I had to watch an hour-long video for one of my classes today. It was material I'd already been over, so naturally my eyes glazed over after about 10 minutes. However, I did have a quartet of Atlas 55-Ton hoppers, three fish bellies and an offset side to be exact, that needed new coal loads. So don;t tell my professor this, but I was weathering these bad boys while the video played.
Anyway, after removing the trucks and couplers, I started things off with a coat of weather wash (a few drops of India Ink added to a bottle of 70% rubbing alcohol). Once that dried, I applied the first round of Dulcote. For my next trick I took some black, white brown and gray chalks and mixed them together to create the perfect grime and soot mixture. I brushed it on liberally before sealing it with a final coat of Dulcote.
With these hoppers, weathering is only half the job. See, I've never liked the look of the plastic coal loads that come with them. They don;t look like coal; they look like molded plastic. However, there's an easy fix, which I'll explain here:
- Use an Exacto knife to gently pry each load from the hopper.
- Take the coal load and brush on a coat of Matte Medium. This can be obtained Michael's or Hobby Lobby.
- Place the loads on a sheet of office paper then take some Creatology black and (also available at Michael's) and dump it over the load.
- Pick up the load and turn it upside down so whatever didn't stick falls off.
- Put the load back in the car and you're done. Dump whatever sand didn't stick back into the jar for later use.
It honestly took me longer to type up those steps then it did to actually execute them. This also works very well for steam locomotive tenders.
Here's a video I made to demonstrate my coal load making: