Think I Could Charge People For This?

Hey guys I've been mulling over some stuff and I wanted to pitch a question.  One of my favorite activities in model railroading is weathering of locomotives and rolling stock.  I have weathered almost all of my personal collection and done many other cars for friends.  Multiple people have told me that I should weather cars as a side business, and that I should charge people for doing it.  My question is: Should I?  If so, any ideas how I would do it?  

I attached some pics of cars I've weathered with this post.  What do you think?

You can never have too many details on a layout!

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Original Post

I found weathering to a be a specific liking according to peoples taste. Now if someone sends you an engine lets say for you to weather in which you charge a service for and they don't end up liking the job what happens now? For sure you are not going to be paid for the service and second do you now have to replace the unit? I never encountered that but always thought about it. So what I do is just buy engines, dummies , rolling stock etc specifically for weathering and list them on ebay with a ton of pictures and if someone likes them they'll buy it. I can tell you that 95% of the times the items do get sold but you do you need to take some steps to protect the weathering from handling and give a instruction of handling sheet included in the box.

Considering most of the cars in the photos are mine yes I would say charge.

- Joe

Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters, METCA,

Independent Hi-Railers Eastern Division,

Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders,

Raritan River Chapter of the NRHS,

Black River Railroad Historical Trust

 http://raritanriver-rr.com/

http://www.blackriverrailroad.com/

 

 

"You're too young to remember the Raritan River!" -Told to me by a man at a train show.

Hotpressmugs posted:

I found weathering to a be a specific liking according to peoples taste. Now if someone sends you an engine lets say for you to weather in which you charge a service for and they don't end up liking the job what happens now? For sure you are not going to be paid for the service and second do you now have to replace the unit? I never encountered that but always thought about it. So what I do is just buy engines, dummies , rolling stock etc specifically for weathering and list them on ebay with a ton of pictures and if someone likes them they'll buy it. I can tell you that 95% of the times the items do get sold but you do you need to take some steps to protect the weathering from handling and give a instruction of handling sheet included in the box.

You have a very good point and I agree on what you're saying.  Usually when I weather something for a friend I ask them dozens of questions of what they're looking for in their engine.  I make it a point to NEVER just jump in on something that's not mine without asking the owner first.  What I usually do when I do it for people is have them come in or I send pics every now and then to ask what they think, that way they are involved in every step of the process.  

You can never have too many details on a layout!

Hotpressmugs posted:

I found weathering to a be a specific liking according to peoples taste. Now if someone sends you an engine lets say for you to weather in which you charge a service for and they don't end up liking the job what happens now? For sure you are not going to be paid for the service and second do you now have to replace the unit? I never encountered that but always thought about it. So what I do is just buy engines, dummies , rolling stock etc specifically for weathering and list them on ebay with a ton of pictures and if someone likes them they'll buy it. I can tell you that 95% of the times the items do get sold but you do you need to take some steps to protect the weathering from handling and give a instruction of handling sheet included in the box.

Sage advice indeed.

Another thing that I've learned from artist friends of mine is when you are taking commissions ALWAYS get paid in advance or else the person might perhaps just take the art and refuse to pay.  

You can never have too many details on a layout!

To me weathering beside a taste for some, also one doing it should consider the era they will have their weathered cars, engines running in. Living within a mile to 3 miles of many major railroads during the 50 and 60s cars and engines were still well taken care of and only one would see road grime and very little rusting except for the wheel sets on cars. During the early 80s is when we started to see less upkeep, graffiti start appearing on railcars and engines showing signs up less cleaning if at all. Company cars, mostly Tank cars, and covered hopper cars into the 21st century were still well maintained and cleaned each time they pulled back in. Before loading they were washed inside and outside and inspected. If they needed repainting, touch up, etc. it was noted and were put on list to be upgraded for repairs. During the 70s, to 21st century while also being involved with Terminals upgrade, the only tank cars we had come in which showed neglect and surface rust running down sides, ends, etc. were those that were carried Ammonia contents. Oil, home fuel, etc. showed mostly the effects of the elements, road grime and sun damage. It has only been the last decade that I have seen abused, and neglected cars on the road. Some of the cars, aged and weathered to the extremes, many companies I have worked for would never put their products into them. I've seen our company, terminals turn back hopper cars, tank cars, and boxcars that were damaged or showed neglect that weren't owned by us but rather rented.

