Gloss coat and RPMs

A couple models have inched forward in the finishing process. I recently painted and decaled a couple of box cars. I employ several steps to move a model from the undecorated state to one that is ready to weather. The B&O M-15b seen in this lead photo has a fresh gloss coat.

After I build a model, I wash it using a soft toothbrush and Dawn dish detergent that has few additives. After it dries, I use a soft brush and wipe down the model with 91% isopropyl alcohol. Then it is ready for the spray booth for a car color using Vallejo acrylic paint. The B&O brown starts as burnt umber with 12-15 drops of aged white mixed in with a little airbrush thinner and a drop of Liquitex flow aid.

After the model dries and receives a positive inspection, a gloss coat is applied to prep for decals. I still have my old bottle of Future floor wax from a decade ago. The product has had a few name changes. It is currently branded as Pledge Revive It Floor Gloss. It was previously known as Pledge Floor Care Multi-Surface Finish.

The product is an acrylic finish that is self-leveling. I’ve brushed it on some models for spot decal work, too. It does not need to be thinned to use in an airbrush. Clean up is easy with 91% isopropyl alcohol. Do not purchase a product labeled as a floor cleaner.

Once the gloss coat dries, it’s time to decal the model. I wait a day or two after decaling to apply another gloss coat to seal the work.

Two box cars are moving forward in the process. This Wheeling & Lake Erie car was started a decade ago when I lived in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. It’s an old Red Caboose Pennsy X29 kit that was stripped. The underframe was modified to reflect the W&LE prototypes, which were slightly different from the PRR x29 or B&O M-26 cars.

The model has sat for years in an undecorated state. A friend recently created and printed custom decals for as-built lettering appropriate for these box car kits. It was now time to push this model across the finish line. It was painted with a slightly darker shade of the B&O brown. The same painting steps were used here. A flat coat is next then some weathering.


This flurry of activity has been inspired by upcoming RPM events. I’m headed to the Mid Atlantic RPM and also RPM Chicagoland in October. Eight events are set for the next few months and I encourage you to make plans and attend. It’s a great place to learn, see some great modeling, and meet other modelers. Check the RPM calendar, make plans, bring models, and be inspired for your next project.


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3 thoughts on “Gloss coat and RPMs”

    1. Galen, I wash my hands well before moving the dried models to the paint booth. I have used nitrile gloves and need to use those more with future projects. – Eric

  1. Eric, were you “chagrined” when you realized it had been a decade since you started the W&LE model. Would it be possible to add a photo of how you did your underframe given the difference compared to X29/M-26 types?
    Bill Welch

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