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Sligo horsebox

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David Holman

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Here are some notes about my latest wagon for Arigna Town and the rather extensive weathering job I gave it. The model is of the Sligo Leitrim horsebox, actually a WLWR model, given to the SLNCR after their own was damaged in an accident. The Sligo’s van had been old, but the replacement was even older…

As with much of my stock, it begins with an Alphagraphix card kit, though as usual it is only used as a drawing. Bodywork is a plastikard shell, embellished with Evergreen strip. Running gear is made from whitemetal castings, supplied by Alphagraphix, while wheels are the usual Slaters, opened out to 34mm back to back, to suit Irish broad gauge in 7mm scale. The first photos show the completed model in primer – Halford’s automotive spray can – which was then brush painted in overall grey brown acrylic [using artists colours], as I wanted to simulated bare wood showing through old, faded, peeling top coat.


The Alphagraphix card kit shows the horsebox to be painted dark green, so next day a top coat of Humbrol dark matt green went on and this was then left to dry and harden for a couple of days. The next steps are largely copied from Martin Welch’s book ‘The Art of Weathering’ and involve using Humbrol Liquid Poly to partially dissolve the top coat and begin to expose the acrylic wood colour underneath. This is the clever bit, because we don’t want to put the base wood colour on top of the main coat – that is just not how it happens on the real thing…

The next pictures show the effect of the Liquid Poly on the top coat. Suggest you use your computer to zoom in on the surface and see how it has become crazed and cracked. As before, this then needs to be left to harden for a couple of days before the next steps.


Once hardened I then used a small flat screwdriver blade to scrape away at the crazed paint, exposing bare wood beneath. A glass fibre pencil was used in the same way to remove even more paint and therefore almost bare planks in places. Where metal strapping was exposed, this was later over painted with a mix of Humbrol grey, gunmetal and bauxite [64, 133, 53] – these colours also used on the underframe. The lettering went on before this – done by hand using a white gel pen, then a fine tipped orange marker on top. Again this got gentle treatment from the fibreglass pen to wear it down.

All of this work not only scrapes the paint back, it also fades it to a lighter shade, as per real life. The final act was to give the whole model a thorough dusting with weathering powders [Freestone Models], including the roof, which had earlier been painted in Precision roof dirt. Still need to add door handles, but hopefully the model now looks as it would have at the end of its working life – dirty, faded and rather worn out.






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Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the little donkey. Really impressive stuff as always david. Love the cracked plastic effect. I've noticed that plastic magic has a similar but harsher effect on acrylics which is interesting but not as effective as your methods above. Is there an award for IRM Highlight of the Year 2013?



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Thanks as ever for the positive comments.

A couple of folk have emailed wondering about the fact that the box was green, whereas Sligo livery was a red/brown [where it hadn't peeled off]. Truth is I did it green cos the Alphagraphix card kit is that colour. However, managed to find a note in Desmond Coakham's Broad Gauge Carriages [p91] which has a pic showing the box at Manorhamilton in 1959, prior to the final auction and it was indeed green, though very tatty. Always grateful for constructive criticism - it is the path to ever more accurate modelling. Here is another picture of the box, which hopefully highlights the peeling/worn paint better.DSCN0701.jpg

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.... Love the cracked plastic effect. I've noticed that plastic magic has a similar but harsher effect on acrylics which is interesting but not as effective as your methods above. ....


There'll be a lot of people trying David's methods now, as sales of Liquid Poly go through the roof!

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