Repaint cars or not?

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Repaint cars or not?
Posted by The Gnome on Saturday, June 30, 2018 6:40 AM

A classic toy train layout has bright shiny colors.  But I know some people repaint their cars.  Some use weathering to increase realism.  Some might change the livery on their cars to match a theme.  Others repaint to restore a beat up classic.

While I realize this is a matter of taste and personal preference, I am curious about preferences.  Does changing the livery violate the car in some way?  Do most people prefer a new look to a weathered look?

Jim R
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Posted by cwburfle on Saturday, June 30, 2018 7:59 AM

As The Gnome wrote, it's all a matter of personal preference.

I am a collector with a dash of operator thrown in. I want the items in my collection to be 100 percent original, even with lots of boo-boos.
On the other hand, I don't mind having repainted items among the stuff I have to run.

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Posted by LL675 on Saturday, June 30, 2018 8:38 AM

I'm the guy at the shows on the floor looking thru trhe junk boxes. I have plenty of ready to run trains, so I hunt for beat up cast off trains that I can bring back to like. Some for as little as $1 a piece, just needing some trucks to be nice. Or rusty gold that I can redo to my liking. It's fun, and that's what a hobby is meant to be. Plenty out there for all tastes.


It's a TOY, A child's PLAYTHING!!! (Woody  from Toy Story)

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Posted by rtraincollector on Saturday, June 30, 2018 9:56 AM

I'm the one who likes originals but if it is all chipped up will repaint, No necessary like original, but to a nice beauty. I recently ( since the begining of the year ) have done two, one was a 812 Gondola that someone repainted black ( and it looked like with a rag ) the other was a 817 Caboose that was all chipped up and held no real value other than for parts. I sent both to a friend to blast the paint off, and he primed them for me also to ensure no rust or anything by the time I finally got to painting them, ( very common for them to sit for a few weeks, sometimes in my humid garage. ) The gondola is now a bright orange close to what Lionel used on some of the smaller gondola's, the caboose is still a two tone green but not a actual match to what Lionel originally had them. 

Now I do have a lot that have nics in them but not the real bad ones. I have a box of cars in parts right now, that will be sent to be blasted adventually. They where real rough. I need to go thru them as a couple were missing some parts and I may just have to remove them as if your missing a door or something, it might be better just to keep them as parts pieces. 

That's another question. Who will takes parts from another car that is missing parts a to make a working complete car even thou the it's not actually the correct part ( ie a boxcar door to replace a stock car door. even thou there different as night and day but are the same size. )

Life's hard, even harder if your stupid  John Wayne

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Posted by sir james I on Saturday, June 30, 2018 10:07 AM

Beat up, do it. But I would never redo a car/engine that still has a reasonable amount of life still on it.

"IT's GOOD TO BE THE KING",by Mel Brooks 

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Posted by KRM on Saturday, June 30, 2018 12:06 PM

Yes it is a matter of taste and choice.

I have re-painted cars and Engines for a theme, But I looked for donor car or shells that are in need of help. I would not use something of great value.

Joined 1-21-2011    TCA 13-68614

Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling


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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, June 30, 2018 4:31 PM

Again, you only have to suit yourself.  But before you repaint you should do as much research as you can to determine how common or scarce that particular article is.  If it's scarce, it's best left alone.  If common, go for it!

For example, Lionel post-war 2-6-4's are as common as dirt, so if someone wanted to repaint and reletter one I wouldn't see the harm.  On the other hand, a Lionel 2056 Hudson was in production for only one year, so that one would be best left alone, unless it's an absolute wreck. 

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, June 30, 2018 5:46 PM

It is a matter of taste.  I have found that I do not have time to repaint stuff, so I buy nice originals.

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Posted by The Gnome on Saturday, June 30, 2018 6:29 PM

Today my first Menards car arrived.  I like it but now I have a mix of liveries.  If i change the livery on a Menards car, value is not an issue because they are not expensive.  Its entirely a matter of preference.

But i am undecided.  Wabash is my favorite and making Wabash decals is easy.  The vintage cars on the shelf are safe, but the newer ones on the layout might get paint jobs.  Or maybe not.

Jim R
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Posted by Penny Trains on Saturday, June 30, 2018 6:48 PM

The only thing I don't like to repaint is shells that were lithographed, like these coaches here:

The locomotive from the set was a complete rust bucket and even though it's somewhat rare, I had no problem going after it's remaining original paint with a vengance:

But I do make exceptions.  The great Monorail experiment:

Big Smile  I'm Cuckoo For Choo Choo Stuffs!  Big Smile

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, June 30, 2018 8:10 PM

Great work Becky!

And a wise decision to leave those lithographed cars alone and to "go for it" with the locomotive.

And the home-made monorail is outstanding!

As we used to say in the Marines, "It's a judgement call."

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Posted by JaydenWood on Wednesday, July 04, 2018 8:06 AM


It is a matter of taste.  I have found that I do not have time to repaint stuff, so I buy nice originals.


And you are satisfied with all  trains that you buy, don't you want to add or change some small details? Well, that the trains was looked more realistic?

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