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Athearn's WM grey hopper Athearn's WM Grey Hopper...
The Western Maryland Railway was the smallest of the three Chessie components.  Although they were small, they had style.  Some of their equipment had markedly different paint jobs than was normal.  Their striking red, white, and black circus scheme made their locomotives and cabeese really stand out.  Along those lines, the WM had hoppers in unusual colors.  Most of their hoppers were dark red with white speed lettering on them.  There were however some light grey hoppers with black speed lettering.  Those grey hoppers are what this project is all about.  Just one of these intermixed on an all black C&O, B&O, Chessie coal train really stands out.  And, its accurate.  Build only one of these, since they were not the most common paint job for this type of car on the railroad.

Athearn makes a fairly good kit of such a hopper.  You will need to paint a few things the right color, and it will be ready to hit the rails.  The "Western Maryland" logo should stretch all the way to the end of the car.  If you want to extend the lines with black decal strips, that would look more accurate.

Below is an actual pic of a grey WM hopper.  It is a Dean Heacock photo of a similar class of grey WM hopper.  It is not exactly like the one I am doing, but it shows the grey paint job.

                                                             Dean Heacock photo

How to:
1.  Remove the kit from the box.  Spray with gloss coat.
2.  Add the consolidated stencil decal on each side.
3.  Spray with dull coat.
4.  Super glue the weights to the bottom.  Paint them with enamel grey primer.  Primer is so close to the real color of the hopper you may or may not want to repaint it with reefer grey.
5.  Paint the brake wheel, hopper doors and frame reefer grey.
6.  Assemble the car as per instructions.  Paint the wheel faces rust colors.
7.  Weather with drybrushing of reefer grey mixed with white.  This should give the lettering a nice faded look.  Streak the sides with rust.  Dry brush the bottom of the car with dirt and rust colors.  Drybrush the inside with rust and grey colors mixed with a little black.
8.  Overspray the bottom 1/4 of the car with tan and light grey to simulate road grime.
9.  Seal the car with dullcoat.
10.  You are done, enjoy a unique WM hopper.

Below is a pic of the WM hopper right out of the box.

Below is a pic of the WM hopper with the weights added and primered.

Below is a pic of the WM hopper fully assembled and ready to get weathered.  Notice that the grey door and frame are a little darker than the hopper.  This won't matter once it is weathered.  Plus, all of these parts are on the bottome of the car, so they won't be seen much.  The wheel faces have also been painted rust colored at this stage.

Below is a pic of the WM hopper after it has been streaked with shades of light grey and rust.

Below is a pic of the WM hopper with the inside weathered.  The pic shows how drybrushing a mixture of black, light grey and rust colors bring out the interior surface detail nicely.  This is a good representation of how hopper insides look after years of service.  They are not solid black, like you might think.

Below are pics of the finished hopper.  This hopper project is not intended to produce a perfect WM grey hopper.  It is intended to show you how to hide the inaccuracies of the Athearn kit and make it acceptable.  The flash on the camera made this car appear glossier than it really is.  Your hopper should have a flat finish.