Please note: this is only what I seen and saw in my areas and the engines and cars that came through on the rails I saw daily. Maybe in other areas, there were more weathered, and less upkeep coming and going.

You do very nice work.  Some are very realistically filthy; the Reading diesel is a classic.  If I had one of them and Mrs. RJR saw it, she'd probably wash it.

The answer to your basic question is not an easy one.  You want to help a friend, but at $0, you could be overwhelmed with "friends." If you decide to charge, the advice to get paid in advance is good advice.

I'm curious.  What is that loco 227 with the weird tender?

I never looked and should have before posting this but does OGR even have a weathering forum? I created on facebook for folks to post photos and discuss their techniques and materials used and such, hell I can talk about this for hours I guess because I enjoy doing it lol. Some advice I can offer from what I found is and others may agree or not but everyone will eventually find what works best for them is to start off with dull coating the piece. Then I use a combination of airbrushing with acrylic paints, dry powders, and real dirt and rust. The reason I dull coat first is that if I feel something looked a bit too much or a whoops is that I generally can wipe it off with some warm water. Then when finishing I hit it will dull coat again, but this time from a distance as to settle on and not run off your powders and such, mist it in the air and let it settle onto the train. This is one of my earlier pieces and still my favorite, you know what they say about your first lol.  Always will have a special place...

Oh and always protect windows and lights from being hit with the dull coat, tape them off.

cr1cr2cr3cr4cr5cr6

 

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Hotpressmugs posted:

I never looked and should have before posting this but does OGR even have a weathering forum? I created on facebook for folks to post photos and discuss their techniques and materials used and such, hell I can talk about this for hours I guess because I enjoy doing it lol. Some advice I can offer from what I found is and others may agree or not but everyone will eventually find what works best for them is to start off with dull coating the piece. Then I use a combination of airbrushing with acrylic paints, dry powders, and real dirt and rust. The reason I dull coat first is that if I feel something looked a bit too much or a whoops is that I generally can wipe it off with some warm water. Then when finishing I hit it will dull coat again, but this time from a distance as to settle on and not run off your powders and such, mist it in the air and let it settle onto the train. This is one of my earlier pieces and still my favorite, you know what they say about your first lol.  Always will have a special place...

Oh and always protect windows and lights from being hit with the dull coat, tape them off.

cr1cr2cr3cr4cr5cr6

 

I always used acrylic paint with a regular small brush just because that was what I had on hand and also I am paranoid about paint getting into the motors of the trains and screwing things up.  Especially on steam locomotives, since the shells can be a little difficult to remove and the motors can be more exposed.   TBH my one true fear in model railroading is removing shells of locomotives and poking around inside, due to the possibility of accidentally damaging something.  

You can never have too many details on a layout!

PR&NJRR posted:

I always used acrylic paint with a regular small brush just because that was what I had on hand and also I am paranoid about paint getting into the motors of the trains and screwing things up.  Especially on steam locomotives, since the shells can be a little difficult to remove and the motors can be more exposed.   TBH my one true fear in model railroading is removing shells of locomotives and poking around inside, due to the possibility of accidentally damaging something.  

Always do what you feel most comfortable with, a whole lot can be achieved without any removal just take your time in some of the prep work and taping more off. On diesels if you see in the Conrail  above I remove the shell and put a printed sticker in the cab between the engineers that has gauges and stuff on it just the dress the inside a bit. For the most part the removal aren't that bad and pretty straight forward, but like I said work in your comfort zone and eventually the zone will become bigger and bigger. It's model railroading and fun, your creativity is limitless and only limited to what you allow it to be. If you ever wish to discuss anything on this feel free to reach out to me, like I said I love this lol. My email is in my profile and we can talk via landline or now a days cell . 

