By Roger, age 11
Give a child a choice between a shiny new toy and something a little old and dirty – and the shiny one usually wins.
Most adults feel the same way. They would rather have a brand new shiny car then an old clunker. But I am here to tell you there are some people who do not want new and shiny. They are called modellers. They build things and purposely paint the models to look old and used.
We see this a lot in the model train hobby. Dedicated modellers even have a name for making something new and shiny old and dull. They call it “weathering”. They take watered down paint called a “wash” and make the brand new, out-of-the-box train look like it has spent years out in the weather, traveling the rails.
I kind of like new and shiny. I like to see the bright colours of the engine and box cars zoom around the track. But looking at train videos, I see in real life the trains collect dust and dirt. They even show signs of rust. The railroads do wash their equipment, but over time, the colours fade. Dirt accumulates. Things just get old. So instead of asking a model what he or she likes, I decided to talk to a real train photographer. His name is Joey Kelly. He publishes a magazine called Maine Line about trains in Maine.
Joey Kelly says, “New and shiny is nice, but there is too much reflection for good photos. I prefer equipment that is a little older, but washed clean for the photos.”
So there you have it. Children prefer new and shiny, but serious train people like things to look realistic, whether with models or in photographs. Best for them is clean but weathered.