Author Topic: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars  (Read 566 times)

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ai5629

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Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« on: December 29, 2018, 07:57:03 PM »
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I was very pleased yesterday in that I finished decalling my tenth and final N Scale Athearn 53' 6" Conrail (7 cars) and Pennsylvania (3 cars) F41 flatcars.  I washed off the cars yesterday to remove any dirt and get them ready for dullcoat to seal the decals.  I was checking them out tonight and saw that the paint was coming off the cars in different places.  I airbrushed the cars with Scalecoat I paint and used Microsol and Microset on the decals.  I believe the Microsol had the affect of softening the paint.  I cannot understand why this has happened.  I had this happen about ten years ago on an Atlas 60' boxcar painted with SCII, but I chocked it up to improper surface preparation.  It has not happened since on a plastic model painted with Scalecoat II even after a dozen Microsol applications.  I am sick over this as I had been working on these cars for the last two months, and I was really looking forward to closing this modeling chapter.  Can anyone share any successful methods they have used to paint an Athearn metal car.  I am open to painting with another brand of paint even though I have really got my Scalecoat painting method down to a science.  Thank you in advance.

Jeff
Jeff Lopez

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2018, 10:30:18 PM »
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I haven’t had a problem on Athearn cars. I strip the factory paint of, hit it with a coat of Tamiya fine primer and then Model Master paints. Zero issues.
Karl
CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline.

bbussey

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 11:47:48 PM »
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I used Floquil to paint my Pennsy F41.  It started out as a factory-painted PRR car, but there was so much wrong with it (paint color, graphics) that I stripped and repainted it.  On my Penn Central car, I cheated by starting with a factory-painted deepwater green P&LE car and stripped the lettering.
Bryan Busséy
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ai5629

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2018, 07:19:43 AM »
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Six of the cars I decalled originally were painted with Tamiya fine metal primer and then Floquil Box car Red.  I had them decalled and finished.  I was having issues with the paint coming off any time an edge touched something, even the box nest.  I thought the issue was Tamiya was acrylic and Floqul is enamel.  I decided to strip and repaint with SCII.  I had finished nine different cars painted with SCII without incident.  This batch has been a disaster.  SCI says it does not need primer, but I might try using an automotive primer when I repaint in the Spring.  I also read to etch the cars in vinegar  before painting.  I am also thinking about using different paint, may Trucolor or Tamiya.  I have never used either in an airbrush before, so I will need to research them.  Thanks for the replies so far.

Jeff
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 01:52:47 PM by ai5629 »
Jeff Lopez

peteski

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2018, 10:20:05 PM »
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Tamiya primers in spray cans are "stinky" lacquer paints.
How exactly are you prepping the bare plastic before painting?

I agree that if you are painting over clean light-colored Polystyrene or ABS plastic bodies you should not need a primer coat when using "stinky" paints (either lacquers or enamels).

I wonder if you didn't  let the Scalecoat I (an enamel) dry/harden long enough before decaling?  Micro-Set is the weaker solution (acetic acid based, so it smells like vinegar).  It should be safe for most "stinky" paints, but it might affect some water-based acrylic paints.  Micro-Sol is the stronger setting solution (alcohol-based) and that one could possibly affect any hobby paint.

If you want to try another paint, I recommend Tru-Scale paint.  Just make use to use the Tru-Scale thinner if you need to thin it.  Shouldn't need any primer.
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bbussey

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2018, 10:38:30 PM »
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The Athearn GSC flatcars have a diecast body.
Bryan Busséy
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peteski

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2018, 11:02:22 PM »
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The Athearn GSC flatcars have a diecast body.

Well then . . . That changes the scenario.  So they are white metal. Even thought Scalecoat I is supposed to adhere directly to metal, I would not trust that on white metal.  I would clean the metal in degreaser (acetone, lacquer thinner, mineral spirits, denatured alcohol are good degreasers), then spray a coat of self-etching primer, then the color coats.  Then I would wait about a week (in room temperature), or 24 hours (in a dehydrator at about 110 deg. F) to harden the paint before decaling.
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ai5629