 

Mike

For me, weathering, specifically engines and rolling stock, is what separates the toy train modeler from the hi-rail or scale modeler. Some guys fuss about the center rail and they say THAT makes it a toy train. Maybe so. But taking a layout as a whole, the biggest differentiator of the toy train look from the scale or hi-rail look is weathering. So I think charging the scale modeler for weathering service is valid. How much you can charge is another question. You'd have to experiment with weathered versus new look auctions on eBay.....or just advertise and see what the response is like. Lionel sold a factory-weathered N&W 611 J engine. And I suppose they also sold the non-weathered version. Was there a price difference between the two? I don't know my Lionel well enough to know.

Good luck!

Don Merz

Don M.

I think there are enough people out there who want weathered items that would be willing to pay for them and finding people isn't the easiest.  I have someone at York who I have promised to bring 5 locomotives to each show and we worked out a price that is fair to him and myself.  He always sends me pictures and we can go darker or dirtier if I feel that engine should be.  So far he's done 50+ steam and diesels. 

I would have examples to show a potential client of light, medium, and heavy weathering and they can pick what they prefer and they need to go into it knowing its going to vary somewhat but if they have a particular amount they want then they can specify.  I have never been disappointed once in my locomotives I have received.  If you hit me up in my profile I may even be willing to give you a try sometime to try out some rolling stock.  If the price is reasonable I am all for weathering but some people charge themselves right out of the market or at least my market.  I think if you get a few customers you'll find if they like your work they will continue to weather their stuff.  To me weathering is what makes the locomotives and cars look realistic.  Unless the stuff has just come out of the shop its going to have some dirt on it.  

Don Merz 070317 posted:

For me, weathering, specifically engines and rolling stock, is what separates the toy train modeler from the hi-rail or scale modeler. Some guys fuss about the center rail and they say THAT makes it a toy train. Maybe so. But taking a layout as a whole, the biggest differentiator of the toy train look from the scale or hi-rail look is weathering. So I think charging the scale modeler for weathering service is valid. How much you can charge is another question. You'd have to experiment with weathered versus new look auctions on eBay.....or just advertise and see what the response is like. Lionel sold a factory-weathered N&W 611 J engine. And I suppose they also sold the non-weathered version. Was there a price difference between the two? I don't know my Lionel well enough to know.

Good luck!

Don Merz

To be honest i as thinking of doing things like some of my art friends do, something like $20-$25 for engines, $10-15 for cars, depending on size etc.  Because I know many people who do want weathered cars and locos but are too afraid to do it themselves.  And you're right about weathering standing out.  There's a vid I have (posted below) of a train at a show made up of cars/locos that i weathered and "showroom fresh" cars, and it seems that the weathered cars really pop out and draw the eye in my opinion.  

 

You can never have too many details on a layout!

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I custom paint musical instruments for people.   I do charge.   It is a very, very side business that began with me customizing my own. As others have said in this thread, I go over fully what the person wants right down to color and finish type (flat, gloss, metallic, anodized looking, etc..)

I do send pictures or have them over as I proceed with each step.   It's not a volume business, and not a big moneymaker, but it does put some extra cash in my pockets.   They key is to be very clear and explain all the steps.

I say go for it.  Your example here are phenomenal.   If I needed weathered trains I know I would reach out to you.

While not a train, here's an example of what I do. 

