Model Train Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi fellow trainfans! lately I've taken on a few projects building trains from scratch or from different parts. I'm pretty good at getting the realism for the rest of the model, but when it comes to paint, I have no idea what I'm doing. How do I get the right colors when building your own locomotive? I know the colors vary even from different manufacturers producing the same model, but I'd still like to be as close as I can.
I know most of you will recommend an airbrush, but right now as a beginner I cant invest in something like that at this point. if any of you have an answer it would be greatly appreciated

Thanks
John
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,041 Posts
Diesel, steam, roadname.....?

Many model railroad paint manufacturers make the various colors of the various railroads.

I would think you would want to track down some photos of the locomotive you're interested in painting as a start....?

As for applying the paint, you'll get the best results from spraying....I found an inexpensive Testor's airbush (air can driven) years ago that is still doing a good job....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
943 Posts
painting/detailing locomotives?

1.)Obtain a color picture, for reference, if it is at all possible or reference todays models.
2.)Learn weathering techniques and the artist tools required.
4.)I greatly recommend a single action airbrush. (t's cheaper) also you will need an air compressor. Most likely used(more cost effective.)
There are some great tutorials on painting and weathering steam local motives. on the web,
which can be found through web searches. In those they use air brushes, weathering compounds chalks and things of this nature.
I'm sorry, I do not have the exact tutorial's at this time, but they are out there though.
I believe it will be somewhat difficult without the above mentioned supplies. In order to obtain a satisfactory result your looking for. The airbrush is an indispensable artist's tool
IMHO:)
Good luck, tr1
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
943 Posts
What style of paint to use?

In the mean time you can take a break to run the trains on your layout. being out of the hobby awhile, I think Testors is still in the model paint industry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,806 Posts
Until you decide to go with an airbrush, you might consider the
rattle can Tamiya paints from hobby stores. It can produce a
nice matte texture with no runs or other flaws. It's totally
plastic friendly. But practice before you start on an actual
model.

You don't want to hide molded on details so be sure to remove
whatever paint is there. I've had good luck
soaking the shells in brake fluid over night, or two nights. Then
deftly brush off the old paint. Use a tooth pick to get stubborn
flecks from details.

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,174 Posts
An airbrush really is the tool of choice (and in my experience, propellant cans are more trouble than they're worth). If you don't want to invest in one, consider postponing your loco painting projects. Rattle cans work, but it's much harder to control paint flow.

Also, I think you will find still pictures (Google Images) to be better than videos. Keep in mind that paint which is not fresh from the shop suffers greatly from dirt and fading.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
417 Posts
Every Union Pacific unit I have seems to be a different shade of the same colors, some are quite different. My basic question is: does paint dry lighter or darker than when wet, and is that rule the same for acrylic, enamel, and others?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Every Union Pacific unit I have seems to be a different shade of the same colors, some are quite different. My basic question is: does paint dry lighter or darker than when wet, and is that rule the same for acrylic, enamel, and others?
I was in the wall paint industry for a while, from my experience there I can tell you that paint will always go on lighter, then dry to the correct color. I'm not sure about model paints though. it should be the same way...but it could be me just being inadvertently ignorant.

@old hobo - they didn't have what I was looking for, but it did lead me in the right direction. thanks!

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
An airbrush really is the tool of choice (and in my experience, propellant cans are more trouble than they're worth). If you don't want to invest in one, consider postponing your loco painting projects. Rattle cans work, but it's much harder to control paint flow.

Also, I think you will find still pictures (Google Images) to be better than videos. Keep in mind that paint which is not fresh from the shop suffers greatly from dirt and fading.
Agreed that the airbrush is necessary for long-term modeling, but I have never had any issues with rattle cans if from a quality paint manufacturer. Certainly wouldn't postpone any painting projects if I had the proper color in a rattle can.
Keep in mind your first projects will be learning projects as well. Where you will gain experience, develop your own style and techniques that work for you....and find out what doesn't. Don't be afraid to experiment and make mistakes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,527 Posts
Simple inexpensive Airbrush

BeardedLumberjack;

Harbor freight offers a single action airbrush for ten dollars. It's fine for basic painting and comes with 5 paint bottles It's easy to change colors and easy to clean. I bought one and now find I use it more often than my more expensive, dual action airbrush.
The same company, harborfreight.com, also sells air compressors at pretty reasonable prices.

Good Luck;

Traction Fan
Wire Cable Electrical supply
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,954 Posts
With regard to getting the correct colour you should bear in mind that the original will fade quickly particularly if it's been used in a sunny environment. Sometimes the change can be quite dramatic, so it's always worth lightening the shade a bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
Try 90% isopropyl alcohol vs brake fluid as it won't damage plastic. Have a look at the Tru Color color charts http://trucolorpaint.com/ to get the right colors for the Alaska DMU. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding good pix of that DMU on the internet if it's still in use. Better yet find some color prints of it to get the colors "right". Better yet go up there & get your own pix. LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
haha thanks guys. @traction fan - that 10$ air sprayer sounds great to me. I think I'l have to get me hands on one of those!

I know fading is just a thing that happens. I'll do my best to get the colors still. I try to keep my trains out of the way of sunlight, but my house has giant windows next to my tiny layout and sometimes it's just too hard. but the natural sun makes the layout look exactly like the real thing!

John
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,041 Posts
I think Cycleops meant the paint that fades on the real trains.....some colors fade almost the minute they leave the paint booth.....I know for a fact that CP Rail "Action Red" almost turns to pink after a while.

So it is sometimes hard to get the "official" color from pics of the real trains, due to that fading....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
@old_hobo - ah ok that makes sense too. nonetheless it's a good idea to keep your models out of sunlight, yes? :)
I'm aware fading is something that just naturally happens to any train, I just like my trains to have really rich, clean colors. even if the real thing has been thoroughly used and weathered, if I have a model, I like the clean look.

just one weird thing I like about my trains

Thanks
John
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top