Discussion in 'Modeling Tips' started by HWB, May 21, 2009.

  1. HWB

    HWB Supporter

    STRIPPERS!..Ok that go your attention. So I was looking at Model Railroader and decided to do a SW1200 in the Tulsa Sapulpa Union Railway scheme. They recommend a product called Chameleon stripper Has anyone used this? If so what were the results? I would like to strip the paint with all hand rails and other detail parts attached. Any problems?
  2. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    The attached pdf is the collective wisdom of MANY modellers who have tried all kinds of stuff to strip paint. Take time to read through it all before trying any one solution (although there seems to be a consensus that Chameleon is good stuff).

    Attached Files:

  3. HWB

    HWB Supporter

    After reading the article it appears that I wasted my money on the Chameleon stripper when I could have bought a dollar bottle of alcohol.

    I'm sure MR wouldn't purposely stear anyone wrong but sometimes I think they are more into selling than cost friendly advice

    Thanks for the article
  4. HWB

    HWB Supporter

    The alcohol was spot on (ain't it always!)
    Heres a photo of the stripped switcher that will soon be Tulsa Sapulpa Union Railway #108. It started life as a Life Like P2K SW1200 painted for BN. How I enjoyed watching that paint melt away!
    Anyway it seems that the 91% alcohol works great for the P2K models


  5. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    91% isopropyl works wonders- the last P2K diesel I used it on was a GP7 in Santa Fe colors- took the paint & striping completely off!

    Your idea of a TSU switcher sounds pretty cool, ever thought of doing a Sand Springs switcher some time?
  6. TAG1014

    TAG1014 Supporter Supporter

    Does brake fluid still work? That was the model railroaders' "drug of chioce" for years in the MR'ing press.

  7. John Markl

    John Markl Member

    I used to use brake fluid all the time up until about ten years ago. Seems that Athearn and others changed to a water based paint or something and brake fluid wouldn't work anymore. Just made a yucky mess of everything.

    Maybe brake fluid only works on lacquer-based paint? :confused:
  8. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    FRISCO, of course- black with modified yellow striping, a la the Ft. Smith repaints. Gives me a grand total of four GP7s............;)
  9. HWB

    HWB Supporter

    The paint came off so well I'm looking for other P2K's to strip and paint. I didn't know the SW1200 was black underneath. I'm tempted to clean it and go Frisco. As soon as I find another one thats what I'm going to do. Anyone know what color the plastic is of a painted P2K GP7?

    And the warped handrail is what it is. The stripper didn't do that
  10. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I have (unfortunately) a Phase II P2k GP7 (with dynamic brakes) un-decorated. The body is gray plastic. Since there were no Frisco GP7s with dynamic brakes it is available.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  11. John Markl

    John Markl Member

    All of my undec P2k stuff is gray. (or grey) :rolleyes:

    Personally, I prefer the gray to a black for an undec shell, even if I'm painting black. Better to see your detail and coverages when painting.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2009
  12. HWB

    HWB Supporter

    no dynamic brakes on Frisco GP7's
  13. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    OK, I jumped into the Brier patch. Took my old Athearn SP5600 gp7 and tried the alcohol on it. I had a gallon can about half full of denatured alcohol which I have had for 15 years. It did not do a very good job - don't know if it was the alcohol being so old, or the paint that I had sprayed on the shell from a spray can, which was a lacquer maybe? Wound up soaking it overnight - still left quite a bit of paint, so (not wanting to purchase brake fluid) I tried the blaster on it. Pictures 10 and 14 are the before .. 15 and 16 are after. Have a couple spots that I need to hit again, but it worked good.
    Now, I need some help. I am going to remove "B" and "C" as they are not Frisco.

    What is "D" and "E" ??? Do they stay or go??

    What about the two "A" ?? What are they? Do they stay or go?

    How large are the "square looking" exhausts that I see in some photos ?:confused:
    It's going to be B/Y and I will use the full name HO decals that I have left over - unless I change my mind when the time cometh.

