Painting Stripes on Locomotives and Rolling Stock...

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Painting Stripes on Locomotives and Rolling Stock...

Postby doctorwayne » Mar 14th, '18, 01:00

If you need to add visibility stripes, such as these...

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...or these...

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...to locomotives or rolling stock, it's probably easier to paint them on than it is to use decals.

To do this, I select masking tape (just regular type, or, if you prefer it, the blue stuff - don't bother with the green, as its adhesive qualities are suspect, in my experience) of a width equal to or greater than the height of the needed stripes. I lay it out on the edge of a piece of glass (any clean, hard surface will work), then use a sharp blade and straightedge to trim an eighth of an inch-or so off both edges of the tape - these edges get nicked as the tape lays about in your workshop or worse, in a drawer. The edges also collect dust and fuzz, and, over time, the adhesive near the edges tends to dry out. Make sure when you're doing the trimming to keep the cuts parallel to the edge of the glass.

For a model like the CN diesel, measure the model to determine how high the stripes need to be - rather than a ruler, I prefer to use dividers, setting them to the proper height on the model, then transferring that directly to the tape. Trim the excess off the tape.
Next, determine the angle needed...in some cases, there may be prototypical info available, otherwise use photos or existing models to see what looks best to your eyes. For the CN diesel, I used an ordinary machinist's square, which offers both 90° and 45° angles, and, luckily, the stripes on the real ones are at 45°.
You'll also need to know how wide the stripes should be...you should be able to find a prototype photo of the model you're painting, and if the model is reasonably accurate, your scale rule will help you to figure
out how wide the stripes should be, and ditto for the space between stripes.
Set the square against the edge of the work surface using to 45°angle (this is why the trimming cuts needed to be parallel to the edge of the glass /work surface) and use a divider, set to the width of the base of the stripe, to "walk" the square along the tape, making the cuts as you go - the first cut merely trims off the excess, the second creates the first stripe, the third cut the first spacer, the fourth the second stripe, and so-on. Make sure to create enough stripes to do both sides of the loco.

The object to receive the stripes should already be painted in the lighter of the two colours being used, and that paint should be thoroughly cured to ensure that the tape doesn't lift it when removed.
When applying the masking, determine the proper starting point, and, if necessary, trim the tape, then, after the first piece is in place, add the next piece from the work surface, abutting it directly against the edge of the first piece - it's just serving as a temporary spacer during tape application. Continue applying the masking and spacer tape pieces to both sides of the unit, then carefully remove and discard the spacer tapes. If there are any other areas on the model which need to be masked before paint the stripes, do so accordingly (for example, a freelanced model might have the walkway edges in a different colour, and will need to be covered).

After the paint has been applied, and is dry to the touch, remove the masking. If there's been any bleed-under, leave it until the paint is well-hardened before doing any touch-up (unless your painting experience shows that a particular brand is better touched-up while the paint is not fully-cured). Different brands and paint types do vary in this respect.

For doing chevron-type stripes, such as those on the U-boat, the use of masking and spacer tape is the same, but the angle and width of the stripes, and whether the chevron is pointing up or down, is up to the painter and what he or she thinks will look best.

For doing this type of stripes, I again used tape as wide as the height of the model, but after trimming the edges, used a square and sharp blade to make a vertical cut in the middle of the length of tape (the tape must be longer than the width of the model - you can trim it after application if you wish - I left mine as-is - but any raised details will use more tape to cover them, and pre-trimming will leave tape, in such instances, too short.

I used a variable bevel square, as shown below, to lay out the angle, in this case for the front of a wedge-type plow. To space the relatively narrow stripes, I made the first cut, then, without moving the square, added a piece of Evergreen strip styrene .125" wide, abutting the arm of the square, and made a second cut, using the styrene as a guide. The square was then moved to align with that cut, the plastic strip added as before, and another cut made using it again as a guide. After I had more than enough strips cut for one side of the plow, the square, angle unaltered, was flipped over and the process repeated for the other side.
Here's the masking tape on the glass, mostly used-up, along with the bevel square, X-Acto knife, and strip of styrene...

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On the plow, the portion to be striped already painted white, I chose a point on the outer edge of the area to be painted, then chose a long enough piece of tape to reach that point from the bottom centre of the plow. After that piece was in place, I used dividers to measure the position of the top of that strip in relation the the plow's roof, then transferred that measurement to the other side of the plow, and applied a matching strip of tape. Working down from the first pair of tape pieces selected, the masking and spacer strips were added to both sides of the plow, and likewise for those above pieces - the spacers' purpose is only to maintain proper spacing of the actual masking and to keep the angle of application constant.

I had already decided that the main full stripe of the chevron, at the bottom centre of the plow, would be white, so marked those tape strips with a "W", and every other one, above and below, with a dot to indicate that that tape was masking, and was to be left on for the actual painting...

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The spacer strips were then removed, and the sides and roof of the plow masked to prevent overspray...

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...and black paint airbrushed on...

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As soon as the paint was dry to the touch, the tape was removed...

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Here's the plow, ready for service...

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...although the owner was adamant that it be dirty, so it was off to the paint shop again, for some weathering...

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I used a combination of airbrushed and brush-painted colours to add dust, dirt, and rust, along with artist's pastels , applied with a brush, then lightly Dullcoted. While not to my personal tastes, the owner was completely satisfied.

Wayne
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Re: Painting Stripes on Locomotives and Rolling Stock...

Postby Schraddel » Mar 16th, '18, 06:26

Thank you Wayne,

for sharing this tip with us. :worship:
Cheers Lutz
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