Freight cars look the more realistic when time and care is taken to weather them, as well as adding loads. It is exciting to make them yourself, and even when you buy them from the hobby shop, cargo looks much better when repainted and weathered too. Loads are important too.
Even in an empty wagon like this one, pastel and chalk dust brushed onto the plank boards inside the wagon gives us a clue that this car has carried coal, or quarry gravel, or what have you.
So here we go for the flat cars. These lumber piles are made from scratch by cutting lengths of balsa wood, and using Elmer's white glue to piece them together with the smaller supporting planks.
Using this technique, you can make loads of lumber for any car you want, using different lengths of balsa, more or less stacked together, and made into smaller sizes for vehicles and smaller cars, or really large sizes for bigger cars! The small load of pipes were made from spare cardboard tubes I found. Any spare part from your plastic kit you want to throw away can be a key element to add interest on your layout!
These crates are made from textured card-stock. I was inspired to create these from looking at Preiser spare parts and loads in my Walther's Catalog! It is amazing what you can create from what little you might have lying in the cupboards of your art studio or in your home! I made sure they were decorated with small stamped stencils drawn with pen, and small colored labels made from copy paper and bits of spare card. Some I made open with foam for packaging, or loaded with something like spare track pins as ties to display the load they carry on a dock or platform. It takes a little time, about a half and hour or so for me, but very easy to make.
Finally here are a cluster of covered machinery from Chooch Enterprises. Painting can enhance shadows and lighting effects in addition to wear and tear as well! I painted them using light gray acrylic, then lightly brushed them using the same paint mixed with white to bring out the folds of the tarp. I might also slam dunk them in a mixture of equal parts of water and india ink to enhance the shadow, and a little grime.
There's loads for you!