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Painting, detailing and decaling Tips, techniques, and discussions about painting, detailing or decaling rolling stock or scenery.


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Old 06-18-2017, 12:47 PM   #1
Big_Steve
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Paint question

Bought a War Bonnet N scale loco. Am trying to convert it to a SP Black Widow. Started out by painting it black acrylic with a brush. Not happy with how that looks. How can I remove the paint without damaging the shell, so I can start over? It's a Kato F7 A

Also, I'm not artistic at all. If I bought an airbrush set, are the enclosed instructions good enough to get a newb off to a decent start?
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Old 06-18-2017, 01:20 PM   #2
sachsr1
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To remove the paint you could try an acrylic thinner or reducer it should leave the plastic alone. I use Createx Hi performance reducer to remove acrylic weathering between Dullcote layers . Since you're painting the loco you probably don't care about the base paint coat. You could try a lacquer thinner to take it down to the plastic. I think some people use 90% alcohol in an ultrasonic cleaner to strip it down to the plastic.

Airbrushing isn't hard, but it's not easy to explain via the internet. There are good cheap airbrushes out there, but they can take a little experience to diagnose problems. Harbor Freight sells cheap airbrushes, but if you've never airbrushed they can be frustrating if they have issues out of the box. If you want a great airbrush, and money isn't a big issue you can't go wrong with the Iwata Eclipse at Hobby Lobby (about $140 with 40% coupon). They also have the Neo for Iwata that's about $40 after the coupon. I have both brushes and use both of them on a regular basis. Both of these brushes are double action which means the air and paint are controlled separately. You can also get a good single action brush like the Badger 350 which is one button, but lacks paint flow control. This makes it easier to use when you first start out. I'm not against cheap Chinese airbrushes (I own 4 of them), but they can be frustrating if you've never airbrushed before.
Airbrushing is all about getting the paint viscosity and air pressure to match up. I would recommend starting off with airbrush ready paints. Most hobby shops sell them ready to spray. This will help you avoid the problem of not thinning the paint correctly. If you choose to thin your own paints you want it the consistency of skim milk. You can use store bought thinners or water depending on your paint choice. Some people like to thin acrylic paints with Windex, soap, or alcohol. I would avoid using the cheap Walmart acrylic paints when you start out. They can be finicky through an airbrush which will add to your beginner struggles.

There are a TON of tutorials on airbrushing, and it's a great tool to have on your work bench.

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/home
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:24 PM   #3
CTValleyRR
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If you're still within 72 hours of painting it, blue window cleaner (the kind that contains ammonia) will strip acrylic paint right off. After that, things get a little tougher.

I use a product called Easy Lift Off, or ELO, sold by Testors these days. That will remove the paint without harming the plastic.

Honestly, if you're using good quality acrylic paints, and good technique, you should be able to brush paint your loco shell and get great results. You don't say why you weren't happy, so it's hard to tell you where you went wrong.

Airbrushes. Well there's a topic to confound a beginner. Nor is it inexpensive to start out. I would start with a good brush and compressor (I don't recommend the canned propellant). If you're in an area of high humidity (like SW Fla), a moisture separator is an absolute must. In my experience, most air brushes don't come with actual painting instructions. They just tell you how to operate and clean the brush, and assume you know how to use one. There are plenty of instructional videos on the internet, and if you practice first on something you don't care about, you should get the hang of it fairly quickly.
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Old 06-18-2017, 11:35 PM   #4
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"Honestly, if you're using good quality acrylic paints, and good technique, you should be able to brush paint your loco shell and get great results. You don't say why you weren't happy, so it's hard to tell you where you went wrong."

I honestly know nothing about painting. I tried to put the paint on lightly, but it still looks too thick and streaky. The paint I got from hobby lobby "Masters touch" Permanent Black acrylic.
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:10 PM   #5
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I'm not familiar with that brand, but I'm willing to bet it's either a craft acrylic or an artists acrylic, both of which are generally too thick to give good results in a hobby application. Does it come in a tube by any chance? Not sure why they would call it "permanent" either. Once dry, all acrylics are permanent unltss they chip or are stripped.

