1" = 1" Scale Weathering
The other day I saw some kids weathering a real covered hopper. Yeah, they were airbrushing a full size, 1" equals 1" scale, freight car. As much as I hate graffiti in real life I know that I have to model it if I want an accurate depiction of the subject. I guess that this fact makes weathering the proper place to discuss graffiti.
Before weathering any car you must first apply any graffiti. Graffiti can either be from decals or hand made. When I first tried the decals I made a few mistakes. The biggest being that decals with straight edges are meant to line up with the bottom and side edges of the car. If you don't line them up them they look fake.
Hand painted tags are nice too but can be more difficult to create. Practice a few times on a piece of paper until you get a design that you like. Use an extra fine point permanent marker to represent a single stream of spray from a can of spray paint or a paint pin. Use fine point paint pins to make more elaborate designs.
I did some research on the web and found some prototype pictures of graffiti which was found on railcars. There are 4 types: scribble, doodles, gang tags, and urban masterpieces. Scribbles are where someone just randomly writes a word or two such as a sports team or musical act or a profanity. A doodle is a simple cartoon like drawing. These are usually a tagger's moniker. They leave their same mark everywhere. This type of graffiti is the classic old hobo style that's been around for centuries. Next is the gang tags. Gang members spray their mark on everything that enters their turf if they get half a chance. It is usually the name of their street or neighborhood. Much of the time you can't tell what it says as the letters usually seem to be written by someone who missed elementary school. Last is the guys who are actually very talented artists. They take a freight car and turn it into a moving mural.
Like I said before, I am totally against graffiti in the real world. However it is there so we should try to model it. Not all of the cars get tagged. It's mostly older ones. This shows that they have been around a longer time.
I have a holiday theme to the railroad and I thought that some billboard cars which had holiday themes would be nice. The more I thought about it the less I like the idea because these cars were from the wrong era. Modern cars tend to be boring looking because the the billboard dilemma which took advertising off of railcars. I didn't know what to do until I saw a couple of real freight cars that had been painted to holiday themes. This was my answer, graffiti. I guess there really is a prototype for everything.
For a little humor, Tex smoking on a tank car full of oil.
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