What train set to buy
Basic Tools
Base Board
Railway Track
Track Conversion
Building a Layout
Layout Designs
Members Layouts
Digital Control (DCC)
Electronic Projects
Plastic Kits
Rolling Stock
Service Sheets
Harry Potter
Thomas Tank Engine
7mm Narrow Gauge
Railway Software
Photo Gallery
Classified Ads
Railway Dictionary
Links / Sponsors
Terms & Conditions


Building Lighting
Paint Conversion
Rock Faces
Hornby Skaledale
Railway Stations
Finishing Touches

Electronic Projects

Railway Crossing
Building A Signal
Street Lights

Rolling Stock

Bachmann Wagons
Hornby Locomotives
Hornby Carriages
Hornby Wagons
Lima Locomotives
Lima Wagons
Loco Modification
Wagon Modification

Hornby Range Lists

Hornby Range 2006
Hornby Range 2007
Hornby Range 2008
Hornby Range 2009
Hornby Range 2010
Hornby Range 2011
Hornby Range 2012
Hornby Range 2013
Hornby Range 2014
Hornby Range 2015
Hornby Range 2016
Hornby Range 2017

How to Respray your Model Railway Locomotives (Part 2)

Author: Mark - "Transrail" (forum member)

Bachmann Locomotives

Bachmann Coaches

Bachmann Wagon

Hornby Locomotives

Hornby Coaches

Hornby Wagons

Heljan Locomotives

Lima Locomotives

Lima Wagons

Locomotive Modification

Wagon Modification


Part 1:    Paint Removal
Part 2:    Primer
Part 3:    First Coat of Colour


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 full.

NOTE: 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 spraying periods.

NOTE: 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 your house! Shocked

Ok, we're ready to spray!



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.

Model Railway Locomotive Respray / Repaint

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!

Spraying Technique!

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.

Model Railway Locomotive spraying Technique

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.


.Model Railway Locomotive Respray / Repaint

Model Railway Locomotive Respray / Repaint

Model Railway Locomotive Respray / Repaint

Model Railway Locomotive Respray / Repaint

Model Railway Locomotive Respray / Repaint

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?

[back to the top]


New Modellers Shop - A Model Railway Shop - Stocking model railway wagons, coaches, carriages, electric diesel and steam locomotives, power and control equiptment, point motors, train packs, scenery, signals switches, and much much more. Supplying model products along with reviews and advice. Railway Pictures - Railway photograph gallery covering all areas of railway traction, buildings, and trackwork. Extensive photo library, which is being added to weekly. Upload and share your own images to the site using its inbuilt upload features. Model Scalextric Shop - Slot Car Shop - www.newslotcarmodellers.co.uk - F1, A1, Ralley, Road, Endurance, Touring Cars, Track, Parts, Spares New Slot Car Modellers - A slotcar website for people new to the hobby. Supplying practical advise and information to slot car modellers and racers as they develop their hobby. New Website Designer - New Website Designer's aim is to give basic practical advice about building your own website. The site takes you step by step through the process of picking your domain name, setting up your hosting, and building your website.