Decorating an RS1: Guidance Needed

Discussion in 'American Locomotive Company (ALCo)' started by trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017), Jun 29, 2014.

  1. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    I wanted to start from scratch with this thread. As I've shared on some other threads, I have an undecorated Atlas HO RS-1 locomotive that I would like to decorate. Pictures of the original AT&N scheme and the Frisco/AT&N RS1 schemes may be seen here: Recently there was an HO scale, Frisco RS1 for sale on ebay. Here are the photos from that listing.
    HO RS1 LRear.JPG HO RS1 Left.JPG HO RS1 LFront.JPG
    At the time of this post, there is an N scale model listed on ebay (with only hours remaining). Here are the pictures from that listing.
    N scale RS1 Top.JPG N scale RS1 Bottom.JPG N scale RS1 Front.JPG N scale RS1 In Box.JPG N scale RS1 Left Side.JPG N scale RS1 Left Side2.JPG N scale RS1 RFront.JPG
    While the idea of the original AT&N scheme is very enticing, for a few reasons I'll spare everyone, I've decided to go with the Frisco RS1c (#101) scheme like the decorated models pictured (if possible). However, I really don't know where to start. I shared on another thread that I do not own an airbrush system. I'm not opposed to owning one in the future, but the switch from DC to DCC seems logical as my next investment with airbrushing to come afterward. With that said, I'm looking at using Testors aerosol paint. Yesterday, I was in Tupelo, MS and stopped by my nearest Hobby Lobby (50 mi. from where I live). I picked up a can of Testors "Gloss Black" and "Gloss Yellow." I was thinking of going for that "show room," "fresh out of the paint shop" look. I thought gloss paint is what I need for that high sheen, show room shine. However, the models in these photos don't look too glossy so I'd like other opinions before I do anything stupid. Some people like that weathered look and that's OK, but I prefer the "squeaky clean" look. What decent railroad would have there equipment going all over the nation, dirty, rusty, and with graffiti all over it? (Don't answer that!) Not mine. It's just my preference for equipment to look washed and waxed... like I take pride in it. I know that's not prototypical/realistic but after all, I'm a freelancer, right? Anyway...
    My concern about "gloss yellow" is... will it match the decals I assume I'll need? My guess right now is "probably not." I'm also wondering if I should have gone with flat paint instead of gloss after taking another look at these model photos. Enough of my rambling. Let me just get down to the bottom line... Which Testors aerosols do i need for the Frisco RS1c scheme? Oh, two more things (for now)... Take a look at the walkways on the N scale model.
    N scale RS1 Top.JPG Should they really be yellow? I assume Atlas wouldn't do that if it wasn't prototypical but I just wanted to check. Take a look at the Frisco RS1 a,b,c,&d schemes. I'm not opposed to any of them. I'm simply not sure if a,b, or d would work with this particular model. I'll have more questions later. - Brandon
  2. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    1. In all seriousness, lose the spray cans and buy an air brush. Way back when, my brother and I pooled our lawn mowing money and bought a cheapie Badger, and we used a spare tire for our air source. It is an investment that will pay dividends in good-looking models.

    2. Buy this book.

    3. Practice on junk that you don't mind botching-up.

    BTW...A gloss finish is necessary for decal application. Once down, hide the decals with a clear coat ...dull, gloss, eggshell, etc.
    The walkways were not yellow.
  3. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    That is a side effect of the manufacturing process. On the n-scale model, the walkways and handrails are one piece. On newer tooling the handrails are seperate pieces and the walkways are molded into the side sill. Atlas has never retooled the RS1 ( or the GP7) with this improvement.

  4. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    Karl is right. You simply will not get a good result using aerosol cans on a small model like the one you are wanting to paint. When I was in high school, my dad bought an airbrush to touch up the paint on an old Rolls-Royce he was tinkering with. I borrowed it to paint an HO scale Athearn PA1, and with no instruction whatsoever other than "remember to thin the paint 50-50," I got it right the first time. In those days we used cans of compressed air rather than a compressor. You could still use an inner tube or some other pressure reservoir if you don't want to spring for the compressor (which is included in the set I have linked to below--the compressor, not the inner tube).

    Here is a link to a good airbrush set listed on Amazon, complete with an instruction booklet. They have others listed as well, but this is a start.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2014
  5. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    At the risk of sounding like I'm "piling on"... I have to echo what all the others are advising you: Acquire an airbrush system... even if you have to postpone another engine purchase. An airbrush system is FAR superior to any other method, period. I have used a dependable Binks Wren with a B tip for eons and an old diaphragm compressor. Even my low-end system yields such results that I have won model contests using it.


