Painting Undec Locomotives

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by dannyceralde, Jan 28, 2002.

  1. dannyceralde

    dannyceralde New Member

    I saw some great pricing on an undecorated Kato SD-80 online ($55). I like the way the UP paint scheme looks and was wondering if you fellows could give me some background on painting and applying logos and other lettering to undecorated locomotives. From pics I've seen the paint scheme doesn't seem that complicated.

    I have a background in plastic modeling (until I made the switch to model railroading;) ) so I can paint using an airbrush. Any resources for what paints to use for UP colors? Is the lettering done with plastic model type decals or is it some other method? Sources for the logos and lettering?

    Thanks in advance,

    In addition, you guys are a great resource and much appreciated!
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Dan - There are manufacturers of paint in UP yellow, etc., and also of decals of lettering/striping/whatever for various locomotives, etc. A good site to see what is out there is
  3. BDC

    BDC Member

    If you want to get technical, the UP doesn't run the SD80. They have the SD90/43. The difference is the placement of the headlights and taillights (yes, I know that's not the proper name) and some of the molding details. Conrail bought the SD80 (the only customer) and the engines are currently owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern. You can find SD90's for about $10 more with no price difference between the dec.'s and undec.'ed. I have a UP SD90 and it is a very smooth machine. I saw the top detail of the CP SD90 and decided to get that one just for grins. And I'll be grinning until the credit card bill arrives.:p
  4. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member


    I have an undecorated Kato SD80MAC, and it is an AWESOME model! The detail is fantastic, and it runs like a champ.

    I've thought of doing the exact same thing you're thinking of; and although it isn't "prototypical" to have a Union Pacific SD80, it would still look cool.

    The SD90 model uses the same mechanism, so it should be just as impressive. But that price is hard to beat...

    My current plan is to decorate it in a custom paint scheme for a fictional railroad. I haven't decided on how it will look, but I'm curious as to how to do the painting, myself...


    P.S. - If you're talking about the deal at Hobby Circle, give them a call first and make sure they still have them in stock. I've ordered things online from them on two separate occasions and didn't receive them because they had run out of stock (and didn't update their website).
  5. dannyceralde

    dannyceralde New Member

    Ouch! Didn't know that only Conrail had the SD80. I was going by Spookshow's commentary on the SD80 and SD90 engines and it wasn't really clear as to which of the engines was which in his photos. Thanks for keeping me straight on this.



    Being totally ignorant in this area, would it be normal to see a Conrail train on eastern and western parts of the US? I haven't decided which setting I going to do in my layout, but I'm leaning to the west.
  6. billk

    billk Active Member

    Dan - I'll let someone else answer your Conrail question - I just want to point out that it's your railroad and if on your railroad there exists a Union Pacific SD80 it's fine by me!
    Bill K;)
  7. WM-N-fan

    WM-N-fan Member

    I think the best thing to do is to go to a show. You can get Kato SD-80's decorated (I got one in Conrail) for 60$.
  8. BDC

    BDC Member

    I have seen a few Conrail/CSX SD80s behind UP locos when I was in Leavenworth, KS. (Just visiting, not staying) That's about as far west as I have seen either brands.
  9. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Yep. Conrail's trackage is in the northeast. If you wanted to be prototypical, the odds of seeing a Conrail loco in the west is slim to none. But, like the other guy said, it's your railroad.
  10. Mishka

    Mishka New Member

    Painting and lettering an undecorated locomotive isn't very difficult, but disassembling the shell to remove clear pieces can be aggravating at times. I use Testors brand model paints(bottle or spray) or one of the model railroad brands(Floquil or Scalecoat) and airbrush the shell. There are several companies that have railroad decals,or you can buy the supplies to print your own on the computer.

    The important thing is to take your time, and remember that no one gets perfect results every time.

    If you do paint your SD80 as UP, I recommend painting the shell yellow with the airbrush, then use a brush to paint the gray. I have done this a couple of times with good results.

    You may wish to check one of the recent issues of N Scale Railroading magazine(last issue I think) for an article on disassembly of the KATO SD90(similar to SD80 shell).

    Good Luck!
  11. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    So I was over at my father-in-laws for brunch on Sunday, and what should he bring out??? A spare airbrush, *complete* with compressor. Apparently he upgraded a little while ago, and gave me his old one.
  12. nmtexman

    nmtexman Member

    I thought UP had leased some SD80's from FURX or one of the other leasing agencies.

  13. BDC

    BDC Member

    I've heard rumors that Kansas City Southern bought a pair of SD80s recently. They wouldn't be too hard to paint, and they could very easily wind up on UP tracks.

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