Stripping paint from Athearn cars

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Russ Bellinis, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I'm doing a bay window caboose in Southern Pacific for a young boy that my friend at the local hobby shop and I have kind of "taken under our wings." The lhs didn't have a S.P. bay window cabbose in stock in kit form, because S.P. is so popular here that you almost have to be waiting at the door when products arrive to get anything S.P. They had a bunch of bay window cabeese decorated for L&N that I think the owner got a deal on from the local distributor who was stuck with them because no one in Southern Cali does L&N. He was selling them for $3.75 each. I bought one and started soaking it in Pine-Sol. The paint came right off, but the ink that was used to pad print the L&N logo and car number seems impervious to it! I may have to lightly sand the logo and car number to give the Pine-Sol a way to get under the lettering and disolve it!
  2. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    If the paint is anything like that of a Life-Like loco, I recommend using Denatured Alcohol (available in places like Home Depot). It won't "goo-ify" the plastic like other paint stripping products. Just soak the shell in the alcohol and with a toothbrush, rub the paint off. When you are done, wash the shell in soap and water and let dry. Should be ready for a new coat! :D

    Word of advice: Wear gloves when working with the alcohol. It will suck all the moisture from your fingers and you will feel weird for a day or two.

    If that doesn't work, then you will have to sand it. (Last resort!)
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I've used denatured alcohol, but when Pine-Sol will disolve the paint it doesn't dry out the plastic and make it brittle like denatured alcohol. I left the shell in the Pine-Sol while I went to church this evening, when I got home just now, I put the shell in warm water and scrubbed it a bit and the letters came right off. I just found it interesting that the lettering which is pad printed over the paint on the Athearn shell was the last thing to disolve off the body! The other advantage to using Pine-Sol is that if I don't wear gloves, my hands get really clean after using it! Since I'm a mechanic, anything that gets MY hands clean is a bonus!
  4. SuperSport

    SuperSport Member

    Hi Russ, I've had some success with Easy Off oven
    cleaner also. Spray it on and let it soak in a Baggie
    until you can scrape off the factory paint. Wear gloves
    and a mask when spraying the stuff on. I know what
    you mean as far as mechanic's hands. I tinker on my
    '86 Monte Carlo SS too and after the initial cleaning I usually get them cleaner doing the dinner dishes!!!
  5. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Hey Russ, a word of caution from experience buddy, watch that Pine-Sol when leaving it to soak. I had an F-7 that I soaked in it in a jar for 3 hours (Athearn shell) and the Pine Sol not only softened the plastic to an almost rubber consistency, it shrank really bad. It ruined the shell needless to say, and even though I was making a WP freight F7 out of it, and Greg Elems can tell you they were a nasty looking lot, even for a WP motor, this one was way too far gone. I didn't have the heart to chuck it immediately I was so disappointed (I had scored it as a Bev-Bel custom paint, brand new in the box, powered for $2.00 at a local church's yard sale) that I kept it around for a week or so. After a few days, the plastic re-hardened, but became very brittle. It just cracked and crumbled like a dead leaf. It was brand new clean Pine-sol and not an off brand, soaked in a clean jar, so I don't know what happened, but just thought I'd share this experience as a word of caution.

    Good luck on the hack, sounds like it'll be a very much appreciated gift to encourage a young model railroader into a life long hobby. :D


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