refinishing will be to equipment
manufactured 35 to 65 years ago, it is important to make a decision
something other than desire to make it “look new.”
that it is not rusty or displays other signs of corrosion and the
finish is in good condition, the value of the item could be affected by
repainting or restoring. Careful retouching may be in order or perhaps
waxing of the finish with the proper wax.
couplers (when fastened to frame or body), lamp sockets, roof screws,
brass-aluminum trim, doors, painted-lithographed body inserts, window
and any other parts that will interfere with cleaning, painting and
case of freight and pre-war locomotives, carefully remove the frame
PAINTED PARTS: It is productive to inspect all parts at this
time. If plated parts are not too rusty, tumbling may restore them to
appearance. Order replacements for those parts beyond help. Painted,
stamped, car inserts, unless badly rusted, can be carefully washed with
dishwashing liquid or soap and a cotton swab, thoroughly dried, then
using a small brush (00 or 000) or a toothpick. Several thin coats over
bare area with drying in between is preferred.
STRIPPING: (Diecast parts
must be processed differently than sheet metal parts.) Most old
on sheet metal will dissolve or come off in a hot (200degree) solution
dishwasher cleaning compound. Approximately 2 tablespoons in a 4 to 6
or can. This cannot be an aluminum container; it must be steel or
steel. Patience and a parts
brush are necessary since the paint does not always come off readily.
CONDITIONS USE ANY PAINT REMOVER OR STRIPPER UNLESS YOU ARE WEARING A
SHIELD OR SPLASH PROOF GOGGLES. If the dishwashing compound does not
paint then the piece has been repainted with an unknown type of finish.
instance, the finish must be stripped in a commercial water-wash
the methylene chloride type obtainable at paint and hardware stores.
CAUTION-MASK OR GOGGLES APPLY.
cleaning or derusting with an air blast abrasive is another method of
paint. This must be done with extreme care in the hands of one skilled
work, since over-blasting may result in perforations, unrepairable
and/or destroying of details. This also is one method of cleaning
is complete, wash thoroughly in water and detergent. (Mix 1:1 dish
detergent and water in a spray bottle. We use several brands including
Green”, “Palmolive”, “Joy”, etc.) Of utmost importance is the removal
cleaning residue, and a thorough hot water rinse will help in drying.
Paint, glue and other coatings do not adhere
well to neutral or alkaline surfaces, especially metal surfaces. This
reason for the universal use of phosphoric acid compounds, of which
Prep” is one that is popular with auto-body refinishers. If a surface
product is used, and it is recommended, it must be a thin coat and it
absolutely dry before painting. If the surface treatment coating is
enough to be seen or has runs it may be cleaned off with thinner. This
affect the treated surface and all of this is actually a conversion of
surface and all of the coating could be removed without affecting the
treatment. NONE OF THE INFORMATION IN THIS SECTION APPLIES TO DIE
ZINC, OR ALUMINUM, OR COPPER, OR ALLOYS OF THESE METALS.
PRIMER: (If the
object to be painted is
to be painted immediately after abrasive cleaning, do not handle the
with bare hands. Cotton washable gloves are best for this purpose.)
primer suitable for model work. Some primers will deposit a coarse coat
not level without sanding. Spray several thin coats, allowing the coat
between successive sprayings. Spray at a distance that is comfortable
that does not run, and is not heavy in spots, light in others. Apply
enough material to cover the work evenly, excess primer will not add to
finish unless pits must be covered and sanded. Use 400 or 500 wet or
water for sanding, or 0000 steel wool. When the primer has dried and no
gives off thinner fumes, the work may be finished dried with heat,
aluminum casting or their alloys after being
cleaned should be coated with a zinc-bearing primer. This will be a
that is almost transparent in some brands. Heat drying of these
reputed to be dangerous in that stresses are relieved and cracking
reasonable drying temperatures (150degrees) this appears unlikely
the castings are not exposed to radiant heat. This is strictly an owner
Having gone this far, no colors or finishes
other than those prepared for toy trains should be used. Colors may be
on a basis of preference, but more properly should be a match for the
color scheme. Spray at a distance that is comfortable for you, that
run and is not heavy in spots, light in others. Try the color on
before spraying (shirt cardboards are great for this). Spray the
bodies first so that over-run does not ruin the finished exterior. Use
strokes as much as possible and far enough away so as not to have
edges. This is a chance to check if the color is correct. If it is not,
strip the interior and start over; get the right shade and proceed. The
should be finished second. The body may then be mounted in the holder
for painting and then the exterior finished. After the finish has dried
longer gives off fumes, this could take days, the work may be finished
When painting roofs, finish the inside first, then the outside. Allow
time for drying between coats.
RUBBLE: Runs are
caused by spraying too close to the
work, holding in one place, respraying before previous coat is dry. Can
be, when using airbrush or spray gun, too much thinner or insufficient
pressure, dirty gun, liquid volume too much for size of work.
caused by dirt, body oils, other oils or creams on the work. Were the
used hospital clean? RUBBLE, all kinds of dust and dirt that somehow is
imbedded in the finish. This is one of the reasons for not laying on a
coat, now possibly some careful work with 400 or 500 wet/dry and 0000
wool can level these imperfections which you may then give a light
hopefully dust free.
