Custom-Painted Locomotives

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

C

Carlos Perea

Guest
#1
I've seen tons of photos of custom-painted locomotives. I know that basically you have to get an undecorated locomotive and splash some paint that you like on it and you're done. But I had questions about some things, like how you get the titles of the railroad that you're modelling on it. Do you purchase decals, make your own, or hand paint them? Another question is number boards (which I think are those lighted things on locomotives above the cab with the road number on it), how do you paint or put titles on them and install them? How do you paint the locomotive so that you only paint what you want to, not windows or lights or etcetera? I've been really curious about this, and now I'm asking. All replies are welcome! :)
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
#2
WOW! :eek: I just said a question :D Ah! well lets see what happens.
like how you get the titles of the railroad that you're modelling on it. Do you purchase decals, make your own, or hand paint them?
Well you have all the answers above, so we'll just confirm them for you. I purchase Decal sets for the roadname I want, there are times when a set is not available for a certain road, so an acceptable decal set can sometimes be made up from several decal sets. There are some small enterprises who make custom decal sets and RR heralds that are not normaly manufactured, these are some what more expensive because of the short production run. There are some who have printers, capable of printing decals and do their own. Now HAND PAINT? I don't know it would take a steady hand a good eye and a real craftsman to do this especially on the Z, N, and HO scales ( My opinion! I could be wrong :rolleyes: )
Another question is number boards (which I think are those lighted things on locomotives above the cab with the road number on it), how do you paint or put titles on them and install them?
Numberboards; Decal sets come with numerals for the numberboards, and also there is a decal mfgr. who makes number board decals. Most retailed Locos have the number boards installed ( if they're the illuminated type ) and some like the Athearn GP9 the numberboard is part of the shell, these are not illuminated, again just apply the decals. Most Decal Mfgr. include instructions, in very basic terms a decal is a very thin film that is glued to the paper it is on, wetting it in water for about 10 sec loosens the glue and the decal can be slid off onto the location where you want it. When the Decal dries, it will then adhere to that surface ( this is to give you the basic idea)
How do you paint the locomotive so that you only paint what you want to, not windows or lights or etcetera?
Prior to painting, the assesories ( windows, lights ect ) are removed from the body shell, and stored. Areas you want a different color are masked with tape, much like painting a car. The paints are much finer than the paint used on a car and will have a tendancy to bleed under the tape. There are some do's and don'ts in regard to painting, mine are solid black so I don't have that problem and I' not an expert painter, but there are many excellent painters in this form who can help you with that.
Well Carlos my answers are very basic and hopefully will give you an idea. It would be better to take it one step (question) at a time, there is much information published and available on the net besides the members here who can help you understand the faccetts about model rail that seems impossible to you now. I've attached two photos, one is of four locos just painted. The next shows two of them with decals, and that's all no other paint
 
#4
Also, when masking, don't cheap-out on the tape. Regular masking tape is for house painting.
3M makes the good stuff, and it can be found at autoparts/paint stores.
You can make the numbers for numberboards on your computer, as well as design custom decals for fictitious railroads, which you can have made for you by several companies.
 
C

Carlos Perea

Guest
#7
When I feel that I'm ready to custom paint a locomotive I know think that I'll probably be using Microscale Decals. First though, which is a lot easier, I'd like to obtain the marjority of FEC locomotives made in N scale, or at least the Atlas model of FEC lcomotive #417. :) I'm thinking of maybe making my own UP/FEC hybrid SD40-2, since it'd basically be painting over the Union Pacific titles and replacing them with the FEC decals, as shown in the photo linked below:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=67579

I'm bulging with ideas on how to expand my train set! :D
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
#8
Carlos, that's a doable project, however there are some things to consider first. Multi coats of paint hide the details, and the details on an quality N scale loco would be easy to cover with paint ( multi coats ) unless you plan on stripping the paint from the body then repainting it. If that were the case perhaps it would be better to purchase an undecorated model. Since I'm not familier with painting "N" scale models, would some one who is experienced like to jump in with their advice.

__Willis___CB&CNSfan
 
Last edited by a moderator:

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
#10
I was thinking of using a Kato UP SD40 for the repaint
Hi Carlos; Do you have an airbrush? IMHO to do a decent paint job an airbrush is a must. If you haven't used an airbrush before, it might be a good idea to practice on some junk shells or pieces of plastic to get the hang of it. Just an idea. Lessens the chance of messing up a new Kato :D

__Willis___CB&CNSfan
 
Last edited by a moderator:
C

Carlos Perea

Guest
#11
CB&CNSfan said:
Hi Carlos; Do you have an airbrush? IMHO to do a decent paint job an airbrush is a must. If you haven't used an airbrush before, it might be a good idea to practice on some junk shells or pieces of plastic to get the hang of it. Just an idea. Lessens the chance of messing up a new Kato :D

__Willis___CB&CNSfan
Nope, I'm Airbrush-less. :( And you can get an airbush say, at your local hobby or model train shop? :confused:

BTW, I've learned more about model railroading in a week than in the past three years on this forum! :D
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Lady_Railfan

House Mother, Cheerleader
#12
I've learned more about model railroading in a week....
:D Just stick around, Carlos. These guys will turn you into an expert in no time. The best part is that they enjoy doing it, so keep asking questions!
 
