(Naperville, IL)—Innovation, exploration, and expertise abounded this year at the 17th Annual Railroad Prototype Modeler’s Meet in Naperville, IL.
However, one stands out among the rest. Meet Rob Manley of Midwest Mod-U-Trak: artist, modeler, and entrepreneur.
Three years ago, Manley and his wife, Bev, visited Blick Art Supply store, where Manley made the discovery of his modeling lifetime – artists’ painting pastels called PanPastelTM.
Touted as the softest pastels in the word, PanPastelsTM, are a genuine artist’ quality pastels, uniquely packed in a pan format, easy to use, blend, and apply like paint.
No stranger to the exploration of new art material and techniques for weathering freight cars, Manley bravely purchased a pan, Red Iron Oxide Shade, to be exact, and went to work. After all, Manley had heard about other modelers using colored pencils and water-based oil paints and had been fascinated ever since.
Manley had found something wonderful. He no longer needed or wanted to use his airbrush. He no longer needed to rely on weathering powders and chalk that lost 90 percent of its color saturation. He now had PanPastelsTM.
He honed in on the Red Iron Oxide Shade and began using it for rust on his freight cars. He quickly became fond of the washable, reusable SofftTM foam applicators packaged with the pastels and realized he could now weather easily, cover a multitude of sins, and make his cars look more realistic than ever. Now the owner of multiple PanPastelTM sets, Manley can’t stop touting the product and encouraging others to adopt it for their own weathering projects.
“PanPastels made me rethink my whole weathering process,” Manley said. “It’s my hope PanPastelsTM will begin marketing specific colors and sets directly to the modeler, and that you’ll soon see sets for sale in local hobby stores.”
Not content with keeping his discovery to himself, Manley went straight to the PanPastelTM source and told the company their products were a gold mine for weathering freight cars. He continues to keep in contact with the company today with the intent of bringing the right pastels to more people in the weathering industry.
Manley did caution the need to allow for a 24-hour dry time, and for the use of PanPastels on dull or rough surfaces for best results. Additionally, he noted once you’ve applied PanPastels and an overcoat, you should still expect a 20 percent loss of the color saturation over time.
“I’ll take a 20 percent loss any day compared to the losses associated with weathering powders and chalk,” Manley said. “I like the spectrum of colors, I like how simple they are to use, and I like the results. I highly recommend PanPastels.”