How to Respray your Model Railway Locomotives
Author: Mark -
"Transrail" (forum member)
For this tutorial I
will be using a Heljan Class 47 to demonstrate the techniques
and practices I use to respray my locos. I have divided the
tutorial into several parts, so each part can be done
individually at any one time. The whole process of spraying a
loco can take a week from start to finish and that doesn’t
include detailing, adding transfers and lights, etc.
Please read the ‘You
Will Need’ sections at the beginning of each Part to ensure you
will be able to complete the tutorial successfully (or so that
you know what you will need to purchase in order to complete the
24 Hours (minimum)
must be left between coats to allow the paint to dry and to cure
to the loco surface. Taking shortcuts will result in poor
1: Paint Removal
You will need the
following before starting Part 1 of this tutorial:
• A baking tray (one
that you’re not going to use in the kitchen again).
• An old tooth brush
(not the wife's, she will be able to taste it - Believe me!)
• Some Dot 3 brake
fluid (or similar paint removing product).
• Your loco.
Remove the body from the loco chassis and store the chassis somewhere safe and
out of harms way.
2. Now remove all windows,
handrails, lamp irons, windscreen wipers, etc. and anything else that is
removable from the body.
The loco is now ready to be stripped of its paintwork. Pour an adequate amount
of brake fluid into your baking tray to cover one side of your loco. I have
tilted my tray by wedging something underneath the one side of it. This simply
allows the fluid to run to the end of the tray that the loco will sit in. I
recommend you add a small amount of fluid to the inside of your loco body to
make sure it doesn’t react with the plastic. Then, if you’re happy with the
test, place the loco into the tray.
4. The time you leave the loco
body to soak will depend greatly on the make of the model you are using. This
Heljan Freightliner Class 47 will need to have a long soak as Heljan use a
screen printing method for the logo on the side of the body. I am leaving it in
for 20 minutes. You can always lift it out to see if the paint is flaking.
5. The next job is to use your
old tooth brush to scrub the loco body. Don’t be tempted to use a new tooth
brush, its bristles will be too hard and may scratch the body side.
Rinse away any residue under the tap and continue scrubbing. You will now be
able to clearly see how much paint has been removed, and how much still remains.
You will need to repeat steps 4, 5 & 6 until the loco is completely bare.
Make sure your loco body is rinsed thoroughly under running water and then dry
by dabbing with kitchen towel. Leave to dry for 24 hours before continuing onto
Finished loco body, ready for primer.
[back to the top]