Naked & Unloved


I thought I would return to O Gauge & some different techniques. So the next item up in the workshop is a 5 plank wagon in a plain wood finish.

From the box this wagon looks pristine & has a satin/shiny look about it, so the aim is to give this piece of rolling stock a very unloved and undecorated appearance.



I am going to use the Sparmax MAX-4 and the Neo CN for Iwata for this exercise & a few flat brushes of varying sizes.


I have used various enamels by Phoenix paints & acrylics by Lifecolor as well as Model Mates dyes. Washes & powders are by MIG.

A little on the subject of mixing paint, I use cellulose to thin enamel paint, but thinners is fine and preferable for use with varnish, mixing is achieved by use of either a metal stirrer by hand or an electric one produced by Badger, in both cases I add the paint to my mixing jar and then thin the solution until I can get 2 drops off the end of my stirring device, the consistency has been likened to “green top milk” in the past.

In the interests of safety please always remember to wear a face mask when spraying, even if you are outside.


Items Used

Sparmax MAX-4, Neo for Iwata CN

Phoenix Paints – Frame Dirt, Sleeper Grime, Matt Varnish to start & finish (#P960, #P961, #PV82). Humbrol Matt Black #33

Mig Washes – Oil & Grease Mixture, Dark Wash, Brown Wash. – These are now difficult to come by but the Wilder range is comparable.

Model Mates – Rust liquid.

Mig / Wilder Powders – Various rust shades.

Good quality flat brushes - Royal 10 Sable Brushes Set SVP6



The airbrush company: tel. +44 (0)1903 767 800.

Eileens Emporium: tel. +44 (0)1531 828009.

Both of the above can supply Sparmax, Neo and Iwata airbrushes & / or compressors and are highly recommended.

Phoenix Paints: tel. +44 (0) 1268 730549.

Humbrol, and MIG / Wilder products can be found at good model shops or at suppliers I have used in the past who offer a good reliable service:

The airbrush company: tel. +44 (0)1903 767 800.

SnM stuff: tel. +44 (0)1252 540 894.

Creative Models: tel. +44 (0) 1354 760022.

Curtiswardlimited: Suppliers of paintbrushes via a well know auction site.

If you are a model railway show attendee Eileens Emporium, Phoenix Paints and Hobby Holidays (who stock MIG and all sorts of weathering and painting equipment) are regular participants at shows throughout the year.


1) The wagon straight out of the box, very clean with a satin finish.


2) The finished wagon as a comparison with the airbrushes used.

3) After a coat of matt enamel varnish, only a subtle difference but the matt finish will help the others items to adhere to the model.


4) The paint mix for the frames was Phoenix Frame Dirt with a touch of Sleeper Grime to add variation in tone. I got in close with the Sparmax to ensure a good covering & rotated the wheels to ensure they were covered.

5) The weathered wood set from Lifecolor, a first for me as I do not usually work with acrylic paint but I was impressed with the coverage. Remember to work fast as they dry very quickly.

6/6a) The base acrylic colour (warm base colour) has been brushed onto the bare plank sides & interior, any overspill onto the black metal fittings was removed with a cotton bud. At this stage a wash of oil & grease mixture was added to the buffers.

7/7a) The remaining 5 colours from the wood weathering set have been used to add tonal variation. These were again brushed on ensuring the brush strokes followed the direction of the planking. The metal work was then picked out with a small brush with thinned Humbrol matt black. The wagon was then given another coat of varnish, using the Sparmax to seal everything.

Please note as acrylics have been used an acrylic or water based varnish MUST be used at this stage as the thinners in an enamel varnish will soften the previous paint layer.


8/8a) Once the varnish had dried the wagon was given a wash of MIG Dark Wash ensuring the corners of the interior were covered to create shadows. The metal work was then submitted to a coat of Model Mates rust pigment which was removed with a cotton bud so that it remained around the bolts, chains & crevices of the model.

9/9a) Once dry several shades of Mig Rust weathering powder were applied to the metal work & underframes. Pigment fixer was then sprayed over these areas to fix the powders in place.

10/10a) The planking & the interior was then given a light blow over, again using the Neo, of Phoenix weathered wood, thus giving an aged effect.

11) The frames were then misted over with Humbrol matt black, using the Neo, to bring all the colours together.


Once all is dry and the paint has hardened, I usually allow 24 hours, the wagon is given a complete coat of matt varnish using the Sparmax. Please note that Phoenix varnish should always be diluted with Varnish Thinners to achieve the best results, however it can be purchased ready thinned for spraying.

Once the varnish has hardened the wagon is checked for flaws and if found rectified, here the Neo scores well as the cup size is interchangeable, and the wheel treads are cleaned.

12/12a/12b) Job done!