model buildings

 

 

NOTE: Every model building shown on this website is available instantly by download. Each one is photograpic in look so closely resembles real prototype buildings. They look so real they won't actually need additioal detailing or weathering. You simply download the PDF plans, print, and construct them. The purpose of this article is to assist anyone who might want to add weathering or detailing to plastic models or rolling stock.

How To Use Airbrushing To Add Realism
To Plastic Model Train Kits

Airbrushing is an art worth learning. When mastered the technique can be used in various ways on a model railroad layout. It is particularly useful for taking away the fake plastic look from plastic model train kits which can look very unreal without some work to age and rough them up. Although the detailing on the more expensive plastic kits can be very good, they often still have the appearance of just being unpacked from the boxing. That's where airbrushing can come into play. With some work the plastic kitset can be made to look real.

The following are some techniques and tips to help you get started using an airbrush without making to many mistakes.

Airbrush paint such as Floquil or Polyscale brands can either be thinned or be applied at full strength using the airbrush mixture control to adjust the paint density. Airbrushing is certainly a skill worth mastering before going to work on your favorite trains or structures, so find something to practice on. Old kits, cardboard, or even small wood planks, can be used to master the control of the airbrush and the mixture dispensing. 

You can also paint some incredibly fine detail using an airbrush. Water based acrylic paints or inks are best. If you also use a water-based paint, you can wipe (or wash off) what you’ve done and begin over again if you don’t like the effect. airbrush structures

Start with light strokes with the mixture set to release at a very fine spray. Thin layers are the key to good airbrushing – it’s easier to go over an area multiple times to get a darker coat, rather than trying to thickly paint that effect all at once. It’s also easier to blend the colors together. Although water based paints will dry up quicker inside the airbrush internal mechanism, they are also easier to wash out making it easier to clean the airbrush after use.
 
PLEASE NOTE: Each and every model railroad building depicted on this website can be downloaded and printed on paper or card. These printable model train kits are NOT plastic. They are extremely strong after construction and won't require any weathering, or for that matter, detailing. The hard work has already been completed for you. Just download them, print them on paper, stick them to card or foam board, and then assemble them. You can add additional strengthening if you choose, but most modelers don't bother as they are especially strong and sturdy.

low relief buildings

Low Relief Buildings - Pack B

Airbrushing is a great technique if you plan on doing a lot of weathering on rolling stock over a short time. You can achieve a basic weathering effect on a several cars with each pass of the airbrush. You can then concentrate on adding more detail over time. Having so much control with an airbrush makes locomotive detailing one of the better applications. An airbrush is a perfect tool for creating exhaust marks, signs of heat damage, road grime, grease effects, and rust marks. Railroads with realistic detailing will stand out from the rest.

Airbrushing is a fine art technique that is perfect for weathering tracks and rails. Start out applying full strength rust brown to paint the rails. You can then paint on some oil streaks on the ties between the rails to show fuel spillage and lubricant drips from the railroads rolling stock.
An airbrush is also ideal for scenery highlights on rock outcroppings, or for subtle shading effects. Both can be achieved with a great deal of precision.

When weathering a structure or trains, don’t forget to weather the roof of the object. After all, it is the roof that really takes a beating from weather extremes. Boxcar and locomotive roofs (and hoods) don’t stay the original color for very long when they are in service. Rust and grime gets deposited almost immediately from the airflow over the car. On buildings, the alternation from hot sunshine, to rain, and to wind and snow begins to break down the surface material fairly quickly as well. A building with a roof a few years old will typically show some rust and dirt streaks which can be applied very easily using an airbrush.

If you do a Google images search for pictures of model railroad layouts, you will see that the most realistic of these use extensive weathering of nearly every object on the layout. However that said; you don’t want to over weather, and you won’t want to overlook weathering the automobiles on your railroad. It would look very strange to have a city street filled with cars that look as if they just emerged from the dealership or showroom? The same goes for trains - trains (regardless of the scale) shouldn't always look brand new. Well, let me clarify; one or two reasonably new looking trains might look okay on a railroad, but not all the trains. On real railroads most of the trains are a few years old and covered in soot and grime.

model train kits

Freight Depot

 warehouse or farm building

Farm Building

large engine shed

Locomotive Workshop

 
series 1 - model railroad buildings  

series2 - model railway buildings