AND SLIPS: Almost
almost, may be varied slightly without serious consequences. We are
we have done it with the intention of encouraging others to save old
not keep soldered joined parts in cleaners too long. Two hours is
since cleaners etch solder. Poor joints will eventually fail regardless
parts are stripped, it is a good time to clean up seams on castings,
dents and straighten bent areas.
the newly finished treasure to a complete set of screws, throw away the
scarred hardware when the new hardware is in hand. Refinish trucks,
lamp holders, pickups, couplers, etc. or have the refinished.
hardware and plates can be finished to a fine patina by first carefully
stripping in MEK or lacquer thinner, then scrub gently with 0000 or
wool. Done properly this
remove the PAINTED LETTERING on the name and number plate and produce a
luster on brass trim. Wash,
dry, dip in thinner, dry suspend with fine wire, dip and withdraw from
choice of clear lacquer. Thin the lacquer 1:1 for starters, dip several
(3 or more) – drying thoroughly between coats.
solder or plumbers soldering paste or other acid fluxes will corrode
left on the work after soldering. Always neutralize acid flux with an
cleaner followed by cleaning with water. Remove rosin flux with
alcohol. Do not
use rosin core solder with acid flux or acid core with rosin flux.
PAINTING: Painting with a
gun allows for a good consistent finish but does require some
self training. With a little practice you will have extremely
thinning of paint for use with airbrush or
sprayer use “NAPHTHA” as a thinner. This solvent will thin & allow
paint to “flow” much better than the “mineral spirits”. An air brush
much more solvent & subsequently more coats for a complete job. I
only use an airbrush to repair a ‘long scratch’ or something similar on
an F-3 plastic body. A small sprayer such as the Paasche #62 is highly
recommended for painting pre-war cars, loco etc. These items will
require more paint and use of sprayer will only require modest thinning
tablespoons) to a 3oz. jar of paint. Coverage is excellent & will
coats at most.
spraying use full deliberate passes as close to a right angle as
release paint before starting across the work, do not release the
past the work. Hold the gun at a comfortable distance as long as the
good. Do not hold the nozzle or gun so firmly that cramps develop, just
securely. Typically you want to hold the gun 10” to 12” from the work
distance that gives the most satisfactory, even coating is the one to
Several light coats allowed to dry in between coats will produce the
results. Trying to apply a full wet coat from the spray gun usually
runs in the wrong place.
ALWAYS SPRAY IN A WELL
BE CERTAIN THERE ARE NO OPEN FLAMES UNCLUDING WATER HEATER AND FURNACE
OF COURSE NO SMOKING.
ideal situation for spraying is to have the use of a spray booth.
booth, at least a window fan or ventilator to carry the fumes outside
recommended. Be careful that the fumes will not drift into another’s
that no cars or other objects, that attract specks of paint, are nearby.
may be accomplished in several ways and all begin with air drying. All
dry from the outside in, trapping solvents under the skin. Given a
the solvents will migrate to the surface and evaporate. Finish drying
done in an electric oven as follows: set the oven to warm or its lowest
setting, 150 to 200ºF is the temperature desired, allow the oven
to come to
temperature and cycle for 15 minutes, turn the oven OFF, place the work
dried in the oven, close the door and leave it closed for approximately
minutes. Do not turn the oven ON with the work inside since the oven
radiate infra-red and can heat the work to 400ºF and higher,
finish and can melt the solder. Repeat the oven drying cycle two or
more if necessary. Reflector
or red heat lamps can be
used for drying. Be certain
they are far enough away from the work so that they do not burn the
surface temperature of small thin objects like trains can be raised to
400º F with infra-red heat lamps. The ideal drying device is an
process oven, intended to dry finishes. Finishes may be dried more
in this type oven but the baking must follow drying or wrinkling may
the corners and other areas of thicker coating. DO NOT USE
A GAS OVEN.
A FEW WORDS
ON COLOR MATCHING
determination of color match of paint is
subjective, especially when comparing aged to new pigments. The
surface and its condition also affect the finish shade. No primer,
different colors and overpainting a previous color will affect final
shade. Paints made from the same formula may not be the same shade from
time; tolerances in density of color in both natural and manufactured
vary, as do condition of formulation, application and atmosphere
time of application. Relative humidity at time of spraying has a
effect on shade or tint. Toy manufacturers and paint formulators of the
half of the century did not have multi-stimuli colorimeters and it is
if they would have invested in such instruments if available, further
not obsessed with color matching from batch to batch much less decade
decade. Mention of color is missing from pre-war catalogs except in
and does not appear as a regular specification until the plastic era.
Lionel used some thirty odd colors, of which five were green, four
blue, three ivory; all sensitive to “fading.” Since the greatest color
occurs in the first three to five years after application, it is
any of these colors, except black, are available “factory fresh” for us
as a reference today. The aging that occurs in paints is caused by
agents. First, there is an initial oxidization in the drying process
take several months; second, are atmospheric contaminants which get
everything not in a sealed impermeable container; third and a
fader, are ultra-violet rays that will change colors even in a shaded
direct sunlight or sunlight is not required. With these things in mind,
should be obvious that deciding which shade is closest to the
difficult. In most cases COLLECTOR COLOR uses the inside color,
roof as a color chip for formulating colors. The pieces used are from
owners or other pieces we have assurance have not been repainted.
color tint for each sample that we see would make it impossible to ever
say the colors are never right.
We try to get as close as possible to what
we believe the colors were most of the time. After all, a company that
convince its customers that its product is “richly enameled in
colors” when in reality that finish was full of runs and drip-offs and
sets the cars did not match, did not have as a major worry, the shading
finish on its products.