need info; Painting a Frisco Brass Caboose HO scale

Discussion in 'Cabooses' started by gjslsffan, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Some time ago I guess a couple years ago now, I was lucky enough to be able to get 2 Brass Overland Cabooses from Rick McClellan, They are both in the 1214-1256 series.
    These are undecorated. And I would like to do a good job on these, they are great looking models. This is my first attempt at painting Brass.

    A couple questions;
    What Color should these be? I prefer Scalecoat paint. But will use whatever I need.

    I have been told that undecorated Brass models typically come with a varnish on them.

    Can I use Brake cleaner or paint remover (chemicals) to clean them? I have had people tell me they have had problems blowing details off with abrasives (Sand/Oxide blasting)

    Do I need to remove the varnish at all? Why not just paint over it?

    Thanks for the help. |-||-|
  2. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Don Wirth would be invaluable as a resource on painting brass.
  3. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    I've never tried cleaning the clear overcoat and just painting over that. My method always involves soaking the BRASS part in lacquer thinner until it's stripped down to bare brass and then keeping it clean until sprayed. I don't know what to tell you about color, but Scalecoat I is a good thing to use as you don't need a primer. On all of my wood cabooses, I've used (don't laugh) Duplicolor sandable red primer in the big spray can from O'Reilly. Perfect color match, fast drying, covers well and if you're careful leaves a nice even coat with no runs, hits or errors.
    The trick to brass painting is to make sure it's clean. Otherwise you'll have problems.
    Good luck.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  4. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    On The small amount of brass that I have .. It was pickeled overnight using white vinegar after a light sandblasting.
    All parts were blown dry and not handled prior to prime and paint.
    No other products were used that I can remember.
    must have worked pretty good .. 40 years .. No chips or peeling .. And handled a lot.
  5. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Thanks Guys for the info and help.
    How do you know if there is varnish on it at all? Can I assume that if the model were not varnished, it would have already Oxidized?
    Thanks guys just trying to learn something here about Brass models.
    Have fun!
  6. You should assume it was lacquered and clean the model before painting - lacquer thinners is a great way to shift the clear coat and remove any oil or grease. The important thing is to avoid handling the model with bare hands after cleaning as this can transfer oils form your skin and make it hard for the paint to get a good grip

    I have found it useful to use a rattle can of automotive etch (wash) primer on brass before going to a colour coat. This etches into the surface of the brass and sticks like the proverbial to provide a really good basis for acrylics or enamels
  7. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    Everything brass goes into the lacquer thinner here, sometimes for an overnight bath. I have a bunch of "acid swabs" that I bought at the hardware store for about a quarter each that I scrub them with. Try to keep your hands out of the thinner if possible. I've devised various ways to keep my hands out of it because it dries out your skin.
    When you're satisfied that it's clean, blow it off with dry air and let it air dry also. I've also devised ways to hold the stuff while I paint. Forceps, tweezers, clothespins and those contraptions Micro Mark sells to hold the tender and boiler (Or carbody) from the inside.
    Be careful with wheels. Test them briefly in the thinner. Some Korean stuff had insulated axles that used some kind of cheap plastic that the thinner dissolved. Don't ask me how I found out. I also found out you can't bake drivers.
    I've been doing this since the late '60s and have discovered a few things like that the hard way.
    gjslsffan and Ozarktraveler like this.
  8. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Finally after almost 2 years I got around to prepping and painting this older run Hallmark Frisco "Standard" caboose.
    I took Don Wirth's advise, soaked it in lacquer thinner overnight, used compressed are to blow the thinner off and painted it with the Duplicolor he referred to in his post.
    I am happy to report it worked out exactly like he said it would, no problems at all with the paint. Fortunately it has the spray nozzle type that produces a fan pattern, so it is an easy rattle can spray finish, went over that with Model Master Gloss, made a few decals up and walla. Another Frisco Brass caboose to the collection almost in service.
    Now I'm gonna weather this up a bit, trying to use N Molo's MKT/SLSF top of page 122 for reference on this project.
    BTW the Brass trucks were miserable at best. I had some Eastern Car Works caboose trucks handy they roll really good with a set of reboxx wheels. and underset shank KD's and only 1, .010 shim on each bolster the coupler was right on. This is an fairly early caboose for my modeling practice, but it is gonne be in service around here on modern freight trains lol. Rule #1 right. Oh the Green tape is to mask off where the lube stencil will go after weathering.
    A progress photo.

  9. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    REALLY NICE MODEL!! A real "looker!"

    Tom G.
    gjslsffan likes this.
  10. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Nice job Tom. Welcome to the "three window world"! These are nice looking cabs.

    Another nice set of leaf-spring caboose trucks to use under this cab is the Tichy #3051. Wheelbase is a bit shorter than the ECW's.

    (back in business in StL 'til the snow flies!)
  11. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Tom, that looks flawless. You did a great job painting and decaling that caboose. Does it feel hefty?
    gjslsffan likes this.
  12. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Thanks Tom G. Always good to hear from you.

