Wayne, those modifications that you made are most interesting. When you were done, I assumed you repainted the entire loco. Can you explain that a little more for our benefit?
Thanks, Rich. The loco was painted but undecorated when I got it, so painting was fairly simple. After the modifications were finished, the boiler, cab, and tender shell went into a sink full of warm water and dish detergent, and then all parts were rinsed thoroughly and set aside to dry. The frame didn't need to be disassemble in order to airbrush the new front end parts (mostly brass) with Floquil grey primer, and I probably primed the boiler, cab, and tender, too, as all had new detail parts and white styrene modifications. I followed my usual routine for painting steam locos, as outlined in the Word document below. Note that some areas apply more to brass steamers than to r-t-r ones, as this loco's running gear (drivers, side rods, and valve gear) didn't require any more than a light overspray with the appropriate colour. The replacement trailing truck did get a coat of paint, though.
PROCEDURE FOR PAINTING STEAM LOCOMOTIVES
Before painting anything, it should be clean and free of grease, oil, fingerprints, dust, fuzz, and hair. I usually disassemble the loco as necessary, but except for the motor, everything goes into the sink with hot(ish) water and liquid dish detergent. The main areas to be careful are the insulated drivers and, occasionally, insulated tender, lead, and trailing trucks. The insulation is often a paper-type product and shouldn’t be left in the water more than a few minutes. Other than that, you can let it soak for a while, then rinse well and allow to air dry, preferably overnight.
For painting steam locomotives, I use Floquil paints, applied with an airbrush. I like to mix three or four shades of black, starting with Engine Black. For the cab and tender body, I lighten it slightly with the addition of some Roof Brown and Grey Primer. Some of this “lightened black” is further lightened by the addition of more Roof Brown and Grey Primer, which is used on the boiler, smoke box front, pilot, cylinders, appliances (pumps, compressors, etc.) and tender deck. An oily black is created by adding Roof brown and Platinum Mist to Engine Black , suitable for the running gear and frames of both loco and tender. Finally, for the smoke box and firebox, I use Engine Black, with Roof Brown, Grey Primer, and a little Reefer Orange and/or Caboose Red.
Here are the paint proportions which I use:
CAB & TENDER:
5 parts Engine Black
1 part Roof Brown
1 part Grey Primer
BOILER, SMOKEBOX FRONT, & APPLIANCES:
3 parts Engine Black
1 part Roof Brown
1 part Grey Primer
SMOKEBOX & FIREBOX:
1 part Engine Black
3 parts Roof Brown
1 part Grey Primer
Plus a little Reefer Orange and/or Caboose Red to suit
FRAME & RUNNING GEAR:
4 parts Engine Black
1 part Roof Brown
1 part Platinum Mist
I almost always pre-paint some parts of the running gear using a brush, especially the frame, drivers, and rods and valve gear. Much of this can be done without disassembly, but don’t hesitate to disassemble if necessary. Most of these areas are tough to cover using spray only - the spray will eventually get in all those tight spots, but meanwhile, the adjacent areas will receive too much paint. When this pre-painting has fully dried, re-assemble the loco into sub-assemblies: running gear (frame, drivers, rods and valve gear), superstructure (boiler and cab), tender body, tender floor and frame, and tender trucks, lead, and trailing trucks. I usually remove or mask the motor, and disengage the worm from the worm gear - this allows the loco’s chassis to be rolled back and forth in your spray booth, ensuring even coverage of the drivers and other moving parts. Yes, I said brush paint them first, but this overspraying evens-out the finish. Other than axle bearings, which are fairly-well shielded by the drivers and frame, I purposely do not lubricate any of the other moving parts, such as the side rods and valve gear. This is because the oil quickly migrates to areas which you intend to paint (see Step 1). After the paint has dried but is not yet fully hardened, roll (or run) the loco back and forth a few times - this will remove paint from any bearing surfaces. After the paint has fully cured (a minimum of 24 hours) you can lube all these moving parts as required.
When airbrushing, the colours are applied to the loco (dis-assembled to whatever degree necessary) without masking, although I do use a card or piece of paper to shield adjacent areas, as required, switching back and forth between colours, as necessary, as I paint.
On areas such as the smoke box and firebox, where pipes or handrails run across (but not touching) these hot surfaces, use a suitably-sized brush to touch up the colour to match that of the other pipes or railings. The same goes for any appliances, such as feed water heaters, which would have been painted.
After the paint has cured for several days, it’s ready for lettering. I generally use dry transfers, so no clear coat is required on the flat Floquil paints. When using decals, I airbrush only the areas to be decaled with a fairly shiny semi-gloss finish - usually the cab sides, tender sides and rear, and air tanks and cylinders if they’re to receive lettering for test data. This finish, of course, is allowed to harden fully before applying the decals.
Once the loco has been lettered, I apply various clear finishes, again, applied without masking. The cab and tender sides and rear get a spray of fairly shiny semi-gloss, while the boiler, smoke box front, pilot, cylinders, and appliances receive a coat of “less-shiny” semi-gloss. An even flatter semi-gloss is applied to the running gear and frames of the loco and tender. The tender deck and interior of the coal bunker get an overspray of Dullcote, while the firebox and smoke box get no clear coat, as, to my eye, the dead flat finish of Floquil gives the effect that I want.
I usually re-assemble the running gear, then lightly weather it and the bottom of the boiler before re-assembling the entire locomotive and tender. I don’t weather my locos too heavily, so I usually also install any window glass and headlight and marker lenses at this time, but if you like heavy weathering, it may be best to leave the glass and lenses until after weathering.
For weathering colours, I again use Floquil, mixed to whatever I think looks appropriate: I usually use at least four or five different colours or shades of colours, and all are thinned, using lacquer thinner, about 70% to 90%. It’s much easier to build up layers of different colours than it is to try to remove “too much”. For “soot” along the boiler top and cab roof, straight Engine Black, thinned severely, works well for me. The running gear is weathered with the loco moving in the spray booth, either under its own power or pushed by hand, with the motor disengaged.
After the loco has been weathered to your satisfaction, don’t ruin it by applying Dullcote over the entire model - the contrast in the finishes between the weathered and unweathered areas is one of the things that contributes to making your weathering look realistic.
Probably more than you wanted to know, but thanks for asking.