Paint Recommendations

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Ernie

New Member
As I stated in my introduction I have not done really any model railroading for many years and many of the once familiar names and manufacturers are no more. So, I am looking for recommendations for suppliers of railroad matched paint colors. I have no aversion to either acrylics or enamels / lacquers, just trying to find out what's available now.
 

gjslsffan

Active Member
You can still get Scalecoat paints from Minuteman Hobbies. I would recommend using his thinner as the paint it very thick, he mixes the paint by the gallon, or maybe more in popular colors. Easy clean up with lacquer thinner, as with any solvent based paints, you will need adequate ventilation, It always covers real good and has a decal ready finish on the gloss colors. There is also a pretty good variety of RR specific colors.
But dont be in a hurry, be prepared to wait a month for your order to arrive, thats what it took for my order anyways. Not that out of line given todays restrictions and limitations.
 

2Tracks

Ol' School
Yes, check out the paint guide on MRH, very comprehensive. I use the Vallejo brand of acrylic paints (Model Air), mentioned in the guide. House Of Hobbies has a great selection and have always been pleased with their service.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Ditto on Scalecoat. Been using it for 30 years. I've never used their thinner though. I use Xylene or Xylol (name depending on which big box home store you buy it from). It will thin either Scalecoat 1 or 2. Thin Scalecoat 2 parts paint one part thinner.

Tru-color Paint is an acetone based system and is all railroad colors. On that paint, I do use their thinner. You can clean up with acetone, but if you thin with it the finish comes out flat. Their thinner yields more of a gloss finish which leads me to believe there's a retarder in their thinner along with the acetone base Thinning is tricky, as the longer the paint has been on the shelf, the more it needs to be thinned. I've thinned anywhere from 30-70% thinner. You'll need to prime on metal for Tru-color. Scalecoat is self priming. There's also an outfit called Star Brand that sells through the same folks that sell PBL Hot Tip resistance soldering equipment. PBL has an online catalog. Select "Paints & Cements" in the category dropdown menu. I have found that Star Brand and Tru-color are very similar.

There isn't much for railroad colors in acrylics at the moment other than basic oxide red and a few other basic colors. At the Amherst show a couple of years ago I found them working with a fellow that is bringing back the old Polyscale paints. Rapido markets them as Proto-Paint. I'm not sure of their availability, though they are on Rapido's website. Color selection is a little limited, but they're working their way up as they go.

One last comment on Scalecoat: Order it through a hobby shop. Minuteman is a one man outfit. I waited for three months for an order, couldn't get a response from the guy and had to go to PayPal for a refund. I don't want to trash him here, we all have tough times, but I couldn't wait indefinitely for paint. He's just been overwhelmed, and doesn't have the help he needs. Several on line retailers carry it. You'll get your paint much faster! The Original Whistle Stop out in Pasadena carries it. I ordered it there and had it in less than a week.
 

Red Oak & Western

Active Member
Thirds on Scalecoat. If you read any of my other finishing posts you'll see I'm a fan. I, too, thin Scalecoat 1 to 1 with thinner. I use the Scalecoat thinner for mixing (its actually a blend of xylene and toluene) but use whatever I have on hand (lacquer thinner, xylene, VM&P naphtha) for cleanup. I've been using Scalecoat for a long, long time, starting back when it was produced by Weaver Models. In 2015 Weaver announced they were closing after 50 years. Shawn Cavaretta bought the rights to the Scalecoat name and formulary. He moved the operations to New Hampshire and is now in Nashua (about 15 miles away). I've never had delivery problems, but then my last few orders, I've just driven over and picked them up. Currently, due to the "situation", Shawn has stopped in store pickups. There are a bunch of retailers that carry Scalecoat so that is an option. By the way, I have a bottle of B&O Blue from 2008 (not a color I use very often!!!), but it still sprays beautifully.
 

2Tracks

Ol' School
Tru-color Paint is an acetone based system and is all railroad colors.
Good point, that was the one thing about Valejo paints, the lack of RR colors. but at the stage I'm at, they had enough of the basic colors, and I opted for the water based paint right now. Although I do have some bottles of Tru-color paints.
I'm envious of you guys that have been able to do the hobby for 20-25+ years.....I'm think'n I probably won't make that time line....... 🤪
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Good point, that was the one thing about Valejo paints, the lack of RR colors. but at the stage I'm at, they had enough of the basic colors, and I opted for the water based paint right now. Although I do have some bottles of Tru-color paints.
I'm envious of you guys that have been able to do the hobby for 20-25+ years.....I'm think'n I probably won't make that time line....... 🤪
Nothing wrong with Vallejo. I use it extensively on structures, fine details, and other places it fits. There's also an outfit called Reaper Miniatures that offers a latex line, also water based. They are used by the figure guys (Warhammer & such). No railroad colors but lots of colors we can use, and a great line of metal colors. One advantage they have over Vallejo, they aren't shiny. Vallejo has a vinyl component, so if you weather things painted with it, they tend to get shiny from handling.

Most of the locomotive and car painting I'm doing these days is brass, and I'm an old curmudgeon set in his ways when it comes to painting brass. All I use there is Scalecoat.

As for 20-25 years...it's a journey.
 

TLOC

Well-Known Member
I agree with using the MRH painting guides. I use Vallejo Air, pan pastels and weathering pencils. I don’t feel the need for colors to go anywhere else.

TomO
 

autocoach

Active Member
Vallejo doesn't market their colors with railroad names but there are some that are downright excellent matches for specific RR colors. I have been working on a series of SP cabooses that the pre-synthetic paint on wood mellowed a darker shade of maroon rather than typical SP freight car red. I found Vallejo Model Color 70.814 Burnt Red/Rojo Tostado to be just the right shade. Air brushing is no longer possible due to my living situation, so the ease of brush application of the Model Color line and the excellent leveling of the paint have made up for using the air brush almost completely. I do use the Tamiya line of rattle can primers and paints when there is a lull in the almost constant wind on my townhouse deck. I also look at the extensive military colors Vallejo produces called Panzer Aces for structure colors and weathering colors.
 




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