Fresh Paint!

The weather warmed up a bit here in the Chihuahuan Desert and the winds calmed down. Clouds dispersed and we had a few quiet, sunny days, which are perfect to paint models. I have a few resin freight car kits that are ready for the paint booth so a few were carefully washed. I prefer to paint a few models at a time to make efficient use of time and materials.

As you can see in the lead image, four cars have received an initial coat. Yes, they are upside down. three of these are HO scale Westerfield Models kits and the fourth is a Tichy Train Group kit. All are fully assembled. I paint the underframe first as it is easier to spray those areas on the sides and ends that are below overhanging parts.

A 40-foot Fowler box car with the first paint application. Eventually, this car will be decaled for the D&RGW.

Most of the car sides and ends are coated along with the underframe. These single sheathed cars have many more nooks and crannies to paint than the double- or steel-sheathed box cars.

Acrylics Vallejo paints are used on most of my models. They offer a wide assortment of colors and their Model Air line of paint does not need to be thinned for airbrush use. The brown cars were painted with a custom mix using burnt umber as a base. Ten drops of Model Air aged white was added along with thinner in a 1:1 mix. A drop or two of Liquitex Flow-Aid was added and the paint was mixed in the paint cup with a small spatula. Coffee stirrers are great for this task.

An Iwata Eclipse HP-BCS airbrush with a 0.5 mm needle and nozzle cap combination was used with 25 psi from the air compressor to paint these models.

The reddish stock car was painted with another custom mix. The Vallejo rust is close to a red oxide. Eight drops of Model Air scarlet red were added to brighten it up a bit. Thinner was not needed with the Model Air paints, but a drop or two of Flow-Aid was added and the mix was stirred.

At left is the newest Westerfield kit, an S-40-1 stock car. In the middle is a 36-foot Dominion-Fowler box car that will wear Canadian Pacific lettering. On the right is the 40-foot Fowler box car.

The first paint application was done in the morning and the four cars sat for a couple of hours. During that time, I realized one of the cars should be a brighter orange-red shade, so it was set aside for another day. It won’t be stripped. A new color will just be applied over the first coat, but I won’t bother repainting the underframe.

I broke out a hair dryer and used it to accelerate the paint drying time. Each of the three models received about 30-45 seconds with the hair dryer on low. A couple of hours later, wheel-less shop trucks were installed so they sit upright for the second paint application.

A gloss coat was applied the next morning using Future floor finish, now known as Pledge® Floor Care Multi Surface Finish. This was applied using the airbrush and no thinner was necessary. Clean up is a snap with 91% Isopropyl alcohol.

To recap, the models were washed one afternoon and dried overnight. About 10:00 the next morning, the first paint application was sprayed. A hair dryer was used to accelerate the drying time about 1:00 pm and a second paint application was done by 5:00 pm. A gloss coat was applied about 10:00 the following morning. Easy-peasy.

Decals are next! I hope to display one or two of these models at the upcoming RPM-East prototype modeler meet.

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4 thoughts on “Fresh Paint!”

  1. Hi Eric,

    Pleeease! How can we convince you that the corret term is “Dominion” car. You can bet good money of the fact that your DRG&W 40 ft. car did NOT use the Fowler patent and chances are better than even hat even the 36 ft. car didn’t. Only about 10% of the cars constructed to that design utilized the Fowler patent as it was quickly found to be expensive and unnecessary. Guess we can blame my old friend Al Westerfield for the widespread, though incorrect. use of it.

    Hmmm. perhaps I need to send a good old fashioned Vermont winter snow storm to you as a reminder.

    My best, Don Valentine

    My best, Don Valentine

    1. Allen, I use a craft paint that comes close to the color. I have a few bottles of red and brown shades to touch up details on different models. I do not worry about an exact match as weathering will blend it together. – Eric H

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