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Tool Review
Rail Weathering Acryilcs
Rail Weathering, Matt finish colors for rail models and dioramas
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Rail Weathering
Item: CS20
Quantity: 6 x 22ml

Lifecolor, a division of Astromodel of Italy, continues to expand their huge selection of acrylic paints with Rail Weathering. This set of six colors features colors common to all countries and eras.

Rail Weathering set
Set CS20 arrives in an attractive flip-top cardboard box, with the six 22ml plastic bottles held in individual compartments. The bottle caps were molded with an internal rim which both provides a small palette cup as well as inhibits paint fouling the bottle cap thread.

These paints are made with very fine ground pigments. They have no noticeable odor. I find them to be thinner than other brands I am used to. Almost like a heavy wash; the two photos of the track diorama base show Sleeper (cross tie) Grime brushed directly from the bottle onto the primed resin. These paints do not seem to be formulated for one-pass brushing, rather for multiple passes or, most likely, airbrushing.

There are no instructions other than as printed on the back of the box, plus six color printed color chips. Lifecolor reminds us that these can be mixed with Tensocrom Medium to create washes and glazes.

This set includes:

UA 719 Frame Dirt
UA 720 Track Dirt
UA 721 Sleeper (cross tie) Grime
UA 722 Roof Dirt
UA 723 Weathered Black
UA 724 Brake Dust

What are those colors based upon? As the box indicates these colors were developed in partnership with Leslie Blades of Railway Models 4 U and The Airbrush Company, both in the UK, I presume these are common to the environment and component materials of the British railway system.

Frame Dirt can be applied to the frame of rolling stock, locomotives, built-up track components, lineside structures - anything that will have smut settle on it after being stirred up by a train.

Track Dirt is an interesting color. It is not as orange or tan as track colors by other paint companies, rather it has the unique maroon-umber that I have examined on many track components.

Sleeper (cross tie) Grime has an interesting brown-olive-gray that I find unique to heavily used railways.

The parallel track pieces show Track Dirt & Sleeper Grime in two light sources: indirect sun and outdoors shade.

Roof Dirt is an amalgamation of dirt and soot and every other particulate in the atmosphere.

Weathered Black is a dark charcoal gray with a green tint. It hearkens back to Grimy Black produced by Floquil for decades. When I have seen prototype black that could be represented by Weathered Black / Grimy Black it is more covered with soot and grime than faded by sun.

Brake Dust baffles me. I have not seen residue similar to this hue so I suspect it is unique to the eastern side of the Atlantic.

These paints were both airbrushed and hand brushed onto models of primed resin, wood, styrene, and electric train metal and plastic tracks.

Lifecolor instructs that for airbrushing, use low pressure. Not surprising they also recommend using their own thinner but state water will suffice. I sprayed them with my Aztec airbrush with a acrylic general purpose (black) nozzle. Air was supplied from both my 35 year-old Thomas diaphragm compressor (no excess pressure here!), as well as a reservoir with a regulator from which I used 12-15 psi. Each paint was shot straight from the bottle onto a smooth unprimed white card sample swatch. Each swatch is glossed with on the left side.

The airbrushed coverage was excellent. All six paints covered with complete opacity. None of the colors ran nor puddled. The paint dries to a flat luster. I tried to 'stretch' the paint by cutting it with both water and with Lifecolor's own thinner. Both worked to my satisfaction and regardless of which was used, the thinned paint continued to cover well.

Bristle brushing
Bristle brushing was fair to great depending on the color and surface; UA 721 Sleeper Grime and UA 723 Weathered Black worked like champs on wooden cross ties. As noted above I find them to be thinner than other brands I am used to, almost like a heavy wash. None of the colors left brushstrokes. None of the colors ran nor puddled.

Take note that none of the models shown have been overcoated with any matte finish. That's how flat these paints dry naturally.

Excellent! Due to the subjects I painted it is not practical to test it with tape. Instead I simple looked for nicks and scratches after normal handling. Results - no nicks or scratches.

Adhesion is awesome! The bottle design is great, as is the packaging. These paints cleaned easily with water.

The paints performed exceptionally well via airbrush. Lifecolor states they should be thinned with the brand thinner, which I also tested. Brushing is different from my experience with other acrylics yet I believe that these paints perform well with multiple coats.

Five of the colors are very common and similar to other railroad sets, yet UA 720 Track Dirt is a different hue that I greatly appreciate! UA 724 Brake Dust is a peculiar color.

All in all these are quality paints and I certainly recommend them.

Please tell retailers and vendors that you saw this review here - on RailRoadModeling.
Highs: Adhesion is awesome, as is coverage by airbrushing. Bottle design is great, as is the packaging. These paints cleaned easily with water.
Lows: Bristle brushing did not cover opaque with a single pass except upon real wood.
Verdict: These are quality paints that are an excellent basic set for a wide spectrum of railroad subjects.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: CS21
  Suggested Retail: 16.99
  Related Link: LifeColor Tensocrom Medium
  PUBLISHED: Aug 17, 2013

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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