    That looks like a surprisingly good system for the money. In addition to the gravity feed brush, it appears there's also a single and double action airbrush included? (Can't really find any detailed information at the Amazon site.) If so, I'm tempted to purchase one of those sets myself!
  6. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Thanks everyone. You all have convinced me to shop for an airbrush system. I though they were a lot more expensive. At least the ones I looked at were. Anyway... 1 can of Testors aerosol paint from Hobby Lobby = $5.34 (with tax) X 6 cans I've already bought (I can return the last 2) = $32.04. That's almost 1/3 of the system GS linked. That's all it took to convince me. That system is less than just 19 cans of aerosol paint from Hobby Lobby. Who knew?:confused: Would anyone else care to recommend another beginner level airbrush system while I shop around? - Brandon
  7. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I bought the same setup that Greg Stout pointed out from the same TCPGlobal, but off ebay with free shipping. I see the same setup offered by another seller for even less:

    The airbrushes included are pretty decent. The only negative is that parts are not available for the simpler external mix single-action airbrush, so be careful with it and clean it as soon as you have shot the last burst of paint from it. It can be replaced very cheaply, however.

    Also, the airbrushes can be used to paint the rail using Rail Brown paint. The new Micro-Lux paint from MicroMark actually works quite well for that purpose.
  8. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Thanks Keith. $82.59 = just 15.5 aerosol cans.:eek: It just makes sense. - Brandon

    P.S. - What brand/kind of paint would you all recommend with a system like that?
  9. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member Supporter

    One tip that I used years ago, was to first shoot food coloring (diluted with water) onto a paper towel to get the feel of spray pattern and compressor settings. Both cheap to do and easy clean up.
  10. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

  11. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    You will do just fine.:) You will learn as you go just like the rest of us :)
  12. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    Acrylic paint...
    1. What brand/type should I buy for airbrushing locomotives and freight cars?
    2. What shade of yellow is correct for the Frisco RS1c scheme?
    Thanks in advance for your help. -Brandon
  13. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    Perhaps this chart will give you some guidance. Personally I have never had much luck shooting acrylics ("I love the smell of solvent in the morning"), but others have no problem at all. In any event, take a look at the attached.

    GS Color Chart.pdf
  14. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    I picked up some Testors decal set. Do I also need something like "micro sol?"
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2014
  15. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    When you are applying water slide decals to a model that is not completely flat, i.e., has rivets, batten strips, hood doors, molded in details, whatever, you need to apply a solvent to the decal once it has been positioned to soften it and make it settle itself around the detail. Otherwise it will have air pockets underneath and will look really lousy. You will need to apply the solvent somewhat sparingly until you get a feel for its strength. If, after everything is dry, you detect air bubbles under the decal, DO NOT panic. Just use a pin or the tip of an X-acto blade to poke a hold in the air bubble and apply more solvent. Eventually everything will settle down and look just fine. If you detect a residue around the decal from the glue, you can wash it off with a mild detergent and warm water, but MAKE SURE everything is dry before you do this. Also, before you start applying decals, be sure to apply a coat of Testor's (rattle can is fine for this) Glosscote to the paint as this will provide a smoother surface for the decal to adhere to. Once everything is finished to your satisfaction, you can shoot it with a second coat of Glosscote (if you want the model to look like new) or Dullcote if you want a flatter finish. Be careful about applying Dullcote to cab windows, as it will "fog" them slightly. Better to insert the windows after all the painting is done.

    Good luck with all this. It really is not difficult.

  16. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    I finally got the airbrush system out tonight for the first time. With the cheap acrylic craft paint from Walmart, how thin should it be? 80/20 seemed too thick. It would stop spraying. I may try 50/50 paint/water tomorrow. I've only used the gravity fed airbrush so far. It cleaned up really well with a 50/50 water/washer fluid solution then a water rinse. I have been saving cardboard for a month for practicing. I already see the systems potential. - Brandon
  17. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Nice coonskin. I always have to experiment with the mix ratio. Too thin, too thick, just right. Have fun.
  18. Bruce Adams

    Bruce Adams Member

    Hi, Brandon.
    I've had issues with craft store acrylic paint in an airbrush sometimes. One item that helps is a drop or two of Liquitex Flow-Aid, thoroughly mixed into the paint. One small bottle from an art store should last you for years.
    - Bruce
  19. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017
    Watch this video. I agree that the moisture trap is too close to the compressor In the harbor freight system. Can anyone recomemend an in-line moisture trap? By the way, my HF system came with the upgraded regulator and I'm glad. Everthing's going great except for burst of moisture too often. With a better moisture trap, I would be ready to move up from painting cardboard to messing up some expendable rolling stock.
    - Brandon
  20. timothy_cannon

    timothy_cannon Member Supporter

    Brandon, try to find an old model of some sort to practice on. It's a LOT different than spraying on a piece of cardboard. Take your time. Several coats takes a bit longer but looks much better than one coat that will more than likely be to thick or have runs in it. Once you master the paint, decal, gloss, flat gig (use flat for a base if using dry transfers, I just learned this myself!) you will be ready for a whole different set of airbrush skills to learn. WEATHERING! Good luck and we are here to help if we can. is awesome!

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