    Thanks Ken, Where have you been? So, is the Tichy 3051 a more accurate truck for this outfit? I need to replace the large dome on the Tichy tank car kit I robbed. So I can add a few of these on to justify the S&H.

    Thanks Jim, yes it is more hefty than the other plastic cabs in service, if I expected to use this in helper service I would add a little weight to it, but it will be just fine for what I am gonna use it for LOL.
    I got a couple modern wide vision cabs to do now that I ain't as scared to paint brass no more. :)
    Thanks again guys,
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  13. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Really nice job Tom, Rule no. 1 is in effect, General Order number 1. Timetable No. 1
    You picked a great time, to get out of Florida, Ken, it been miserable hot and humid. 94 with 70%, just horrible.
    As some might know, the helpers, that shoved on cabooses, used a block of wood between the drawbar housing and frame.. Still they occasionally, pushed off a caboose in a curve or crossover. Bel Air mine was the worst, comming off the loop, North over the hill, through the crossovers. Rarely though did it do much damage, just lifted it up and on the ground. Then as Tom knows, the air popped.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  14. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    I really hate when that happens..... Oh man....... I got good job insurance right?? Oh man, I hate when that happens....
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  15. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Tom -

    We recently returned from five months (on and off) stay at our place in Naples, FL. Good to be back, though I miss the beach, the grouper, and the sun and blue skies - I'm already tired of all this rain in StL!

    Re your question - I have used both the ECW and the Tichy leaf-sprung caboose trucks. To my eye, the Tichy looks more prototypical as it seems to me the ECW truck wheelbase is a tad too long - many of their trucks are like this. But, the Frisco three-window cabs seem to have had many different types of trucks under them, including some coil-sprung trucks. I looked through some of my pics, and found a few with what looked like slightly longer wheelbase trucks, so I'd say either the ECW or Tichy caboose truck is fine. As is usually the case, a pic of the prototype you are modeling is usually the only way to get solid answers to a lot of detail questions.

    I have the Hallmark Frisco side-door caboose (on Andrews leaf-sprung trucks). One of these days I'll have to man up and paint it. I've never painted any brass models - usually had Don do them as he is the very best.

  16. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Thanks Ken,
    Thats why I chose the number of a caboose, I could not find a good picture of :D So, I think it will be just fine.
    AS always thanks for your help!
  17. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Added a chain on one side, and cable on the other. The cable was made with a piece of string, that I made a loop on one end and used a Precision Scale #48209 hook on the other, the entire rope was draped over the mounting hooks, wetted with dull coat, and shaped as best I could to match some photos I have seen of them.
    The chain was made with brass chain and Precision Scale #48208 hooks. I carefully spread the link open at the crimp and installed the hooks then carefully closed the link again. draped in it respective mount hooks, and painted with dull coat, let it all dry, then added a bit of chalk weathering to the model. Cut and installed the glazing, which turned out to be the most difficult part of this whole thing LOL. Any ideas on battery powered marker lights? Maybe just keep it a Local caboose w no lights.
    Anyway thanks for stopping by.

    002.jpg 005.jpg
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  18. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Now you're talkin'. The cable and chain detail really makes that caboose. That's becoming a real blue ribbon model.
    gjslsffan likes this.
  19. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Thanks Jim!
    I FINALLY got around to painting the two Overland Brass 1214-1256 cabooses, I was lucky enough to get from Rick McClellan some years back.
    I chose the SL-SF 1239 for one of them, as some photos I found of it had the ladder rungs and hand rails white, many of them had the entire ladder assembly white which is kind of a pain to paint on the model as you cant take it off to paint them, and the tool/battery boxes were Red/Orange. The only modification I made to the model was to drill out the light castings on the ends and put some 1.5v battery powered Red bulbs connected to a 3way switch to light the end marker lights for the desired direction of travel. Used Tamiya White primer for the White undercoat, then masked and used Scalecoat ( a 1 to1 mix of Yellow and Red) I have had for years then gloss coated the model used Microscale and a few decals of my own, masked around all the steps wells too. I local friend of mine gave me a bunch of glass that is used under microscopes and a scribe to cut real glass for the glazing. I was surprised at how much of a difference that made.

    DSCN0720.JPG DSCN0719.JPG

    I chose the SL-SF 1243 for the other caboose, again I did the same mods to this for the marker lights. Also used Don Wirth's method for painting cabooses and used Oreilly's rattle can primer for the caboose Red, that stuff works great, thanks Don! Model master for the Black and Yellow, the Yellow around the step wells are decals I cut from a solid sheet, wow what a bunch of work that was, but I think it was worth the extra time. I made a brake bleed rod to actuate the red markers on both the cabooses, with the center position off.


    Dont know if I can bring myself to weather these too much.
    Thanks for stopping by.
  20. paul slavens

    paul slavens Member

    Those are awesome. Nice work !

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