Question about Repainting from scratch is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


I'm new to this, and I'm not sure if what I'm going after here is workable, thought maybe somebody could give me some input. Is it at all possible to repaint existing locomotives and rolling stock (mainly run of the mill santa fe stuff) to your own or does this generally end badly?

Here's a link to the paint scheme of the Monongahela Railway that I'm going for. I've seen almost NONE of these on ebay and figure I might have to improvise. I know real-life railroads paint over things all the time, I'm just wondering if this is something that can be done on HO scale and come out looking at least half decent, and also which kinds of paint work best. Thanks!

- Luke


Drum Driver
Allot of the stuff you see on here has been repainted....Any local shop has the matching paint for the colors you want and you can find the decals you'll need too....I have changed my first engines I owned..They were Santa Fe and made them to Conrail...I was proud of the out come...First ones I did, I didn't use the actual colors but used a Royal Blue Krylon paint and no one knows the difference...Then I dull-coated them to look weathered...The line you chose might make it tough to find the decals locally on stock but I am sure they are out there if you do Internet searches...Once painted by yourself, they will become some of your favorites! And those decals you need can also be made on a computer with a decal setup, But they don't print the white stripe...but those can be bought...I think I might have stripes...Not 100% sure if they are white until I look but I do know they are made.
Last edited by a moderator:


I believe Microscale makes decals for your railroad. Ask about them at your LHS. They might be minicals. But I know I've seen them.


Diesel Detail Freak
Repainting is quite easy once you learn it. Strip the old paint using polly scale easy lift off, or pine-sol. Then primer the shell, and lastly paint it the way you want it.


I just decided as a test to take one of the ol' santa fe locomotives and just paint right over it with acrylic black paint (kinda older loco and paint scheme than I plan to model, but just to see) and it actually worked pretty good. Even without stripping the old paint off or taking any particular care, it still looks pretty decent. Now I'm not sure how good I'll be able to make any detail look, but if it turns out okay, maybe I'll put it in my historical museum section of the model.


Entrepreneurial Teen
The concern with painting over existing paint is that you tend to lose details. Layers of paint can cover up rivets quickly if not applied thinly (i.e. with an airbrush).

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.