Sunday, November 20, 2011
Not being familiar with real LNER teak coaches, I was interested to get a proper look at some during my trip on the Severn Valley Railway. Varnished teak is an interesting material and very popular with modeller. The trouble is, it's a pig to get right and this isn't helped by people not understanding what is right.
As you can see, the wood changes colour from the nice uniform shade seen on most model railway coaches to a patchwork of different browns. I can't work out if the wood lightens or darkens with age - it looks like the former on some vehicles but some of the descriptions I've read suggest the opposite. There's certainly a darkening where muck has got into splits in the wood and seeped along the grain.
Of course, there is an extra factor at play here. Restoration. These coaches have been restored and maintained in an era when the wood is harder to get hold of and we are more sensitive to keep things original. Thus, panels will have been removed and replaced rather than just thrown away. I suspect this accounts for some of the patchwork effect you see in the top picture.
How would I model all this ?
Dunno. I saw Pete Waterman perform a demo using his brand of teak undercoat topped with brushed on coloured varnish. This looked pretty effective but wouldn't replicate the variations in tone I saw. Maybe these didn't happen in real life, or maybe we just prefer to remember things looking rather nicer than they really did.