Painting Boxcars- Spraypaint or Brush?

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by Cannonball, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I'm bidding on a couple of cheap boxcars on eBay to repaint and customize with my railroad's logo. The patter is pretty basic. Black boxcar with white latters. I might get crazy and do a couple of white ones with black leters just to shake things up a bit.

    Which is better for painting the base color (Black) a spraycan or brush? I think my letters will be stenciled on since my stupid printer doesn't print white so decals are out.
  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Decals aren't out. I just made white lettered decals with Testor's white backed decal sheets. The trick is that you create your decal on your computer using a background color and white letters. My ink jet prints the background and leaves the white letters from the paper's white background. Its sometimes a challenge to custom match the background color on the computer to the color of a locomotive or car...but BLACK shouldn't be a problem! :)

  3. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Sounds good!
    Where do you get your decal paper from?
  4. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I like to spraypaint better, quicker and usally comes out better for me. I paint small details and spray large areas:thumb: :thumb:

    Just my opinion
  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I ordered them directly from Testors. Google their site and then type "decal paper"in the search window. They have clear and white backed. Clear is for any color decal work. You need their spray decal bonder too if you use an ink jet printer. They have a decal kit with a cd but its mostly for model car graphics and wasn't helpful to me.
  6. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I'll do both, depending on the color I need. In both cases I paint a coat Of Krylon 1311 Matte Finish as it takes out the brush strokes that inevitably show up.
  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    OK, Thanks! :)
  8. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Brush strokes are what I'm affraid of which is why I thought it might be better to spraypaint. Of couse, then there's always the possiblity of drips and runs. Ah, heck with it. I painted a guitar once. I think I can paint a boxcar. ;)
  9. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I painted several boxcars with a brush and in my opinion they turned out well. Especially if you are going to weather them... brushing them with the faded colors you want anyway is the way to go. My thinking is, why strive for a "factory-perfect" coat of paint when you are just going to fade it and dirty it up and rust it up anyway?

    I brushed on some thinned water-base gray craft paint as an undercoat, and then put on three or four layers of thinned final color craft paint. I also made each layer a slightly different shade by mixing in grays or variations on the color. By using several coats of thinned paint, you can avoid the brush marks. Another plus is there will be some moderate variations of color on the car, which is a good start on weathering.

    As for decals with white lettering, Ralph is right on. Print the background with as close a color match as you can get to the body of the car. Cut the decals following the letters... there will still be a little of the color showing. Then, once the decals are on the car and micro-sol-ed and dried for a day or so, you can take your paint and blend over the decal border so it matches the car. You may also have to take some white paint and go over the white letters a bit, as they are a tad translucent. None of this needs to be perfect if you are doing a weathered car. Once this is done, give a couple of light coats of dulcoat which will help hide the edges of the decals.

    This worked for me, give it a try!
  10. COMBAT

    COMBAT Member

    ME too. :thumb:
  11. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    I have to admit I am not skilled enough to brush-paint a model. I tried before, and I always leave a mess of brush marks, uneven layers, and thick coats that obscure molded-on detail.

    That's why I airbrush.. I find an airbrush gives me more control over the thickness of the layer of paint I wish to lay down, and consequently I don't obscure detail with thick coats.

    Still, I do see some people who are magic with a manual paint brush, and I applaud their skill! Bottom line: Try both, see which one gives you results you like. If you are gifted with a manual brush, stick with it. If you get better results with a spray can or airbrush, use that. :thumb:
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If your logo is your avatar, it looks like it is just simple block lettering. Check out microscale, you can get various railroad style lettering in a variety of colors including white.
  13. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Cool. Thanks for the tip! :)
  14. pooka2hot4u

    pooka2hot4u Member

    one thing you should do to minimize brush strokes and thick layers is thin the pain with water, and use a soft brush. it can be synthetic or real hair, just as long as its soft.
    now thinning the paint will most likely make it less opaque so the original lettering and paintjob will stick through unless you put on several layers (which kills the point of thinning to preserve detail) so you should spray on a very thin coat of white as a primer layer and then paint on top of that.

    i am by no means even close to a decent modeler but i have done some 1:35 scale tank models before and i brush painted them all. absolutely no brush marks because i used thin paint. Tamya paints already come pretty thin so i would personally use those if i ever decide to paint a train.

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