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Bowstring Girder Bridge Kit Build – Paint & Weather

Bowstring Girder Bridge Kit Build – Paint & Weather

Paint & Weather The LX036-OO Bowstring Girder Bridge

Having looked at how to build the LX036-OO bridge kit. We’ll briefly cover painting & weathering the bridge. For speed, we’ve used normal car aerosol grey primer spray paint. The bridge was given two light coats of paint, taking care around the rivet detailed sections as not to give a too thick a covering. Spray from around a height of 30cm or so with a steady sweeping movement of the spray can across the bridge.

Make sure you get the paint into all the nooks & crannies of the girder work ends, as well as the underside of the bridge. Paint in a well-ventilated area, & make sure you wear a suitable face mask for painting to prevent breathing in the fine paint particles.

Allow time for the paint to dry before applying the second coat of paint.



Having given time for the paint to dry, it’s time to get down & dirty with the weathering powders. We’re using DCC Concepts weathering powder packs, using the Track Grime, General Greys, & General Infrastructure packs. Of course, you can use artist pastels from the likes of W.H.Smiths or art shops instead of weathering powders. Both will do the same job.

The other thing we’re using is some cheap firm hold air spray, as a base & to fix the weathering powder. You’ll also need plenty of cotton bud tips (Q tips), a selection of brushes such as flat brushes, round type brushes, a makeup sponge applicator will come in handy too. Have some images of real girder bridges to hand, to give you something to use as a reference guide.

Place the bridge onto a plastic bin bag to prevent getting weathering powders on your workbench, as it can get quite messy!!

Start by applying a light coating of hairspray to the area of the bridge you are going to be working on. Apply dark or black weathering powders to the bridge using a cotton bud tip, & work it into the surface using a flat brush. Use the makeup applicator soften the powder by gently wiping across the surface. Pay attention to where dirt would naturally streak downs due to the rain, & collect in the corners etc.

If you’ve added too much, dip a clean cotton bud tip into some clean water & wipe away at the surface. This will remove the weathering powder. Ideal if you need to lighten off any heavy areas of weathering.

Next, move onto the bridge deck area. Apply suitable track dirt grime, such as light browns, brake dust, clay type colours along the bridge deck & partly up the lower bridge sides. Again work from images & photos of real girder bridges.

If you want to give your bridge a more used look, apply rust coloured powders such as dark rust, bright oxide rust, orange etc. Working off reference photos, look how bridges rust. Note if, on a slope or vertical sides, that rust streaks will run downwards. Rust patches tend to be brighter red/orange towards the centre of a rust patch, whilst the edges tend to be a darker red/oxide colour. Blend the rust colours together on some kitchen towel or paper to see what effects you get. Once happy apply the rust mix to where you require on the model, such as on the rivets/rivet plates etc.

A light coating of various light greys was then applied to represent water streaking & dust. Also some tiny patches of white being applied to where birds or pigeons would sit on the bridge, to represent bird muck & bird poo.

Once happy with the level of weathering applied, the whole bridge was again sprayed in hairspray to fix & seal the weathering powder. Thus allowing for handling without rubbing off the weathering powder.

The next job then is to install the bridge on your layout & lay the track work across the bridge.


Happy modelling.

Below is a slideshow of the completed painted & weathered bridge. You’ll be able to see this first hand at the Warley Model Railway Show at the NEC Birmingham UK in November 2018.

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  1. ClaytonCanuk

    Very good advice, lots of useful information and tips.

  2. stevesk

    Great instructions Iain, I have just finished building and priming the LX-076 double bowstring and was wondering how best to paint and weather it. Just a bit bemused why you have 2lb of sugar on top of it though!
    Cheers Steve

    • Iain

      Hi Steve,
      You’re most welcome & pleased we’ve been able to assist you with this article. The bag of sugar is to show the strength & load testing of the bridge, as was asked how strong the bridge is. so we thought it would be a good way of showing the bridge strength.
      Kind regards Iain

      • stevesk

        LOL nice one, certainly is strong then! Must admit I am delighted with mine

        • Iain

          You’re most welcome, certainly will hold & carry a fair bit of weight. Great to hear your delighted with yours. We’d love to see any photos of the kit of your layout if you’d like to submit them to the club that’ll be great. 🙂

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