Saturday, 11 December 2021

Caustic Soda Tank Car

 Friend Luc asked recently if I would be interested in weathering this Atlas model Caustic Soda tank car for him, and sent me photos to use as examples of how much weathering he wanted on the car.  I'm not crazy about having to do weathering on white cars, but this one kind of caught my interest, so...

Below is the prototype photo that I was sent:

Sorry, I don't know who took the photo, but credit to that person. I looked for it on , but it wasn't on that site.

And so here's the model...

The "before" photo

I mixed Craftsmart brand acrylic paints "Espresso" and "Light Yellow" and thinned the mixture with ordinary tap water.  Yes, the colour change is subtle, but it's way easier to add more colour later if necessary than it is to take it off.

Showing a bit of wear on the area around the top hatch.  This was done with a little flat black sprayed in that area of the car, and then a little bit of burnt sienna and burnt umber artist oil colours is stippled on top of that.

This view shows the other side of the tank car.  The rust blisters and accompanying streaks are also done using the burnt sienna and burnt umber.

The model had the reflective stripes painted on at the factory.  I put Smokebox Graphics stripes over top of the originals, but (oddly) they are just about 1/32" shorter than those painted-on ones.

Here's a really short YouTube video from Boomer Dioramas.  The CN engine looks great, but it's the industrial building that really caught my eye.


  1. Nicely done! The only class of freight car on my layout I don't have weathered is tank cars, because I don't think you can accurately weather them without an airbrush.

  2. Thanks very much for commenting. I think that this particular tank car turned out really nicely. The yellow/brown doesn't really show particularly well in the pictures though. It's actually just a little bit darker than it looks. As for the airbrushing, my worst problem with it sometimes is not stopping soon enough. I have to almost force myself to stop before I do too much. That's why I thin the paints down quite a bit when doing the fading or colour transitioning like this car has.


  3. Well, you nailed it here. Not every car has to be a rust bucket (even if there is a prototype picture for one). A "middle of the road" weathering job is more believable for cars that are constantly visible (like on our layouts).