It's a new pro portable keyboar that someone wanted to pop with an anodized aluminum look.  The top shell was simple black hard plastic.   I use Duplicolor Automotive paints

zLtt22

HQALJF

It's in a box in the attic, but I do have an old diesel loco that I got crazy with and refinished with Duplicolor.   I'll go find it and post a pic.  It's a dark purple "Plum Crazy".  Why?  Because I can

Music, trains, boneless chicken farming
David

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RJR posted:

You do very nice work.  Some are very realistically filthy; the Reading diesel is a classic.  If I had one of them and Mrs. RJR saw it, she'd probably wash it.

The answer to your basic question is not an easy one.  You want to help a friend, but at $0, you could be overwhelmed with "friends." If you decide to charge, the advice to get paid in advance is good advice.

I'm curious.  What is that loco 227 with the weird tender?

Jersey Central had a few (or more) tank engines that would be used in commuter service without the need of a turntable.

- Joe

Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters, METCA,

Independent Hi-Railers Eastern Division,

Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders,

Raritan River Chapter of the NRHS,

Black River Railroad Historical Trust

 http://raritanriver-rr.com/

http://www.blackriverrailroad.com/

 

 

"You're too young to remember the Raritan River!" -Told to me by a man at a train show.

RaritanRiverRailroadFan4 posted:
RJR posted:

You do very nice work.  Some are very realistically filthy; the Reading diesel is a classic.  If I had one of them and Mrs. RJR saw it, she'd probably wash it.

The answer to your basic question is not an easy one.  You want to help a friend, but at $0, you could be overwhelmed with "friends." If you decide to charge, the advice to get paid in advance is good advice.

I'm curious.  What is that loco 227 with the weird tender?

Jersey Central had a few (or more) tank engines that would be used in commuter service without the need of a turntable.

What he said.  It's a little-known model produced by K-line.  I have a pic of the real thing here.  

You can never have too many details on a layout!

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Here's a video of some of his work on a rainbow era Conrail freight.

- Joe

Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters, METCA,

Independent Hi-Railers Eastern Division,

Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders,

Raritan River Chapter of the NRHS,

Black River Railroad Historical Trust

 http://raritanriver-rr.com/

http://www.blackriverrailroad.com/

 

 

"You're too young to remember the Raritan River!" -Told to me by a man at a train show.

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Also be aware that there are others who provide this service, and have been doing so for a long time...that equals experience. I'd pay for experience if I was interested in having weathering done beyond the light weathering that most of us can manage for ourselves. But if you want to try it out and see if it generates some income ....give it a shot and see what comes of it.

Bob

And my favorite piece, the M1a. 

- Joe

Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters, METCA,

Independent Hi-Railers Eastern Division,

Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders,

Raritan River Chapter of the NRHS,

Black River Railroad Historical Trust

 http://raritanriver-rr.com/

http://www.blackriverrailroad.com/

 

 

"You're too young to remember the Raritan River!" -Told to me by a man at a train show.

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flanger posted:

Also be aware that there are others who provide this service, and have been doing so for a long time...that equals experience. I'd pay for experience if I was interested in having weathering done beyond the light weathering that most of us can manage for ourselves. But if you want to try it out and see if it generates some income ....give it a shot and see what comes of it.

Bob

That is a good point, regarding experience, for the OP to consider.    I would still go for it.    Those who have been doing it for a while were new to it as well.

Music, trains, boneless chicken farming
David

One thing I'm thinking of doing is setting up a weathering stand at the Somerset County 4H trainmasters June Show, and this year if they'll let me I'm thinking of doing Member's trains for a discounted price or free, and non-members for that price range I posted earlier.  (Cars - $10-15, locos - $20-25)

You can never have too many details on a layout!

I say like others have said go for it. If you really enjoy doing something and can make a few sheckles while doing so, it's a win win situation.  If some friends want you to do some of their stuff, hey that's free advertising for you lol. Several years ago I weathered an engine or two for a friend "PGHTrainFanatic" in fact I think he is here on this forums now, and they were shown in his Youtube videos. Always cool seeing your work roll by on another layout. BTW doing graffiti is a blast too and adds some nice realism to cars and layout especially in yard shots.

