By Clem Harris
I was asked by Shane Mason to review Paint & Detail Railroad Models with Scott Lupia. I have to admit that this is my first review of a book, so don’t beat me up too badly here. I am a detail-oriented, weathering guy who enjoys N scale and who railroads for a living. I am always looking for new ideas and techniques for weathering and expanding the boundaries of detail work. I do enjoy reading up on what others are doing in the many other scales; so many of the practices in plastic work or paint and weathering are nearly universal in all scales. I have one minor point of contention with the advice offered. Many of the paints mentioned are Polly Scale paints. This could be a source of frustration for a new modeler wanting to try out the paint and weathering mentioned within the pages of this publication. For the modeler who has a stash of Polly Scale still, carry on.
White River’s Paint & Detail Railroad Models opens with, “You can paint and detail models.” That resonates with me for all the reasons Scott mentions, from the emotional attachment to the sights and sounds of railroading in our memories to just capturing a fading memory of a trackside scene in model form. For many in the hobby, plastic work, super-detail work, and weathering can be deemed as unobtanium. The introduction lays a solid foundation of what’s needed to complete similar projects in HO-, HOn3-, and N-scale. Scott reiterates through the introduction that this work is something that you can do. The most modern of equipment shown is in the introduction. The addition of a modern-day paint or weathering project would do well to draw the up-and-coming generation into the book.
The second chapter was by far my favorite of the mix. It goes into detail how to model the often unseen and yet most celebrated part of a locomotive, the inner workings of the car body. The first picture in this chapter shows a host of railroad roundhouse forces trying to ascertain what’s happened to a former Penn Central GP9. Their mechanical plight is as real as railroading itself. This chapter dives into the details of how each long-hood door was opened and the needed research at a local short line to perfect the appearance of the model. The addition of the cab interior detail pieces brought back the sights, sounds, and smells that I remember from my early days on a short line. Having participated in many a 92-day inspection, the air filters on the car body doors were a superb touch and reflect an amazing level of attention to detail.
ABOVE: Excellent images turn the text from words into tangible scenes that bring the concepts and guidance to life. Seeing how things are done is equally important to reading how to do something. There are two N-scale caboose builds and the book includes an incredible build of Seaboard Coast Line early E6 diesel locomotives (finished model shown on cover) with brass-etched details making them showstoppers.
Chapters 3 and 6 focus on building caboose kits. I’ll lump them together for the sake of time. Both kits were done well. While the core for each kit was produced by a different company, the instructions and kits were remarkably similar in construction. Both cabooses were painted, decaled, and weathered to match the desired era and appearance. The minor variation in the kits that did jump out at me was the wood-sheathed Lackawanna caboose. The paint technique mentioned here that was a valuable nugget for those building wood kits was to spray Krylon’s Crystal Clear varnish to prevent the wooden caboose sides from warping when they’re painted or glued.
Chapters 4, 9, and 12 talk about building SP-10, a one-off Rail Diesel Car owned by Southern Pacific, detailing an Erie Lackawanna Geep, and Susquehanna RS-1. There is discussion of the history of the prototypes. There is a thorough description of how to cut Southern Pacific-prototype number boards into the roof and how to take extra care to maintain the original finish of the model. This is a trick I will be using on my next kitbashing project. The Geep continues with tried-and-true methods of plastic work and the addition of detail parts to get the desired look. The Susquehanna RS-1 project continued this discussion. The weathering on the completed RS-1 models were top notch.
Chapter 5 and 7 are about heavily kitbashing N-scale models to get a more precise model to represent the desired version from the era when railroads dictated small, yet critical component changes that altered the appearance of their locomotives. Chapter 5 is all about building a litter of Lehigh Valley switchers used in drag freight service and how to make the model more realistic with the addition of dynamic brakes in N scale. Care is given to explain the process and how the author arrived at a final finished model. Chapter 7 takes a similar path to model a Lackawanna U-Boat…
Softbound, 128 pages
White River Productions
P.O. Box 48
Bucklin, MO 64631