Building A Passenger Station
by Jeff Junker
How can you make a standard out-of-the box model railroad kit look a little bit different than everyone else’s? And without doing any scratch building? And without taking too much time?
Custom paint it and then weather it.
Volunteering to demonstrate how to achieve this is the Atlas HO scale Passenger Station. Molded in a reddish brown and green, this kit has numerous pieces. A plus is that it goes together simply and with only a modicum of modeling skills. If you don’t paint it, you could assemble it in about 45 minutes. I opted to paint it. This added about 3 more hours to the project.
The inspiration for the paint scheme came from watching a two-month transformation of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, a building I pass on the way to work every morning.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House (on the corner of Broad and Orleans) used to be a typical white, stucco building. Renovations to the outside included adding plaster work to simulate railings, flower boxes, fake doors, and window embellishments. It was finished with a seven-color earth tone paint job. You have to see it; it’s worth the trip just to see what can be done with an aged building.
Back to the train station. The first thing I did was to mist a coat of flat light gray on all the parts while they were still on the sprue. The exception to this was the roof, which came molded in a blackish color I could work with.
Inspired by the color scheme of the above mentioned Steak House, I sprayed the wall section sprue with Testors Dark Tan. From here I switched to acrylic paint. I brushed the lapped siding part of the walls with a mixture of light brown and white.
Here’s where the weathering begins. I use the paint thinned with a touch of water. Sometimes it takes up to three coats to achieve the desired look. I wanted some of the dark tan undercoating to show through. The “chair rail” above the lapped siding and the windows were painted with the same color except a touch of yellow was added. The paint was thin enough so that some of the light gray primer showed through.
The fascia on the windows and the roof supports were painted with a mixture of white with enough green introduced to create a “mint” color.
I used two colors for the wash on the sides of the building: a light brown followed by a very, watery black. Then using vine charcoal, I dirtied the sides where I thought the most wear would occur. Green was misted to simulate algae.
The roof was washed with a white wash, using the roof on the house behind me as a guide. A more heavily pigmented wash was used around the areas defined by a line formed by the edge of the dormers to the gutter.
Photos by Phil Novak