IMG_2949IMG_2953 

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Hotpressmugs posted:

I say like others have said go for it. If you really enjoy doing something and can make a few sheckles while doing so, it's a win win situation.  If some friends want you to do some of their stuff, hey that's free advertising for you lol. Several years ago I weathered an engine or two for a friend "PGHTrainFanatic" in fact I think he is here on this forums now, and they were shown in his Youtube videos. Always cool seeing your work roll by on another layout. BTW doing graffiti is a blast too and adds some nice realism to cars and layout especially in yard shots.

IMG_2949IMG_2953 

I'd definitely like to try graffiti sometime.  It looks super cool.

You can never have too many details on a layout!

PR&NJRR posted:

  TBH my one true fear in model railroading is removing shells of locomotives and poking around inside, due to the possibility of accidentally damaging something.  

If more people felt that way, their trains would run better. Things that break can usually be fixed, but things that folks with more energy than talent have already worked on are sometimes impossible to fix.

RoyBoy

You definitely have weathering skills that are worth charging for.   Everyone has their own comfort level as to what they will do on their layout.  I happen to like weathered cars and have done a few.  While mine are no where as nice as yours I am happy.   There is definitely a market for that kind of work.

If this is your 1st experience at selling a service you provide take note of the following gleaned from personal experience.  Eventually you will run into someone who no matter what you do will not be happy and will try to stiff you for your work.   On the other hand most people, especially train hobbiest's are fair and good people.  But you really do have to spend some time finding out what weathering means for them.  Your idea and someone else's could be very different.  But you can alleviate that just be communicating with the customer.  

Ed

Go for it.  I love your idea of setting up an on the spot weathering booth at a train show.  People can see your work live and decide right away if it's for them.  Personally I would have you do a relatively inexpensive freight car and if done to my liking I would go up from there.  I agree with what others have said about how a weathered train really pops on a layout.  Brings a very big layer of realism to an otherwise typical layout.  I think your work looks first rate. BigRail

Ed Walsh posted:

You definitely have weathering skills that are worth charging for.   Everyone has their own comfort level as to what they will do on their layout.  I happen to like weathered cars and have done a few.  While mine are no where as nice as yours I am happy.   There is definitely a market for that kind of work.

If this is your 1st experience at selling a service you provide take note of the following gleaned from personal experience.  Eventually you will run into someone who no matter what you do will not be happy and will try to stiff you for your work.   On the other hand most people, especially train hobbiest's are fair and good people.  But you really do have to spend some time finding out what weathering means for them.  Your idea and someone else's could be very different.  But you can alleviate that just be communicating with the customer.  

Ed

Exactly Ed, all good points and communication is key. I forgot to mention but another tool that anyone can use is google.  Just simply google the road-name and model of the engine, rolling stock etc that your about to do and come up with some nice detailed images and try to duplicate it onto the O scale piece.  You also can show the google images to your buyers and asked them in advance is this what they have in mind, a little less or a little more grimy.

 I weather all my own stuff. I bought a woodsided reefer years ago on eBay done by Don Smith of Industrial Models. Couldn't believe I won the auction for not much more than the car was worth unweathered. Nothing I really needed. I bought it  more just to study it. There are some great modelers out there. He's one of the best I've seen.  His stuff usually goes for about a hundred more than the cars worth. You can find his work and album on line. A great source for referencing different types of cars.

 If you go this route. My only advice is. Work at your craft. Even if people are buying your work. Try to keep raising your standards. The better you get. The more you can charge. Keep trying different techniques and methods. Practice on junkers if your trying something new.

I like your weathering!  It takes a keen eye and lots of experience to get them right.  One thing I don't see many model railroaders use is washes.  Washes are extremely realistic and easy to apply.  I used them for years on my model aircraft panel lines, rivets, and other areas that needed some more depth and perspective.  So, my advice is to weathering modelers is to stop using an airbrush for vertical drip lines and seam weathering... they look forced. Use a wash instead... start lightly and add pigment as required.  They are also easy to "undo" if needed.  A little thinner and a q-tip and you are back to square 1.  