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2018, 10:14:55 AM »
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I have been rehashing in my head what I did with these cars this Fall.  I decided to go back and repaint / redecal these cars in  September.  I removed the Tamiya primer / Floquil paint with KS-3  Kleenstrip.   This was most likely my first mistake.  This stuff is really strong, and it is the only thing I have found that will remove the factory paint Athearn put on these metal (Zimac) cars.  Since I used this stuff when I originally painted them, I should have just used Scalecoat Washaway since that would have sufficed on the Tamiya/Floquil paint they were repainted with.  The Kleenstrip is a gel and it clings to the cars.  I spent a lot of time washing the cars with Dawn and a toothbrush, but maybe it was not enough.  This time around, I will use the Washaway followed by denatured alcohol, mineral spirits or acetone.  My Scalecoat I painting process uses SCI thinner and after I paint the car, I place it in a box with a 250 watt heat lamp inside it.  This is my way of baking the cars without putting them in an oven.  They were in there for about 90 minutes.  Additionally the cars dried at room temperature for two months before I started decalling them.  Now regarding the paint.  I now see that SCI has a primer available, so I am considering SCI again with their primer.  I also have been reading up on Trucolor, and I am considering trying their paint with a primer coat first.  I was intrigued by Trucolor after reading some of the EP-2 Clinic thread.  Petski's comment regarding "self etching" primers has me wondering what products out there are available to do this.  I am also interested in opinions regarding the best paint to use (regardless of brand) for metal cars.  I am looking for the stickiest most resistant to Microset decal setting solution  paint I could use.  Thank you for the comments so far.

Jeff
Jeff Lopez

garethashenden

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2018, 10:34:21 AM »
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You can get self etching primer at most automotive stores. Napa makes a good one for instance. I usually spray it from the can, I suppose you could decant it and airbrush it, but it would probably etch the insides of the airbrush.

central.vermont

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2018, 11:41:48 AM »
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Jeff I went through the same thing but it was with their 65' mill gons.
I ended up using an etching primer that I purchased from Napa. Part # MS7220 is a Martin Senour paint.

I stripped it with a gel stripper as well and then let it soak in IPA 91% for a day then took it out and let it dry for another day.
After all that I then sprayed the etching primer from the can and let it dry for a day at room temp. I was also very carfull to not
touch it when I painted it with TruColor paint. I let it all dry for a week before I tempted to do any decaling. When I was done
the paint was on it with a good grip. I checked it by trying to scrape it off inside the car where I knew it was going to be covered anyway.

I think what happens is that the white metal is very porous and doesn't clean well.

Hope this is helpful for you. Good luck!!

Jon




ai5629

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2018, 01:51:51 PM »
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Jeff I went through the same thing but it was with their 65' mill gons.
I ended up using an etching primer that I purchased from Napa. Part # MS7220 is a Martin Senour paint.

I stripped it with a gel stripper as well and then let it soak in IPA 91% for a day then took it out and let it dry for another day.
After all that I then sprayed the etching primer from the can and let it dry for a day at room temp. I was also very carfull to not
touch it when I painted it with TruColor paint. I let it all dry for a week before I tempted to do any decaling. When I was done
the paint was on it with a good grip. I checked it by trying to scrape it off inside the car where I knew it was going to be covered anyway.

I think what happens is that the white metal is very porous and doesn't clean well.

Hope this is helpful for you. Good luck!!

Jon




I found that same product on the Napa web site when I searched after @garethashenden (and @peteski) suggested it.  Can you give me your brutally honest opinion on how the etching primer affected the detail of the model?  I have gotten away from rattle cans for anything except Dull-coating to seal the decals.  The GSC flatcars are a very well done casting that Athearn covers up with thick paint.  They have gotten better with subsequent releases, but nothing looks anywhere as nice as a stripped and airbrushed car.  The 65' gondolas fall into this category as well.  Thank you for the comments.

Jeff
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 01:54:32 PM by ai5629 »
Jeff Lopez

peteski

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2018, 05:02:19 PM »
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I don't think that a self-etching primer is actually caustic, or that it will etch the paint passages in your airbrush.  I think it only means that whatever binder (the resin in paint which hardens and bonds to the painted surface) they utilize in that primer will develop a strong bond with bare metal (stronger than binders in standard primers).

I should add that I uses a SEM brand of that primer, and have decanted it from the can and sprayed it through my metal Badger 200 airbrush with no ill effects.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 06:12:36 PM by peteski »
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central.vermont

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Re: Painting Athearn N Scale GSC Flatcars
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2018, 06:00:08 PM »
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Can you give me your brutally honest opinion on how the etching primer affected the detail of the model?

Jeff

Jeff,
It was almost two years ago now but it was a little heavier than if you used an airbrush. I used it lightly but enough to cover
and was happy with it. When I got done with both primer and paint it wasn't any heavier than when it was stock paint.
Matter of fact I would say it let more detail show through than before!!

Jon