In the 60's I can only remember seeing trains from a distance when I was a kid. When I got older, about 8 or nine, I used to walk over to the small WM train yard in Gettysburg to watch the local go through or to watch them switch. Back then parents didn't worry about kids running all over town. Later I started going to the now defunked Gilbert's Hobby Shop and just looked at the model trains. One day on the way to the hobby shop, I found a real silver dollar and put an Athearn train set (rubber band drive) on layaway. I didn't have money to pay the set off, so Dick Gilbert gave me a job working, $18.00 a week to pay it off. It was a kids dream, I was fascinated by the trains, building layouts, building cars, and learn everything I could about model railroading. I continued to do some modeling, then girls got in the way, then marriage, kids, etc.
Over the years, I visited model railroading clubs and in my mid thirties joing the Miniature Railroad Club of York. I really didn't do any weathering on cars until I saw some of the members had "dusted" their trucks and I thought that was pretty cool. So out came the airbrush, then I started railfanning and learning more about trains with a friend, John Becker, traveling from PA to Seattle, Montana, Galesburg, IL and got to see how cars really looked and in 1994 got to see my first graffiti on trains. I own my own sign business and I'm interested in logo's and such, the graffiti that I was seeing really blew me away, even though illegal it was incredible. I was shooting everything in sight wasn't worrying about the rest of the car. Out came the paint pens, I even tried hand lettering the graffiti, since that was what I did for a living. That still was not the look I wanted, but it was good for a few years.
Then about 2004 I started copying from photographs and that's when I realized I wanted the most realism for my equipment. In 2005 I stumbled across Rich Divizio's cars on ebay and that really got the juices going. He sold an Athearn DRG&W reefer for $157.00. I really didn't care about making money but wanted more realistic trains. The trucks were rusted, the sides weathered, to me it looked incredible. Then I found his website modeltrainsweathered.com and I joined. After joining, I then found Mellow Mike, which I was amazed at his work but he was no help at how to do things. I learned alot through people on MTW, and tried alot of different techiques. I really enjoyed the competitions MTW and theRailwire.net would have and I did my best on each. I liked the extra push to get the model done by a certain date. I still wasn't happy with the look of just weathering the cars, there was too much damage to these freight cars that needed to be duplicated. I had to come up with a technique to bulge the sides of boxcars and gondolas. After several attempts, I came up with some that looked pretty good but I'll continue to work on this.
This hobby has enabled me to meet alot of interesting people & I travel to alot of places I wouldn't normally. For me it's a relaxing hobby and I always recommend it to many people I talk to in my travels. I hope I can contribute to The Weathering Shop over the coming years.