TCA# 15-70824

Hotpressmugs posted:
Ed Walsh posted:

You definitely have weathering skills that are worth charging for.   Everyone has their own comfort level as to what they will do on their layout.  I happen to like weathered cars and have done a few.  While mine are no where as nice as yours I am happy.   There is definitely a market for that kind of work.

If this is your 1st experience at selling a service you provide take note of the following gleaned from personal experience.  Eventually you will run into someone who no matter what you do will not be happy and will try to stiff you for your work.   On the other hand most people, especially train hobbiest's are fair and good people.  But you really do have to spend some time finding out what weathering means for them.  Your idea and someone else's could be very different.  But you can alleviate that just be communicating with the customer.  

Ed

Exactly Ed, all good points and communication is key. I forgot to mention but another tool that anyone can use is google.  Just simply google the road-name and model of the engine, rolling stock etc that your about to do and come up with some nice detailed images and try to duplicate it onto the O scale piece.  You also can show the google images to your buyers and asked them in advance is this what they have in mind, a little less or a little more grimy.

That's actually what I do now, my one friend who I regularly weather rolling stock and locos for will send me pics asking: "can you make it look like this?"  And I usually use that to go off of.  

You can never have too many details on a layout!

PR&NJRR posted:

One thing I'm thinking of doing is setting up a weathering stand at the Somerset County 4H trainmasters June Show, and this year if they'll let me I'm thinking of doing Member's trains for a discounted price or free, and non-members for that price range I posted earlier.  (Cars - $10-15, locos - $20-25)

I love weathering, and I say go for it, and wish you lots of luck! Bringing the models to life by weathering them brings a whole new dimention of fun to the hobby. But also do research on your models, use photo references. Be aware of the time period the model is in. Also Different climates effect rail cars in different ways. The cargo they haul can effect how the car looks (for example coal being top loaded into a hopper creates a lot of dust) steep mountain grades adds brake dust to the bottom of cars and trucks that may not be seen on cars traveling across flat ground. Gravity is also a huge factor, and should be reflected in your brush strokes (something I'm trying to perfect) Weathering is a big learning curve and I've just started really getting into it. I love some of my work and some of it is filled with mistakes. I don't use an airbrush. Just paint now but I did just buy some chalk.  I put some photos of my models. Good luck!! IMG_6778IMG_6435IMG_6887IMG_7342IMG_7343IMG_7346

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Dj'sOgaugetrains posted:
PR&NJRR posted:

One thing I'm thinking of doing is setting up a weathering stand at the Somerset County 4H trainmasters June Show, and this year if they'll let me I'm thinking of doing Member's trains for a discounted price or free, and non-members for that price range I posted earlier.  (Cars - $10-15, locos - $20-25)

I love weathering, and I say go for it, and wish you lots of luck! Bringing the models to life by weathering them brings a whole new dimention of fun to the hobby. But also do research on your models, use photo references. Be aware of the time period the model is in. Also Different climates effect rail cars in different ways. The cargo they haul can effect how the car looks (for example coal being top loaded into a hopper creates a lot of dust) steep mountain grades adds brake dust to the bottom of cars and trucks that may not be seen on cars traveling across flat ground. Gravity is also a huge factor, and should be reflected in your brush strokes (something I'm trying to perfect) Weathering is a big learning curve and I've just started really getting into it. I love some of my work and some of it is filled with mistakes. I don't use an airbrush. Just paint now but I did just buy some chalk.  I put some photos of my models. Good luck!! IMG_6778IMG_6435IMG_6887IMG_7342IMG_7343IMG_7346

thanks for the tips and also WOW thats amazing!  I actually have some coal hoppers that I weathered a while ago.  I should send some pics later.  

You can never have too many details on a layout!

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