Painting questions...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by tecnomuzik, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. tecnomuzik

    tecnomuzik New Member

    I have a plastic locomotive that I am in the process of stripping and then I'm going to repaint it. Would it be better to air brush it or can I get by with spray paint? Any brands you can recommend?
  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I'm guessing most folks will vote for airbrush and say that canned spray paint goes on too heavy, covers details, and is hard to control. I, however, have used spray paint and am satisfied with the results. Granted, I use it on inexpensive locomotives and not on anything over the $40 range! :)

    An example:

  3. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    I am NOT an airbrusher (yet) however the results speak for themselves. For a cheap alternative, grab the wally world airbrush with compressed air.
  4. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Airbrush, of course!......however, where that may not be possible, there is one trick, used with "rattle cans", that may help get a better finish. Set the can in a bowl of hot water, and allow the can to warm up before spraying. The heat will help the paint mix more thoroughly, and it will, generally, flow better warm, than cold. Also, make the first couple of passes, "off the model" to insure the spray tube is cleared of any "less than desirable" paint.
  5. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    I would vote air brush as well. It's a bit intimidating at first, but once you get a little practice under your belt, you'll find it's actually easier to control the paint as opposed to a can. You don't need anything expensive to get your feet wet (pun intended), a simple external mix airbrush will do to get you started.
    I would recommend any of the water based paints like Accuflex or Poly-S (Polyscale) as their easier to clean up. I use Floquil paints now and am a complete convert after painting with Polyscale for years.
    Either way you decide to go, good luck with it and post some pictures when you're done.:thumb:
  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    water based paints sure are convenient, and work great for many things. But if you live in a dry climate and use water-based paints in an airbrush, the paint is mostly dry before it hits the model! In my experience living in the arizona desert, the cleaning water-based (acrylic) paints out of an airbrush is more difficult, because quite often the paint dries inside the airbrush before I can get it disassembled to clean it. Once it is dry, the only way to get it off is by scraping and picking.

  7. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    That's partly why I switched to Floquil. Being solvent based, it doesn't cake on the end of the airbrush leading to spitting. And I don't live in Arizona.
    Without experience, though, you can quickly ruin a model with solvent based paint. Having said that, Floquil has re-formulated their paints to be less aggressive on plastics. It gives a great finish and goes on smoothly.
  8. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I use Floquil almost exclusively...although I'm going to try some Scalecoat for painting some brass models. I've learned from professional model painters that decals adhere better to the Scale coat stuff...although I'll still use Floquil for almost everything else.
  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    While I agree that an airbrush will give you the best finish, especially with solvent-based paints like Floquil, another alternative is brush painting, with water-based paints. Long before I owned an airbrush, I preferred to brush paint railroad models. If a gloss finish was required, I would use a spray can, but usually only as a clear coat. The locos shown below were done with the no-longer-available PollyS water-based paints, applied with a brush.




    In the case of the TH&B locos, I painted a couple dozen units in this manner, for a local hobbyshop, and they sold as fast as I could paint them, so the quality of the finish was more than acceptable.
    However, I did find that some colours were easier to apply than others, and some gave good coverage, while others were poor. I don't like water-based paints for spraying, though, and I find clean-up much more difficult, too. I find that PollyScale paints seem to cover well when applied with a brush, although I don't have many instances where this technique is required. I don't recommend applying lacquer-based paints with a brush if you're working on styrene plastic, though, as it affords too much opportunity for the solvents to attack the plastic. While you need a suitable paint for use with a brush, the key element is to use the best quality brush that you can find. Don't skimp on the tools, and make sure to use a brush properly-sized to the task at hand.

  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    As far as spray painting with a can you can get good results if you hold the can at least 12-14" from the model and make quick even passes and not stop in the middle of the model.

    I painted this with a can of Floquil SP Red.

    This one I use a airbrush..

  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Brakie, those turned out very nicely.

    Everything i have done has been with a brush and craft paints. You can get a decent finish if you thin the paint down some and use several coats. Also, make all the strokes in the same direction, generally vertical. For freight cars which will be weathered anyway, some variations in the paint will be just fine, if not downright desirable. I also haven't had any problems with decals on the flat paint either. yeah, a few air bubbles here and there, but some microsol and a pin do the trick.
  12. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I'm with brakie.
    Though some of us don't have a airbrush, or the facilities to use it with, some of us have to resort to spray cans.

    This is my Southwick and Winsted GP38-2, completely done using Krylon "Fusion" paint. I really like the way it goes on and decaling is great also. Though, I am having a hard time finding railroad colors, or anything close.

    Attached Files:

  13. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    I just use acrylics and a hand-held brush. It works nicely.

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