Wrapping up a Repaint Project

I do like to finish projects. This was a relatively simple one, strip and repaint a locomotive. The only significant change I made was to add a set of Nathan K5LA horns as the cluster of horns is very prominent on the roof of the cab on GO MP-40’s. This project was a repaint for a display of GO Transit models for the Toronto Railway Museum, as we have not been able to source a modern GO loco for it. I understand our post may have brought someone forward to donate one, so now we will have a couple, which is always a good thing.

When I previously wrote about this project, it was my struggles to strip the shell, a commenter suggested another product, Super Clean, a degreaser that also will apparently strip paint. I decided for $10 it was worth a roll, my experience was that it was not effective, but that certainly doesn’t seem to align with the experiences of others online when I searched. I obviously saved the product to try again down the road the next time I need to strip something. My sense is this paint from whatever factory was doing Trueline Trains manufacturing was about the most baked on ever.

This is more of a photo gallery series post, so with that, walking through the process of prepping and painting the locomotive:

Trying a new stripping approach with a product suggested by a commentor. It did not seem to have any impact on the Trueline Trains paint that wouldn’t come off with my usual approaches. But, as you can see from the primer, eventually it was clean enough to spray.
Masking after painting the white base. Using an Athearn Bi-Level to help set the stripe location.
Masking and painting the green, then the black roof areas. Similarly masking and painting the plow.
Applying Decals and finishing touches to the GO MP40.

With that, this project is done. Its a holiday Monday here, so I delivered it to our staff at the museum. It should be installed in the display case in time for Doors Open Toronto next weekend, and the summer season. For Doors Open, while I won’t be on site, I dropped off several of my models for the Train Show the museum will be hosing. If you are in the Toronto area, check it out.

Gallery of the Finished MP40 and with my previous GO Project, the Hawker-Siddley Single Level Cab Ar. I really need to finish that sometime!

I ran a train and I liked it…

So one of my friends asked lately if I had run any trains on the layout, and I realized, much to my dismay, that I had not, I hadn’t so much as fired up the DCC in several months other than one of the rare visitors we have had come into the house during the pandemic who had never seen it, so I briefly fired it up just so they could see a train move.

I was having a stressy Friday at work yesterday, and decided mid afternoon that I needed to take my break and run a train to clear my mind, and it was great. Didn’t prep and paperwork or plan anything, just ran a train from CN staging across the layout, then one from CP staging. it didn’t run perfectly, not at all. I didn’t clean or vacuum the track before trying to run the trains, and I’ve been doing scenery, which means potentially dirty sports on the rails, but whatever, I needed to bang some cars about!

Quick video of a CPR Job heading back to Parkdale Yard

Just the simple act of running some trains, even with hiccups (which, yesterday at least didn’t phase me as i knew that would happen) with no prep before running lifted my spirits and made me feel better to get through the last couple of hours of my work day. I even managed to use the ops session as a chance to check a clearance and start thinking about the next phase of scenery and a future project. All in all, a good half hour that sprung out of being frustrated at work, which is a lot easier to escape from to your hobbies on the days I’m still working from home!

Scenes from a quick test run OPS session, and checking clearance for a fence and gates at a recently built structure.

Constant Steady Progress on Buildings

Slow and steady wins the race as they say. I haven’t done anything crazy or particularly revolutionary, just slowly making progress when time permits on scenery and buildings. It is however, immensely satisfying to see things come together, every bit of scenery or layer of paint or pan pastel moves the layout forward, and brings it ever closer to a state where it looks decent in photographs.

Slowly but surely a building emerges. From no paint and no paving, to paint, windows and then the windows fogged from behind. Now to blend the scenery and build a fence and gate!

My latest progress has been on a curved portion of a building on the west end near Mowat. I used this building as my test mule for the Cricut in cutting wall cores and making vinyl window transfers, so I was motivated to actually get it along to the point of being ready to assemble and start to see how it looks as the different parts come together. It is now together and on the layout. I think it will need some more work with pan pastels to build layers of grime and colour on the bricks, but over the course of the weekend its gone from primer to a nearly complete building. I need to spend some time blending scenery around the edges of the styrene pavement, but once that is done, this end of the layout will really start to come alive. I have also decided that the spur where the tank car is parked should be fenced off and have a gate, so I’ll need to break out my fence making jigs again and make some more home brewed chain link.

What a difference some paint makes. Threw a mix of a bunch of brown-ish paints together and threw some paint at the parts of Hinde & Dauch that were ready for it. Let that cure for a while, the mask and paint the window frames.

On the other end of the layout, I am slowly making progress on Hinde & Dauch. I haven’t cut out any more windows in the largest part of the building lately, but I did throw some paint at the other two portions, just for the motivation of seeing the building start to come alive, instead of being grey primer. It is a hugely satisfying and motivating result of half an hours work mixing up a brown paint from 3 or 4 shades and spraying, to then see it look like a building. I will need to let this cure for a bit, then mask and paint the windows and doors, but it is a relatively low effort high reward task to have gotten some paint on it.

