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Repainting and Relettering an RDC

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Repainting and Relettering an RDC
Posted by deckroid on Friday, January 24, 2020 11:21 AM

I have a Life Like Proto 1000 RDC that I picked up at a swap meet years ago.  It was my first attempt at installing a DCC chip. I loved this RDC as it ran so well. I started to people it and install shades when I had to put away the trains for a while.  Now that I am starting to get back into the hobby, I wanted to pick up where I left off... namely relettering the New Haven RDC to Northern Pacific.  Last weekend, I got my work bench set up with my tools and started in on the RDC.  As you can see in the last two pictures, I did go a bit too far removing the paint, so I will either touch up or just strip it all down and start over... 

 

Here is my boggle... The front and rear look like this...

 

 

I have tried to use the same method of removing the lettering, but it is taking it all off down to the plastic.  I might just have to break out my new handy dandy air brush kit (when it arrives...) and start from scratch. 

 

Here are the sides where I took off the lettering. As you can see, I did get a bit overzealous with the Mr. Clean Miracle scrubbie.

 

 

 

Any thoughts or comments are welcome! 

 

George

 

PS - Also, does anyone know how to make newspapers? While going through my People Stash, I found 3 sitting people with arms out, but I don't know how to make a newspaper look like a newspaper. Wax paper, real paper, real newsprint... all my tests look... weird.

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, January 24, 2020 11:29 AM

If you already had the ends cleaned up, I'd say just letter over that letterboard. However, the ends may be tougher and a repaint may be in order.

For a newspaper, try to find some of that thin tissue paper that's used in packing shoes, etc. The texture may be more what you're looking for.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by cx500 on Friday, January 24, 2020 1:14 PM

In my opinion the Proto RDC did not have a good representation of the stainless steel so it might be more satisfying to repaint the whole car. 

The newer Rapido and also the old Lifelike Canada's production of the Proto car are both much better.  They are essentially identical.  I also repainted an Athearn RDC which matches them, but that was about 40 years ago and I have no idea what I used.

John

proto

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Posted by dstarr on Friday, January 24, 2020 6:23 PM

This is the old Athearn Budd Liner.  That's Athearn factory paint, far as I know.  I didn't paint it and I doubt the previous owner did either.  I did the headlights.  You might want to lay some black wash on the air grates up on the radiator blister.  The seats look pretty good thru the windows.  You might want to put in some passengers.

 

 

 

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Posted by deckroid on Friday, January 24, 2020 7:32 PM

I decided to bite the bullet and start fresh. Popped the windows out and put it in a container with 90% isopropyl alcohol over night.  Then I will attack it with my soft tooth brush to get the crevices clean.

 

While this was in storage for 10 yrs I see that my window shades fell off. Well, that was to be expected. My garage isn't a very hospitable place in the summer or coldest winters here.  But this just affords me the opportunity to change then out and put new ones on. Also I am looking into installing LED lights for and aft and 2 inside LEDS for interior lighting. And putting more people in.  I have a seated engineer that might work after some trimming.  

 

The only thing I am having trouble finding so far is a decal sheet with US Mail Railway Post Office lettering.

 

George

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 24, 2020 7:59 PM

I have a Proto1000 RDC still waiting, was it a big task to add a decoder?  I haven't searched around yet, since you have done one, thought I'd ask.

Mike.

 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, January 24, 2020 9:32 PM

I painted my Athearn RDC bodies with three different colors of Testors Metallizer. The roof, sides, and radiator housing are all silvers with different properties.

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The snapshot of the work in progress is not the best, but it lets you see the effect a little bit.

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-Kevin

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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.

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Posted by deckroid on Friday, January 24, 2020 11:57 PM

mbinsewi

I have a Proto1000 RDC still waiting, was it a big task to add a decoder?  I haven't searched around yet, since you have done one, thought I'd ask.

Mike.

 

Mike - It was a pretty easy job even for me, the master of ugly soldering.  There are 3 points marked with an X that you need to "cut" through if you are going DCC.  I used a pin drill and made holes. 

 

Looking online, I found this nice additional info... which is cool, as I intend to put in some LEDs as well.  I just wish I had this info when I was first monkeying with this.

 

George

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Posted by deckroid on Saturday, January 25, 2020 12:00 AM

Kevin - That looks fantastic! Two questions... Did you paint with a brush or airbrush or mixed? and... Is that for any particular road name or your own? Ooops... I guess I should read your tag line!

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, January 25, 2020 7:24 AM

Thanks for the link!  Yes

Mike.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, January 25, 2020 7:31 AM

deckroid
Did you paint with a brush or airbrush or mixed?

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Testors states that the Metalizer paints must be airbrushed, so that is what I do. I use a Paasche model H with the #3 tip. Experience has taught me that these paints must go on lightly over a gray primer. I spray these at 12 PSI and use the metalizer thinner and sealer.

