Using cosmetic applicators for weathering: When I asked my wife if we could walk through the cosmetic department at the local drugstore, she gave me a puzzled look. However, this part of the store is home to some fantastic weathering tools, including foam-tipped cosmetic applicators. I used the applicators to simulate rust and paint wear on this Athearn HO scale BNSF Ry. SW1000 diesel locomotive.
I started by spraying the entire model with the same thinned Polly Scale Reefer White. Since I needed to decal the model, I applied the same firm’s Clear Gloss. Once the locomotive was relettered, I sprayed the model with Clear Satin.
With the prep work out of the way, I brought out the cosmetic applicators. First, I dipped an applicator in Polly Scale Rust and blotted off most of the color on a paper towel, similar to drybrushing. Then I gently pressed the applicator to model, slowly building up the color. Once the Rust dried, I used the same method to apply Railroad Tie Brown. As with the artists’ oils, I left a thin halo of the first color to suggest fresh rust.
When studying prototype photos of BNSF 3612, I noticed splotchy patches of grime on the sills. Polly Scale Railroad Tie Brown and a cosmetic applicator was the perfect recipe for re-creating this look on the model.
You could also use this technique to add grime to the front and rear pilots of a locomotive, or soot stains on the exhaust stack.