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Paint and/or weather brass locos recommendation?

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  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 115 posts
Paint and/or weather brass locos recommendation?
Posted by ChrisVA on Thursday, September 16, 2021 7:49 AM

Can anyone recommend a good vendor/person that paints brass locomotives? Weathering a plus.  Painting is not something I want to take on.



  • Member since
    December 2015
  • From: Shenandoah Valley
  • 8,316 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, September 16, 2021 4:58 PM featured a number of videos of Boyd Reyes, back in 2019 and earlier. 

He has a facebook, Linkedin and youtube page but I can't find any recent posts or contact info.   Brasstrains would know if he is still active.


COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 12,109 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, September 16, 2021 6:24 PM

When I learned what so-called "professional" painters charged for paint jobs, it seemed to me to be simply nothing more than a rip-off of those modellers who didn't have the confidence to do their own painting.
I'm not saying that their work was unsatisfactory (in most cases, at least), but the prices never seemed to me to be justifiable.

I got more-or-less drawn into "professional" painting, but at the time, had no clue about what a paint job should have cost.  I quickly learned that I didn't especially like doing the work, so began to increase my price, in order to dissuade customers, but it didn't seem to deter any of them.

I later learned that $25.00 for a detailed and customised, and multi-coloured diesel was ridiculously low, and increasing the price in $5.00 increments to deter buyers, was equally stupid.

I escaped that routine when Atlas came out with a r-t-r version of that loco in the same paint scheme.

I have painted every locomotive that I've ever owned, and most of my 600 freight and passenger cars (many later sold-off for much more than I made doing custom paint jobs for others).

Nowadays, I still do all my own painting and painting for a very small circle of long-time friends...they pay for the paint only, and only if I don't have it in my own stock. 

What I learned from that experience is that good friends are worth more than any ridiculous amount of money that I might make from ripping-off someone who needed a paint job.

Chris, I wish you luck on finding a good painter that will help you for a price that's acceptable to you.


  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 14,151 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, September 16, 2021 11:44 PM

Painting is not something I want to take on.

Chris, I am simply going to wish you "good luck" on this search.

My friend Randy had a handful of N scale brass locomotives custom painted back in the 1990s when it was easier to find these people. Even then the cost was high and completion was slow. Now, there does not seem to be anyone doing it much anymore, and the guys that do charge high $$$ and have waiting lists.

The couple of guys that were doing custom paint around here are no longer with us.


Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 1,340 posts
Posted by PRR8259 on Friday, September 17, 2021 11:58 AM

As someone who actually has disassembled an Overland Models brass Alco C-420 and painted it and then re-assembled it but had some issues, I would say a good professional painter IS well worth the financial investment.

However, they are not cheap, but I believe you do receive what you pay for in the end.

I recommend David Long at Kelly Creek Backshop in Bozeman, Montana, especially for steam.  He is semi-retired but still painting some models.  It typically takes 90 to 120 days based on the last time he did one for me (less than 2 years ago) this is to get a model through his queue or backlog of work.  As a former NW Shortline employee with more than 20 years experience working for NWS, he can regear anything and can light things for a fee.  His painting is absolutely first rate.  I believe the phone number is 406-585-0024.  His work is good enough that he does not need to advertise.  He gets enough work based upon word of mouth.

If you want passenger cars done, or probably complex diesel paint schemes, go with Boyd Reyes if you can get him.  David Long prefers to do steam or less complex diesel paint schemes.

Hal Maynard, whose work commands a premium price at is retired from professional painting.  The models they sell are ones from his collection that he is painting/regearing/etc. and then is slowly selling off through Brasstrains.  There are people who collect Hal Maynard models specifically.  Almost all his work is steam power.  He is a very nice person to deal with, as is David Long.  I never had anything painted by Boyd Reyes, but he is excellent.

There are other painters out there, but at least one has a two year backlog of work, so if you order a paint job today it would take two years to get it back, and that individual seems to be particularly arrogant and not as good as the others whom I have named above.

I agree with the above post that good painters are now hard to find.  Bob Hunter was excellent for steam, but unfortunately died too young.  He worked on the NS steam engines, when they were still running.  His models command a good price.

Howard Zane now pays a friend very good money to do the lighting installations and painting of some of his models.  One could always contact Howard directly and ask about using his friend.

Some of these painters are $50 an hour now, or will easily end up exceeding $500 for one engine if they do flat rate pricing--and yes, that is factually what I have paid.

Good luck.


  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,913 posts
Posted by snjroy on Friday, September 17, 2021 12:09 PM

You can also phone a few local hobby shops - some are connected with painters. The cost should be directly related to the complexity of the job - dismantling and paint-wise. There is also decaling that involves material and time. Time, including waiting time, costs money, it's as simple as that. What loco are you thinking of getting painted?


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