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deckroid
Is that for any particular road name or your own?

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My three RDCs are going to be interesting, because the Athearn models have such a terrible drive. I plan to have a Santa Fe inspired set of two with a drive from an SW1500 switcher on one truck hidden in the baggage end.

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My other will be a single unit with a Northwest Short Line drive truck under the floor.

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This is going to be a long project.

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-Kevin

.

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.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, January 25, 2020 6:08 PM

deckroid
I decided to bite the bullet and start fresh. Popped the windows out and put it in a container with 90% isopropyl alcohol over night. Then I will attack it with my soft tooth brush to get the crevices clean....

George, once it's cleaned-up, there are some good suggestions for repainting it to be found HERE.

Wayne

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Posted by deckroid on Sunday, January 26, 2020 9:43 AM

Thank you Wayne! I will be taking pics and posting my progress. I cannot claim to be any good at this but I will do the best I can.

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Sunday, January 26, 2020 11:08 AM

Doc Wayne, thank you for the reference Big Smile

Hi Deckroid!

Looking forward to seeing your results. Enjoy; and take your time.

I hope you don't mind but since you're metalizing, one tip I always respectfully suggest to modelers:  Make sure that your gray foundation coat is as SMOOTH as possible. The smoother it is the more realistic your final results will appear.

Below is a shell that I did for a friend of mine a while back. I always check my basecoat with an LED flashlight ($3 at Harbor Freight). If I make any noticeable "schlubs" (and I've had my share Dunce) I fix them before proceeding.  The results here were not perfect, but appeared decent:

Before spraying any model, I'll take a few minutes and practice on a "test piece" first. It's worth it. I collect discarded CD's, plastic peanut can lids, and CD cases. They're excellent for helping adjust your airbrushing and paint mixing techniques.

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by BRVRR on Sunday, January 26, 2020 12:01 PM

I have a Life-Like Proto 1000 RDC3. I purchased it a long time ago. It was new in the box with a sparking silver finish. I stripped and painted it in NYC livery and added a few details, mostly on the inside. I painted the interior, installed a homemade light board, and put in a few passengers for effect. I installed a Digitrax DH123 decoder for motor and light control.  The striping is Microscale and the weathering was done with Bragon powders and Dulcote.

Tags: BRVRR , NYC

Remember its your railroad

Allan

  Track to the BRVRR Website:  http://www.brvrr.com/

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Posted by deckroid on Friday, February 14, 2020 6:31 PM

*** Update ***

 

Alrighty then... here we go!  First and foremost, I MELTED my RDC shell.  Yes, you read that right... I MELTED my original shell. See, I read about soaking the shell in 91% alcohol. I did just that and for 48 hours there was no change. The black lettering came off, but nothing else. Not the overall silver/grey or the end cap white with red. So, I washed it off and tried paint thinner. 48 hours later, still no go.  Frustrated, I went to my local hardware store and got paint stripper.  The only thing they had was a gel.  I painted it on 1/2 of the shell and waited 20 minutes. I knew something was wrong when I picked up the RDC and the ladders slid ... SLID ... off the shell. I think I used every swear word in every combination I could possibly think of and might have even have made up my own.  Looking at the front label it said it was water based and worked on wood, metal, glass... on the BACK label in teeny tiny red lettering at the bottom it says quite clearly Do Not Use On Plastic.

Hoooo boy. After a couple of days to cool down, I went back into my stock and found my back up Budd RDC and took it's shell off. I don't like this one as much because of the missing RPO. This is more of a passenger only RDC, but it's all I got and I want to see this project through.

Anyways...

Here are some photos ...

 

 

Here is the backup shell in alcohol. Let it sit over night and using the electric toothbrush, that silver paint came right off.

This is after the first coat. For a base layer I used glossy black Rustoleum 2X for plastic.

And here is after the 2nd coat. I let it sit for about 30 mins between coats and am currently waiting over night before putting a gloss clear coat on top.

Wayne and AntonioFP45 were HUGE helps on this, thank you guys SO much. I think I read posts for 2 days straight.  The Alclad II went on real smooth and I just went slow and took my time. I am happy with how this ended up. So Far. The clear coat tomorrow.

 

George

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, February 15, 2020 2:41 AM

Nice work! Too bad about the one shell melting, but at least it wasn't something rare.         

Mike Lehman

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, February 15, 2020 9:22 AM

Why black as a base coat?

 

Henry

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, February 15, 2020 9:53 AM

BigDaddy
Why black as a base coat?

It's what your suppose to use when using the Alclad finish.  Depending on the finish you want, there are other color primers you can use.

Check out Antonio45's thread:

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/248634.aspx

It's part of the Alcad finishing process.

Mike.

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Posted by deckroid on Saturday, February 15, 2020 11:58 AM

BigDaddy

Why black as a base coat? 

