by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Originally published on:
BRAGDON ENTERPRISES Weather System Model Aging Products
Many modelers do not think a model is complete unless it simulates the wear, tear, and weathering the prototype would show. A common practice to achieve this effect is the use of washes; this method can be convincing but ultimately it is only a 2-dimensional illusion without texture (see the Wash Techniques link below for examples). Many modelers mix talc with paint to give it texture but that is still only a simulation. This 16-color Rust & Weather kit of BRAGDON ENTERPRISES Weather System series equips you with 16 powders that allow you to simulate practically any finish desired with the gritty real elements! As stated on the Bragdon Enterprise website:
This weathering powder will adhere to any non-glossy surface. It is NOT chalk. One quick step gives a very realistic rusty, dusty or sooty surface - instantly. No drying or curing is necessary. Use sparingly; a little goes a long way. This product is made from real rust and other weathering agents that have been ball milled to a particle size over 100 times finer than chalk and blended with a pressure sensitive, dry adhesive. Self adhesive to most surfaces. Nonmagnetic and Nontoxic.
Bragdon Enterprise offers several kits containing 4, 12 and 16 powders. The four-color kits offer two measures of powder: ½ oz and 2 oz.
Weather System 16-Color Rust & Weather Kit
In this master WEATHER SYSTEM set are ½ oz resealable packets of all 16 weathering powders issued by Bragdon Enterprises, and a comprehensive instruction sheet. The colors are:
Dark Rail Brown
Dust Bowl Brown
Lime Mortar White
An 18-compartment clear plastic divider work box with a lid neatly holds them and provides a pair of mixing compartments. All of the colors can be mixed with any of the others to create a much broader palette.
Most of the colors are obvious. However, some may need clarification. Many freight cars, motor vehicles and structures are painted blue, green, or yellow. The Blues, Green Grunge, and Old Yeller will tone down the new paint look without significantly altering the color. This simulates sun oxidized paint.
This Rust & Weather Kit demonstration uses five subjects: a truck with a painted cab and glossy molded tank, a custom painted boxcar, two factory decorated billboard reefers, and a wooden shed. Because these powders are not meant to be used on smooth glossy plastic I sprayed the truck with a coat of Polly Scale flat finish.
The powders were applied with a stiff bristle brush and an acrylic brush. All models were scrubbed with the powders to set the pressure sensitive dry adhesive. These powders are so fine that the scrubbing sends currents of particles upwards in the air warmed by my work light. Though advertised as nontoxic, I donned a dust mask and work goggles. Later I noticed my hair was sticky, so I started wearing a hood.
The powders adhered very well. No sealant was used. Bragdon Enterprises suggests sealing a model you expect to handle frequently. With these demonstrations, I did not notice powder rubbing off by my fingers. Quite a bit loose powder shook off though, and I poured it back into the respective packet. These powders also mix well in water for a fine wash. These powders can also be applied to uncured paint for further effects.
The photographs show models before and after the applications. The one powder that did not produce a definite result is The Blues. Even after several layers I do not see any change to the blue of the Oppenheimer Casing Co. reefer, nor can I tell any muting of the lettering. Old Yeller did an excellent job of taking off the sheen of a glue spill on the shed. Though the powders are not considered suitable for glossy finishes, notice how well the rust and weathered brown adhere to the glossy smooth deralin plastic trucks of the freight cars, and underframe of the Edelweiss reefer.
Nothing looks as good as the real thing, and these powders are finely-ground 'real things'! The Weather System powders work far better than any chalks I have tried. These powders are ultra-fine as advertised. They did not stick to the surfaces as readily as I feared they would, which allows more working time to build up layers of powder, to your taste. I suggest wearing respiratory and eye protection while using these powders, just as recommend doing so whenever using an airbrush. I appreciate the easy of use, ability to layer colors, and resilience of the powders to light handling. I am very impressed with this product.
...also produces cutting edge scenery technologies such as their Geodesic Foam Scenery(tm), latex rubber rock molds, FineScale Forest Products, and Forest in a Flash Products deciduous tree kits. Their catalog includes more than 150 items of scenery products. They provide consulting & project development for architectural and model projects. I attended their scenery clinic at the 2005 National Model Railroad Association National Convention and was astonished by how quickly they produced an impressive, realistic mountain scene with their products.