Re-lettering and weathering a Steam Locomotive

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by TomPM, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Lately I have been narrowing down the focus of my model railroading to basically the anthracite roads of eastern Pennsylvania. As a result I have been going through my collection and identifying out of place items.

    One of the locomotives I came across is an IHC 2-6-0 Camelback lettered for C&O that I purchased a few years back. At one point I thought about selling it. However, after successfully changing road numbers on an IHC 0-8-0 switcher I decided that I could take it a step further and change the road name. I had set of Walthers decals for Lehigh & New England steam locomotives that I used for the numbers on the 0-8-0 switcher.

    I did a little research and found that the LNE had camelbacks but most of them were 2-8-0s or 0-8-0s. They had no 2-6-0 camelbacks. Since I cannot find any reasonably priced 2-8-0 camelbacks, and for the moment kitbashing or scratch building are not possibility I would have to exercise some model’s license and “capture the spirit of modeling”.

    Here are some photos of the locomotive in the C&0 livery.



  2. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Wheels and trucks

    First step is weathering the trucks and wheels on the tender. I remove the wheels and paint the trucks with Folk Art Charcoal Gray.


    After the gray has dried I dry brush Americana Burnt Sienna.


    For the wheels I first apply a coat of Americana Burnt Sienna. I then apply a coat of Folk Art Asphatium. I then seal the wheels with Dullcoat.


    Add the wheels back to the trucks.

  3. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Removing the Old Lettering

    Next step is to remove the lettering. For this I brush on some Walthers Solvaset. I let the Solvaset sit on the lettering for a few minutes. I then take a gray ink eraser and slowly and gently go over the lettering. If the lettering does not come off right of way, I apply another shot of Solvaset.


  4. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan


    After all the lettering is removed and the area dry I paint over it with Folk Art Licorice. I let the paint sit for a few moments and then take a paper towel and wipe off the paint. I do this several times to build up the color back close to the original. Once I am satisfied I seal the locomotive with Dullcoat.

    Next I carefully brush paint all the railings with Folk Art Licorice. It takes to two coats to cover them. Once they are done I seal the locomotive with Dullcoat.



  5. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Applying Decals

    I then carefully cut out the decals I need. For this project I will need the fried egg logo for the tender. I select the number 48 because the roster I have for the LNE has no number 48 on it. I will need large numbers for the cab, a “medium” set for the rear of the tender, and a small set for the sand dome.

    I use distilled water to separate the decal from the decal paper. I use the distilled water because our local tap water is too hard and it will damage or discolor the decals. I then place the decals where I want them. I use the folder corner of a paper towel and bring close to the decal just touching any water around the decal. Through capillary action the paper towel soaks up the excess water. I then carefully apply Solvaset. Of course, the decals moves. I now carefully use a toothpick or a dull X-acto knife blade and quickly and gently move the decal back into place. You have to be fast because the decal solution is melting the decal and get only one chance to fix it.

    Once all the decals are applied on one side and I am satisfied with their locations it is time to get up and walk away for several hours.

    Once I am satisfied that the decal is dry I check it for bubbles. If I see any I take a very sharp hobby knife and make a very, very small slice in the bubble. I then apply a coat of Solvaset. I then get up and walk away.

    I then repeat the process for the other side and the rear of the tender.


  6. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Once all the decals are dry I seal it with Glosscoat. After the Glosscoat dries I seal it again, this time with Dullcoat. Doing it this way helps to hide the edge of decals.



  7. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    For weathering I set up some pieces of EZ-Track and hook them up to a power pack. I clean any paint from previous projects off the rails. Next I get my airbrush and paint ready. I mix a batch of Folk Art Charcoal Gray thinned 1:1 with blue windshield washer fluid. I attach airbrush to the hose and turn on the air at 45 psi.

    I place the locomotive on the track. I use a broken piece of a hydrocal culvert as a bumper and place in front of the locomotive. I then slowly apply power to the locomotive while holding it in place until the drivers begin to move. Once I am satisfied with the speed of the drivers I slowly let it go making sure the bumper remains in place and keeps the locomotive from moving.

    Now with the drivers moving I quickly make several passes of the airbrush over the drivers and the bottom of the locomotive. I then do the other side of the locomotive and the front and rear. I then let the paint dry. Depending on how heavy I want the weathering I will repeat the process several times. Once I am happy with the grime build-up I clean the airbrush.

    Now with a paint solution of Folk Art Licorice thinned 1:1 with blue windshield washer fluid I quickly and lightly make several passes over the top and roof of the locomotive and tender.

    After the paint has dried I give the locomotive and tender a final sealing coat of Dullcoat.

    The last thing is sprucing up the coal load in the tender. The plastic load that the tender comes with looks too plastic. I take some white glue and apply it to the coal. I then use a Q-tip or and old paintbrush and cover the entire coal load. Next I sprinkle Woodland Scenics coal over the entire load. I make sure I add a few droppings to the fireman’s platform.

    Once the coal has dried the locomotive is done!



  8. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Great Job Tom :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  9. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    That's great Tom! It would have been a shame not to keep that loco. I've always liked camelbacks for their distinctive shape. Nice work adding the company logo. I don't think its too big a stretch to include this one in the fleet. Modeler's liscence does indeed cover this one.. . I checked the rule book! :) Nice weathering too!
  10. DeaconF

    DeaconF Member


    I understand the concept of having the wheels moving when airbrushing paint, but don't you get the paint on surfaces that you don't want paint on. ie electrical pick-ups and on the drivers, and on the contact part of the wheels? or is this something to worry about? I assume these are extremely light coats. and what about the speed of the wheels - How Fast?? I have bought a few steamers that have been weathered but have hessitated doing it myself until now. thanks for the tips. Frank
  11. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    A beautiful painting, lettering and weathering job, Tom! :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

    And a very good tutorial, too! I think this is a hot candidate for the academy. Thank you for showing us your techniques!

  12. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan


    As far as the speed goes I make it as slow as it will go and keep a constant speed.

    I have not had a problem with the paint getting on the contacts. This is fifth steamer I have done this way. After I am done I do check the wheels for any paint. You are right the coats are very light and I do many coats to build up the effect.
  13. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Great job Tom. That looks awesome, quite a realistic overhaul. I too have always admired camelbacks... and we can always make exceptions.

    I love how you detailed the driving wheels. It really makes me think twice about touching my like-new 2-8-0. (Although I couldn't nearly pull off a finish like that!) :D
  14. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

    Looks great Tom! I have a couple of those IHC Camelbacks that I'll someday get around to re-lettering for CNJ.

    For what it's worth, I think Mantua used to make a 2-8-0 Camelback, you find them sometimes on e-bay.
  15. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Great work Tom and a very useful tutorial!!!!

    But I'm wondering why all the Dullcoat applications? Wouldn't one at the end of the process work just the same, or is there a difference?

  16. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Thanks everyone!

    There are a couple of reasons for the Dullcoat applications.

    • I am using water based paints and if I don't use the Dullcoat to seal the paint the decal solution can wash the paint off. Lost a few decals before I got wise to that. :cry: :curse:
    • The locomotive is very shiny and slick. The Dullcoat tones it down and the paint seems to adhere better.
    • If I don’t spray the metal handrails with Dullcoat or rough them up in some way the paint won’t adhere to them.
  17. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Excellent work Tom.
    Makes me wish I was into steam locos...Oh well!

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