Giving a Locomotive Shell…The Dip

How my twisted mind envisions this locomotive shell reacting to my efforts to strip paint from it…

Stripping factory paint, something that sometimes you have to do when working on a project, and not one of my favourite things to do. I am working on preparing a model for the Toronto Railway Museum, and I needed to strip off a factory paint job. Normally, this is a painful and messy, but reasonably straightforward process. This locomotive, a Trueline Trains MP36 has been anything but. Normally, much like Judge Doom getting rid of troublesome toons in the dip, after a dunk in isoproyl alcohol for a day or so (often less), most of the paint normally falls right off, and the rest comes off with some scrubbing with an old toothbrush.

What I expect to happen when I Dip a shell…melting away…maybe with less maniacal glee than the Judge though…maybe… (Though I love me some maniacal Christopher Lloyd in this movie)

It became clear fairly quickly that this shell was not going to be cooperative, the paint was seriously holding on to the shell, even after a long dip, the paint would barely scrub off with a toothbrush. The reason of course, that I want to remove the factory paint is to get to clean plastic to primer and have a smooth surface for painting. Not taking the factory paint off would mean the ridges from the layers would show through the new paint, and it would mean adding even more layers of paint to the model (by my count there are at least 4 layers of paint/pad printing on this from the factory. Even after several days of being dipped and scrubbed, the paint was holding tight, and in some spots, becoming goopy as the multiple layers of paint softened at different rates. Thankfully, isoproply alcohol generally doesn’t affect the plastic so the shell itself is fine, but it meant having to break out the harsher chemicals to try and get the paint off.

Disassembling and stripping paint (or at least trying to) strip a Trueline Trains MP36.

Fortunately? I had a can of Testors Easy Lift Off that I have had for years. This however, is a much stronger and harsher chemical product for removing paint. This is not a product to mess around with, good ventilation, respirator and good gloves. In my case, outside on the patio. The good side of the bad, is that very quickly, just brushing on some ELO and waiting a few minutes, it started to move paint where the Isopropyl dip was not. It didn’t move all the paint, and frankly, once I remembered why I hated this stuff, I’m glad it did enough to get probably 90% of the paint off and moving, leaving the balance for the much less caustic isopropyl.

Progress eventually, but after having to tackle it with a much harsher stripping agent.

Its been over a week, and it still hasn’t come off with serious scrubbing. I am going to do some more, I haven’t been able to sit outside and give it a good and hopefully final scrub, but I can definitely see a finish line to the cleaning part of this project so I can prepare the few minor modifications I am going to make to the shell to be more GO Transit accurate as an MP40 instead of the MBTA MP36 it started as, it won’t be a perfect model, but the museum has been unable to source a factory GO painted locomotive at a price we could afford, vs this one, so a repainted stand in it is.

Finally, I need to find my DVD of Who Framed Roger Rabbit now and give it a watch, I think its underrated and I haven’t watched it in ages!

Finally Hiding the last of the Foam

A milestone of sorts is basically upon me, the last of the layer of pink insulation foam my layout scenery is built out of is almost gone. I have laid the last base coat of ground cover dirt, and the last bits of hard cover paved area that I am making out of styrene are cut and ready to paint. I have been focusing on the large Hinde and Dauch Paper building and box car kits in terms of layout work the past few weeks, but this past few days the mood struck me to finish something else that I have been working towards, hiding the foam.

Working my way through the last large area of soil to be laid. Between the buildings along the wall will be paved, and a building hides the two tracks.

This is one of those things that could have been done months ago, if I’d wanted to just get on with it, but as with so many of my projects, I have a lot of things on the go as my attention wanders.

The last corner of dirt goes down, and preparing the final styrene concrete and sidewalk parts for painting and installation.

Hopefully in the next few days I can get the paved areas painted and installed, and start working on touch-ups to the base scenery and start thinking about the first passes with some detail scenery using static grass and other soils/dirt’s as appropriate to build texture and colour. As with everything, the end of one project brings others in building a layout, and as my own worst critic sometimes, far too often I see the areas where I need to do work or fix things vs. appreciating what I have done, but for now, I’m just going to sit back (well, stand up given the height of my benchwork), and appreciate the fact that wherever I look on the layout, the last vestiges of unsceniced foam have all vanished!

Trains and Gravity are not friends

By the time this posts I will have given my Clinic on the 3D printed model of the Dominion of Canada and the shipment of her back to the UK for restoration in 2012-13 at the Hindsight 2020 13.0 Virtual RPM today. A couple of weeks ago, I needed to get some detail photos for the presentation, and I had, an incident, where one of the span bolsters decided it was not attached to the rest of the car anymore, and while I thought I had a grip on everything, it took a trip to the floor. The 3D printed material can be brittle, and it shattered. Fortunately, it was a clean break, and the two parts could be re-aligned, and with some brass shims to provide some strength repaired. Whew, a sigh of relief, but not before some unpleasant words that can’t be repeated in polite company!

Before and after of an unplanned test of Newtonian Gravity Theory using a model, not recommended for your blood pressure.