I always do truckframes & wheels separately.Do you remove the trucks and weather them separately, or are they done in place on the car? I assume the wheels are removed before painting. Do you also add weathering to the bottom of the cars, or just focus on the sides where the weathering is visible?
The coal loads are supplied with the cars.Are the coal loads factory made or custom?
They look pretty good for factory loads. I occasionally make some loads for a friend who has a hobby shop, and I use the fine Black Beauty, which in O scale is the size of Chestnut, and in HO, closely represents Egg.The coal loads are supplied with the cars.
The early BLI six-pack production run came with three different coal profiles... Two each of 3-heap, 2-heap, and center-heap.
The 2 & 3-heap are shown.
I believe later production models only come with two shapes.
Actually, I don't think the BLI loads are very realistic... nowhere near dark enough, and no sparkle.They look pretty good for factory loads. I occasionally make some loads for a friend who has a hobby shop, and I use the fine Black Beauty, which in O scale is the size of Chestnut, and in HO, closely represents Egg.
From the photo they look pretty good, better then some of the O gauge plastic molded ones I've seen. This is an O gauge load I made for one of my 2 bay hoppers.
A clear coat may work too. When I make my loads, I use a commercial water base urethane floor finish in a spray bottle. The Black Beauty has the sparkle of coal, and the finish holds the load together, and seals the finish. It could also be used as a coke load.Maybe you could give those coal loads a light coat of gloss black. That would darken them up and add some sparkle at the same time.