Basically, your paint needs to be thin enough to flow well. For airbrushing, it should be about the consistency of 2% milk. For brush painting, half and half. If it can't flow, it can't self-level, but too runny and it will be hard to control. Acrylics shrink as they dry, so they "snuggle" on to fine details, even though you may think you applied it too thick.
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:29 PM   #6
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The paint is quite thick, and I'm sure it's artists paint. I took another look at the shell today, and it looked even worse than I originally thought I got some laquer thinner, and the paint came right off. So I'm back to square one. I'm going to Hobby lobby tomorrow to see what they have by way of rattle cans. I'm trying to do an SP Black widow, which is black with silver on the upper part of the sides and I have decals for the front. The problem in the mix is me. I have hands like catchers' mitts and the artistic ability of a Squid. Yet, I persevere...

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Originally Posted by CTValleyRR View Post
I'm not familiar with that brand, but I'm willing to bet it's either a craft acrylic or an artists acrylic, both of which are generally too thick to give good results in a hobby application. Does it come in a tube by any chance? Not sure why they would call it "permanent" either. Once dry, all acrylics are permanent unltss they chip or are stripped.

Basically, your paint needs to be thin enough to flow well. For airbrushing, it should be about the consistency of 2% milk. For brush painting, half and half. If it can't flow, it can't self-level, but too runny and it will be hard to control. Acrylics shrink as they dry, so they "snuggle" on to fine details, even though you may think you applied it too thick.
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Old 06-19-2017, 06:25 PM   #7
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the artistic ability of a Squid.
Thank you, Steve! You gave me a good laugh with that one, and after my day at work today, I needed one!
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:43 PM   #8
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The problem in the mix is me. I have hands like catchers' mitts and the artistic ability of a Squid. Yet, I persevere...
And yet, with practice and perseverence, you will soon have hands like a neurosurgeon and the artistic ability of DaVinci! Don't give up!
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Old 06-20-2017, 01:34 PM   #9
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I've use 90% alcohol to remove paint from old cars that I was doing test weathering on. No need for an agitator, just slosh it around a little every couple of hours. Any areas you can work with a soft toothbrush will come free faster, but I never had to soak anything longer than overnight.

Yeah it really sounds like you got the acrylic paint in the tube. That stuff is WAY too thick to use directly unless you're actually trying to glob it on a canvas. If you want to try and re-use it, start out by mixing it 50/50 with plain water, which should thin it out considerably. Mix it with a brush until all the lumps have dissolved, then see if you can get a better coat. Keep in mind that when a spot starts to dry, going back over it with a wet brush will peel up the original paint. Give it 10-15 minutes between coats so that doesn't happen.

I'm just getting started myself with an airbrush. I've had a Badger 200 sitting in a box for the last 25 years, barely used. Couldn't figure out why I had so much trouble with it, turnout out the O-ring had gotten compressed so the output was pulsing and not very even. Just got a new O-ring this weekend and spraying with water looked perfect. Now to find time to practice with some paint...
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Old 06-20-2017, 06:09 PM   #10
CTValleyRR
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Yeah it really sounds like you got the acrylic paint in the tube. That stuff is WAY too thick to use directly unless you're actually trying to glob it on a canvas. If you want to try and re-use it, start out by mixing it 50/50 with plain water, which should thin it out considerably. Mix it with a brush until all the lumps have dissolved, then see if you can get a better coat. Keep in mind that when a spot starts to dry, going back over it with a wet brush will peel up the original paint. Give it 10-15 minutes between coats so that doesn't happen.
If you're going to try to thin it, I would use matte medium (or gloss medium, depending on the finish you want) and water in a 5:1 ratio. Media are the same stuff as paint, just without pigment, whereas with water, you run the risk of making a wash which won't cover.

That said, i'd save the tube acrylic for landscape or weathering where quality doesn't matter so much and invest in some good quality acrylics. Personally, I prefer Acrylicos Vallejo, which is one of the top brands. They have separate lines for airbrushing and brush painting, although you can brush paint the Model Air paints and vice versa. I mostly get them at Scale Hobbyist (www.scalehobbyist.com).

With the Vallejo paints, I can paint over them as soon as they are dry to the touch without peeling it up, say 2-3 minutes at most. Peeling may be a sign of poor adhesion, and might be fixed by priming or washing before painting.
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