deck after using a stiff wire brush
I switched to oil paints and applied streaks of varying intensities to boards to create a random appearance. I used White, Payne's Grey, and Raw Umber. Any areas that looked too stark were okay, as the boards would be blended further with powders. I used mineral spirits to thin the oils. Streaks were applied parallel to the deck boards. The oils were sealed with the trusty Tamiya clear flat.
Artists oils were used to create some streaks of varying strength/intensity
Finally, I applied powders to blend the oils somewhat, PanPastel Extra Dark Payne's Grey followed by Raw Umber. Another flat coat was applied to complete this step.
Right side of the finished model. Like the photo at the top of this post, note the reweigh and repack stencils, but also the brake test stencils.
At this point, I affixed the deck to the car body with Goo diluted 50/50 with MEK to tack it in place. I applied ACC in key places from the underside to secure the deck. 
The finished model with the deck visible, as well. 
I added the ratchet and pawl and hand brake to the deck (note that on the prototype [see photo] there was a U-shaped strap mounted to the end sill that served as a "pivot point" for the hand brake shaft; this U-shaped part was not modeled). These parts were “pre-weathered” before addition to the car. Lastly, I brushed on a very dilute wash of Tamiya flat black paint, applied with a brush, as a final weathering step.

I have found an interesting load for this rather light, but attractive model. More details to follow. Stay tuned for a build of the Sunshine Models B&O P11 version of this car, too.


  1. Perfect timing. I have 6 Tichy flat cars on the bench almost heady for the paint booth. Have been contemplating the deck process. Looks like you cleared that up for me


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