How to Respray your Model Railway Locomotives
Author: Mark -
"Transrail" (forum member)
For this part of the tutorial I will be
continuing with the Heljan Class 47 which I used in Part 1.
This part shows the
methods I use to apply primer to the loco body. Any good airbrush instructions
will follow this practice, however, this article is intended as a guide only.
Therefore, always follow the airbrush manufacturers instructions carefully.
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 tutorial).
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 results. When I say coats... I mean, primer
is one coat. Yellow cab sides is another coat. BR Blue is another coat. Etc.
Part 2: Primer
You will need the following
before starting Part 2 of this tutorial:
An airbrush. Usually, the
more expensive the better! You will get what you pay for. Mine is a Badger
and cost approx £89.00
Primer - I use Railmatch
'Universal Primer White'. No. 506. Cost - £1.80
A roll of modellers masking
take. Tamiya or Eurostar are both very good makes. Approx cost - £1.50
A mask - spray is dangerous!
Enamel Thinners - I use a
tin from Howes that costs £3.10.
A gas canister - Mine's a
large size and cost approx - £7.00
The cardboard tube when your
kitchen roll runs out.
Your loco body.
First thing is to mix the paint so it is ready
for the airbrush. Your airbrush may come with a jar that attaches to the
airbrush to hold the paint. Pour your primer into the jar, only filling the jat
1/3 full. Then add the same amount of thinners so the mix fills the jar 2/3
Make sure you don't over fill the jar!! Your manual will state the
maximum amount you should fill the jar for your airbrush!
Now use a 'stiry stick'
to stir the mix thoroughly. It should thin up pretty quickly.
Do not attach the jar to the air brush yet!!
Attach the airbrush to
the gas canister (following instructions on the canister). I usually leave the
canister out in the sun while I prepare myself a drink, etc. Alternatively, if
it's cold, I leave the canister in a bucket of warn-hot water for about 5
minutes. This simply builds presure in the canister and makes for longer
Do not leave the canister out in the sun for long periods of time. It goes
without saying, there's enough gas in one of these canisters to blow the roof of
Ok, we're ready to
I usually (as the
airbrush is clean) dip the airbrush tube into the thinners bottle/jar and
attempt to spray. This just confirms that the airbrush is working correctly
before we attach the paint jar.
I have masked the ends
of mine. If you remember from Part one... I cheated a little to keep the yellow
ends. You won't need to do this.
Now place the kitchen roll into the underside
of the loco body and make sure it is in securely. Once a covering of paint is
applied, there's no touching the loco.
So... attach your paint
jar to the airbrush!
This picture shows the
technique used to spray the loco. Your manual will say the same. This technique
applies to all coats/colours. Do not be tempted to start spraying from the
centre of the loco, you will get blotches and spitting marks. Basically, hold
the airbrush trigger before you move over the loco and release the trigger after
you have passed the end of the loco. This gives a nice even finish.
The following pictures show the technique at
various stages. The key to a good respray is to do a little at a time. Don't
expect the loco to be white in 5 minutes.
Once you are happy that the loco body is
totally covered in primer (get outside in the best possible light), leave the
loco to dry for at least 24 hours. Even if the paint appears dry, the paint
won't have properly cured to the loco body.
But hold on, you're not done yet!!!
You need to clean the
airbrush thoroughly. If you don't, you might as well chuck it in the bin. Use a
clean jay cloth (or similar) with a little thinners on, to clean out the jar.
When the jar is totally clean, fill it 1/3 full with thinners and attach it to
the airbrush. Spray the thinners onto a piece of cardboard, etc. just to clean
out any left over paint in the airbrush. Once you are happy that it is perfectly
clean, you will need to clean out the jar again and also wipe round the airbrush
to remove any stray paint.
Look after your
airbrush and you'll be able to use it time and time again.
That's it for now....
Now you can look forward to Part 3.
So... would anyone like
to guess what the livery of this class 47 will be?
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