Well hello, you’ve found the first post on the blog. It’s probably a pathetically obvious thing to do – and I don’t really want to perpetuate the notion that the real ‘Windcutters’ were only composed of 16 ton mineral wagons – but in all honesty, there was probably no better wagon type with which to start things rolling here.
The example in question is based on a Bachmann RTR model; nothing exceptional in that, as I’ve got far more of them than is strictly good for me. This one though is quite topical, in that it uses the first credible factory weathered issue (catalogue number 37 377F) as a basis. The rust on this is actually quite convincing in shade and shape, and the flakes are evidently applied through a mask, rather than previous efforts which have essentially been little more than a waft of earth coloured paint over the lower quarters.
As is my usual practice, I overpainted the base livery with a lighter grey as the one that Bachmann use is quite dark. It’s not necessarily wrong – the shades used by BR did vary widely and I’m not that well qualified to comment on matters that were developing whilst I was a toddler – but I think the darker shade is probably more appropriate for 1950s applications and even then, it wouldn’t have been applied anything like universally. Anyhoo, finding a more typical grey isn’t actually that easy and after some experimentation I’ve settled on Revell #76. It’s light enough, darkens slightly with a wash and also has a pleasing bluey tinge in some light, and it’s also a fairly close match for the plastic that most of the Airfix 16T kits are moulded in.
Obviously in this case the #76 had to be applied pretty carefully, trying to preserve the best bits of the factory flakes. If you happen to have an out-of-the-box one to hand, you’ll be able to recognise which they are. The additions consist of assorted flecks, scrapes and smears, applied with a fine brush and/or worked with cotton buds, and blended into the existing patches. A limited amount of work was done with gouache, notably the scabby patch to the side of the number and the streaks from the right hand top corner. The model has also been renumbered in a hybrid style typical of the mid/late 1960s, it could still do with the lettering toning down slightly as well as the odd bit of touching in here and there.
Was it a worthwhile exercise, and would I buy more? Yes, and probably a qualified no; it’s always satisfying improving something, and it was a challenge thinking how best to build on the better parts of the factory finish, but had this model not existed, I could easily have produced those larger flakes myself. All in all though, it’s a model that will either happily stand alone or conversely, one that won’t stand out in a rake, and that basically is the object of the exercise.