Wednesday, February 13, 2013

NJT F40PH Custom Paint - Decal - Lighting

One thing I've never done, is completely strip and re-paint any model. Be that a freight car, or loco. I've painted parts of cars, and done some weathering with the airbrush, and that's about it.

So, with some trepidation, I stripped a Kato F40-PH, and started to repaint it for NJ Transit. After stripping and cleaning, I used a Floquil rattle-can to prime it.

Here it is, after priming, masked off for painting of the black top.

And now.. After spraying the black.

Next up will be silver for the bottom half.

Masked and ready to paint silver

Silver sprayed
Decals applied for NJ Transit
Micro-Sol still needs to be applied, as well as some additional decals, and a sealing coat of dull-coat but overall, I'm happy with my first attempt!

Some lessons learned:
  • One of the guys in my train club suggested I should have sprayed the silver first, then masked for the black. This would have saved time (only need to mask once), and produced better results. I'll try that on the next one.
  • "Float" the larger decals better with water on the model for better positioning, then blot with paper towel. 
  • Use the micro-sol right away, while decal is still wet. I didn't have any on hand when I did the decals. I think it would have helped it settle down better across the uneven doors, etc. I'm applying micro-sol now, a week later, and it is helping. 
  • Remove the "strobes" before painting the shell. I painted mine black by mistake.
  • Be careful with the strobe lights, they get lost easily. 
  • After finding the strobes on the floor, be careful reinstalling them. They will break. (Mine did!)
  • Plastic fiber-optic cable can be sanded to make it opaque enough to create a passable replacement strobe light. 
2013-02-13 Update:

I installed a Digitrax decoder and added white SMD LEDs to enable the strobes to function.
Next, I will attempt to replicate NJ Transit practice of having red end-of-train markers. These are located next to the number boards, and are cast in the shell. They are lit when the engine is in push mode. I will drill them out with a #80 and use plastic fiber optic cable, and perhaps a drop of gallery glass to enable them to glow red from the decoders "reverse" light. The end-goal is to have everything on the chassis and make the shell removable without attaching any of the lighting to the shell. Very challenging indeed.

Quick video of progress so far:

Next up: New number boards!
Instead of decals, I printed my new "number boards" on regular paper on a black and white laser printer. Next, I put clear scotch tape over the number. Don't use the matte or satin finish tapes, it needs to be the clear. Clear tape does an excellent job of simulating glass, plus the added benefit of keeping your numbers from tearing when you cut them out.

Cut out the numbers from your sheet with a new hobby blade, or use decal scissors. Personally, I use the decal scissors.

I used micro crystal clear (and sharp-point tweezers!) to glue the numbers to the Kato number board "plugs", then popped them in the shell.

This is my first attempt, but I can see already that the kato plugs need to be sanded down a bit, so the boards recess better. So, I'll soak the plugs in a cap full of water to remove the numbers, lightly sand the plugs, and re-apply.
First attempt at number boards.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

C&D Car "Conversion"

What follows is documentation to show the conversion of a Deluxe Innovations Woodchip car into a construction and debris car. I use the word conversion loosely! Eventually want to body mount couplers here, so I've cut one coupler off the truck on the right.

Started with a new car. I've previously done some work on the trucks.

The paint marker is an Elmer's product, purchased at Wal-Mart. Comes in a box of different colors.

Here I've painted out the NP and car number, and started on the "N" in Northern.

A completed, painted side.

Next, I've used the corner piece of paper towel to remove a bit of still wet paint. I blotted it here, but you could just as easily "pull" it down.

Optionally, while the paint is still wet, you could apply (blow on) some power to the lettering to give it that rusted out appearance.

The next steps will be to change the car's reporting marks / numbering.