Weathering Bachmann VDA Vans


In this article, we will show a method of weathering Bachmann VDA vans.

It is important to note that best weathering results can only be achieved by using colour photos of the prototype as reference material. For that purpose, we recommend Paul Bartlett's excellent wagon photo website. Without photos, there is a risk of modelling what you think you see rather than what you actually see and that is nearly always incorrect.
The wagons in this article have had their 'bogies' fixed solid, chain couplings and air-pipes fitted.

Getting Started

VDA vans are notorious for the grease stain below each door latch and the door hinges. To represent this effect, we use the technique of dry-brushing - basically using a tiny dap of paint which is insufficient to create coverage but enough to stain the brush so that when rubbed on the model, it creates a mark:

Note that due to gravity and the effects of weather, the grease starts on the latches or hinges and washes down the side of the vehicle.
Different effects can be achieved by using different levels of thickness of the paint - in this case, Humbrol 33 Matt Black. A light touching can be used for light effects and heavier black for heavier weathering. Paul Bartlett's web site is your friend for determining how the prototype appears.

Bodywork Weathering

The models were then air brushed using a mix of Tamiya XF-1 Matt Black and Humbrol 113 Matt Rust - I have given up on Humbrol Matt black because the mix seems to have changed in recent years and it has become very difficult to make it go matt, regardless of the amount of mixing. It also seems to react with some plastics in ways that it never used to and this seems to cause it to go gloss a few weeks after it was applied and had gone matt.

Air brushing was done using an up and down movement starting below the wagon and moving up the sides.
In real life, weathering either comes up from the track or down from the sky. In the UK, this tends to mean brown tones work up the sides and grey/black tones come down. This does vary with country and location, especially industrial areas - colour photos should be referenced.

The grey/red was a more recent livery and thi scontributed to it appearing to be less weathered than the earlier brown livery, however, some vans can be observed in a neglected state on Paul Bartlett's web site.
The brown vans tended to become very brown in recent years.

The following images show the results of airbrushing to different levels on different vans. The roofs were air brushed in Humbrol 67 Matt Tank Grey with Carr's Powders subsequently worked in to give variation.
Some well-known people in the hobby decry powders as a weathering technique and swear by air-brushing only. Personally, I believe that there is a place for both and that they should be used together because air-brushing can look like...well, air-brushing with no texture. Powders give the extra texture and tonal variations which is what weathering is all about.

This Bachmann VDA has light weathering around the door latches and hinges. The chassis is lightly weathered. Air pipes and chain couplings are fitted.
This Bachmann VDA has overall medium level weathering. The chassis is more heavily weathered. Air pipes and chain couplings are fitted.
This Bachmann VBA has overall fairly heavy weathering. Air pipes and chain couplings are fitted.
This Bachmann VGA has very light weathering. At the 1984 time period this model is representing, these were only a few years old and hadn't had an opportunity to become significantly weathered. Air pipes and chain couplings are fitted.
A medium weathered Bachman VAA. Air pipes and chain couplings are fitted.
A heavily weathered Bachmann COV(AB) in brown livery. By the 1984 time period this model is representing, these vehicles had become heavily weathered.

Graham Plowman (5/12/2013)

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