 

I admit... I was confused too. But then I read more and more about Alclad and watched some videos...

HERE is a video about a modeler using Alclad II Chrome on some car parts

 

As to why I used a rattle can of paint, let me explain.

I am a beginner airbrush user. I have borrowed an airbrush before when I painted my rails or did some weathering, but this is my first time owning an airbrush.  Not knowing anything, I decided to start cheap and go up. I picked up a Harbor Freight kit and played around for a bit.  I realized that brush just wasn't for me. I picked up an Iwata Neo CN and I really enjoy it. As for undercoat paint, I have 2 diffrerent "Glossy Black" paints. One is Testors Glossy Black and the other is Liquonix Ivory Black. After thinning the Liquonix, it wasn't going to work.  I tried the Testors, but it was more shiny than glossy.  I decided to use the rattlecan as a test.  I think it did a good job.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, February 15, 2020 12:19 PM

I'm going to be doing the same to some passenger cars, I might rethink buying the Alclad primer.

Your RDC looks good!

Mike.

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Saturday, February 15, 2020 9:21 PM

Deckroid,Big Smile

that RDC is looking nice! Good going and Congratulations!

Looking forward to seeing the finished results.

Regarding the black base: I covered this on the Santa Fe dome car thread. 

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/p/195132/2131266.aspx

Remember: Alclad II's creator was orginally targeting aircraft and cars....not SS passenger rail cars. He had asked for input from model railroaders and had not gotten much feedback.  So, normally for metalizing most vehicles, the black base is the way to go. 

HOWEVER, we are trying to imitate the Budd 300-series stainless steel. Using a black basecoat / primer foundation will yield a finish that is slightly darker than the prototype. I remember speaking with modelers that complained about that. 

As an ex-body shop tech at a transit agency, I went into experimentation mode and eventually realized that the basecoat color was the key! Experimented with colors and found that grays basecoats, light and dark, were the way to go. To keep it simple, I suggested to modelers to go with Scale Coat's NYC Dk Gray (for newer or well maintained appearances) and SC NYC Lt Gray (for warmer, more aged appearances since it contains a small amount of red tint)

The experimenting worked as I was able to compare one of my cars to a similar prototype, and the results were promising. I shared my results on forums and with Alclad.

But by all means take the route that makes you smile the best! I hope that this won't be your first metalizing job! The more you do it, the better your results and you'll be smiling quite a bit.

I'm very sure now that "Silver" on a model stainless steel passenger car will never look the same to you again. 

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, February 16, 2020 5:45 AM

Bad Bummer on the shell melting, but it looks like you are moving forward now. Looking good.

.

-Kevin

.

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.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, February 16, 2020 6:52 AM

AntonioFP45
As an ex-body shop tech at a transit agency, I went into experimentation mode and eventually realized that the basecoat color was the key! Experimented with colors and found that grays basecoats, light and dark, were the way to go. To keep it simple, I suggested to modelers to go with Scale Coat's NYC Dk Gray (for newer or well maintained appearances) and SC NYC Lt Gray (for warmer, more aged appearances since it contains a small amount of red tint)

Thanks for that, AntonioFP45. Yes

Mike.

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Posted by deckroid on Sunday, February 16, 2020 6:48 PM

I realize the chrome might be a shade darker than normal, but the photos I have found of NP Budds are all "in service dirty". Very few photos have that pollished sheen found after a good cleansing.  I do plan on weathering them, putting grime on the trucks and diesel smudge on the vents.

 

But Antonio is right... I will never look at silver cars the same again.

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Sunday, February 16, 2020 7:36 PM

Hi Deckroid.

So glad that you're enjoying your first "Stainless Steel" project! Thank you for the kind words. I enjoy metalizing and am glad to help fellow modelers anytime.

Respectfully, I should have clarified a bit better regarding the appearances that we can target.

A key for imitating Budd, PS, and ACF stainless steel surfaces with Metalizer is not the sheen level......it's the color tone of the ss surface, regardless of cleaniness and and depth of reflection (or lack of it)

 

Whether clean & shiny.....dirty & faded....aged or restored, Budd SS generally exhibits a medium gray tone, Pullman Standard a "bluish gray tone, and ACF and "whitish" gray tone.

I think that your car is going to look really sharp once you finish weathering it!

I hope you plan on doing more units.  Good news is that P1K RDC's show up on ebay at affordable prices. I usually hunt for passenger cars on ebay that are in the least popular paint schemes (since I'm going to paint strip them anyway). They usually wind up selling for lower prices. That's how I've built up my "stainless steel fleet". Wink

 

deckroid

I realize the chrome might be a shade darker than normal, but the photos I have found of NP Budds are all "in service dirty". Very few photos have that pollished sheen found after a good cleansing.  I do plan on weathering them, putting grime on the trucks and diesel smudge on the vents.

 

But Antonio is right... I will never look at silver cars the same again.

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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