C

Carlos Perea

Guest
#13
Lady_Railfan said:
:D Just stick around, Carlos. These guys will turn you into an expert in no time. The best part is that they enjoy doing it, so keep asking questions!
Yippee! :D
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
#14
Nope, I'm Airbrush-less. And you can get an airbush say, at your local hobby or model train shop?

Hi Carlos, well yes you can purchase an airbrush at hobby shops, and less expensive ones a various places like Wal Mart. There are many Mfgr.s and models of several types. Basically there are single action ( paint and air 1 button is pressed for air and paint) and dual action ( where the trigger is pressed for air and moved back to control the amount of paint sprayed). Myself I've never used a dual action air brush, just the single action because I only paint large areas, whereas the dual action is capable of very fine lines with practice.
Here is a link just to give you just an idea of what is available http://www.airbrushestore.com/Home.asp
If you want to try one out, a cheap single action from a chain store will do, a bottle of craft paint they use for ceramics, and some of the BLUE windshield washer fluid ( its alcohol based ) to thin the craft paint to about the viscosity of 2% milk. Practice on junk and when you are happy with the results, you are ready to paint. Hopefully :D
Caution don't buy an expensive air brush to use with the craft paints
__Willis___CB&CNSfan
 
Last edited by a moderator:

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
#16
OK, I'll bite. Why?
Don't really know, :) but if I'm going to to make an error in giving advice, it'll be on the side of caution. I certainly don't want to get someone in a situation where they might become discouraged and give up. On the Yahoo forums I've read a lot about expensive airbrushes being plugged, hard to clean ect., because of viscosity and constituancy of certain paints so I guess I'm a bit gun shy :D I don't own an expensive brush myself so I'm reluctant to give advice about them. I have several air brushes that are copies of a Pasche single action and so far they do the job for me. I suggested the craft paints because they're cheap and I use an old Miller basic airbrush I purchased in the late 60's with the craft paints and it works fine, very simple to use and clean, and a similar one at about $12US, if you didn't like it you throw it away or sell it on eBay.
OK! now my friend, if you you know somthing we don't know, I for one certainly would like to learn, then maybe I'll get over my shyness and get a top line brush.
Gosh this sounds kind of sarcastic, but it's not meant to be :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mushroom2

Non Rivet Counter
#17
Nope, don't know anything different, I was hoping to learn something from you. :)
I always figured if a paint was thinned enough it would work, but then my massive experience with air brushes can be measured in weeks. :D
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
#18
that's the joy of the single action versions: they can be disassembled easily to be cleaned. When my dad (a commercial artist and airbrush expert) gave me my first one years ago, it was a well used single action. I still use it, tho rarely anymore (blame cameras!!).

It's not wise to spend too much when starting out, you may find that you really prefer something else and be stuck with some expensive dust collector. Certainly at first, a cheap airbrush will give the beginner as good or better results than a more expensive one. And the decreased frustration potential will keep you from giving up!

I moved from cans of air to a small compressor fairly quickly ($$), bought a new hose once and added a moisture trap. But I still use the same airbrush given to me 20+ years ago.

I had never heard of using windshield washer fluid as a solvent, I like the idea. I had always used isopropyl alcohol (4 pints for $1 often) for all water-based thinnning. When using lacquers like old Floquil, I bought a gallon can of lacquer thinner at Home depot. Lasts for years at my rate, and I don't short-change the cleaning up part.

Some people swear by the teeny-tiny bottles of branded thinners, but I've never found any real logic to that. Other than some like to pay the equivalent of $200 per gallon.....to each his own. For awhile I filtered all my thinner thru a paper towel, but quit that after realizing it was as clean as it needed to be.
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
#19
I had never heard of using windshield washer fluid as a solvent
Yes I learned about this from an excellent painter on another forum. One more word of CAUTION use only the BLUE windshield washer fluid for winter use, it is alcohol based, whereas the washer fluid for summer use is kind of like a vinegar base ( or something like that ) for removing squished flys

I had never heard of using windshield washer fluid as a solvent, I like the idea. I had always used isopropyl alcohol (4 pints for $1 often) for all water-based thinnning. When using lacquers like old Floquil, I bought a gallon can of lacquer thinner at Home depot. Lasts for years at my rate, and I don't short-change the cleaning up part.
Now there's a great idea, I'll add that to my notes, I agree the little bottled thinners are way too expensive for what you get and are most likely are either alcohol or laquer thinner based.



__Willis___CB&CNSfan
 
Last edited by a moderator:
#20
I've used a Badger single action brush for years and found as long as you clean it up right away you can put any paint through it! I mainly use the acrylic craft paints also with the BLUE washer solvent. :eek:
 



ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Top