    I am trying my hand at some castings using Play-DO to make a mold and J-B Weld for the castings. See pictures. I need at least one fan to replace at the back of the hood.
    My first castings are pretty poor - but will have "junk" for the rail yard. Did not get the medium to flow properly into the mold and left unfilled spots and air bubbles. Will see how the next batch turn out.
    What is nice about the Play-DO is that after the "weld" has set up - just drop the whole thing into a cup of water and let it soak for a few hours ... it dissolves. :)

    Haven't done anything in HO in about 35 years ... sure is small.
    Any help appreciated :)
  14. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    OPPS - forgot the pictures :eek:

    Attached Files:

  15. mark

    mark Member


    The items you have marked as D and E are the steam generator intake vent and exhaust port (stack) respectively. The Frisco had units with and without steam generators, so whether to keep or remove these depends on the type of service, freight or freight / passenger, and unit number being modeled.

    The items marked as A are the sand box filler doors and should remain.

    The Athearn shell you are working from is made from a very old casting with a number of challenges. The car body width is out of proportion (way too wide), the door latches are poorly rendered and unrealistic looking (rectangles with a raised "T" formation), the "grab irons" are cast in as raised solid bars, the frame edge handrails are poorly rendered and as you have noted the hood top requires major work. This includes replacing the dynamic brake cooling fan and resistor blister housing, the winterization hatch, radiator cooling fan and riveted plate.

    I recommend scrapping the Athaern unit unless you really enjoy the challenges and problems it presents. You have made good strides with replacement castings to overcome some of the shortfalls in the Athearn shell. However, in the long run several of the other major issues will remain (car body too wide, door latches, etc.) unless additional major work is done.

    Focus your modeling efforts and time detailing one of the newer GP-7 units from Atlas or Walthers Proto 2000. These shells are available with the correct scale width hoods, well rendered door latch and other details, separate grab irons and nice handrails. In addition, they are available without dynamic brakes, no winterization hatch and have the appropriate radiator cooling fans and surrounding riveted plate. In the long run I think you will be happier with the results.

    Hope this helps.


    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2009
  16. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    Mark ... Thanks for the info. What is the correct width for the hood?
    This thing looks to be about 7.5 HO ft wide.
    Yes .. I know that there are MAJOR differences over-all. Not to mention the hand rails which are about 3.5 scale inches in diameter.
    DOOR LATCHES ?? What door latches ?? Anymore I don't need the three foot rule - One foot works just fine.
    I know it has a lot of problems, but it has a lot of sintemental value to me as well. After almost 40 years - it still runs, and even though it was not phototype, it said "Frisco" on the side when there was darn little "Frisco" anywhere. I just would like to "dress" her up a little. Make the old girl feel wanted again.
    I will work on getting a newer one down the road. In the meantime it gives me something to "piddle" with. :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2015
  17. John Markl

    John Markl Member

    If you are committed to the Athearn model for sentimental reasons......(I tend to be that way myself sometimes).......

    Removing the dynamic brakes is easy enough. Pop off the blisters, as you have already done. Cut out the 48" fan and fill the square hole with styrene and smooth with the filler of your choice. I use Squadron Green.

    To remove the winterization hatch will require a second "donor" shell, easily enough obtained. Carefully cut out the front two 36" fan section from the donor shell by cutting perpendicularly across the top of the hood on either side of the fan section. Then, cut horizontally along the casting seam on the side of the long hood, just under the radius from the top.

    Remove the fan section with the winterization hatch from the original shell. Take the donor fan section, reverse it, and install on your original shell. Sand and fill as needed.

    This may "sound" complicated, but over the years it has proven to be, by far, the easiest and cleanest means I've found to get rid of the winterization hatch. I've done it at least 30-40 times modeling CNW, Katy, and Texas Northeastern units.
  18. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    John ... Thanks :)
    How'ed you like to try for 41? :D
    I will study and consider all advise. In the meanwhile, I have to find a new Dremel. Plugged it in last evening - started to turn it on - it went PFFFT :eek:- and sparks flew out the sides. Bless it's heart .. It really had a lot of milage over the past 42 years.
  19. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Sirfoldalot lamented: "In the meanwhile, I have to find a new Dremel. Plugged it in last evening - started to turn it on - it went PFFFT :eek:- and sparks flew out the sides."

    Could it have ingested some epoxy fiberglass in an earlier life?

    Mine needed a new set of brushes several operating hours into a fairly strenuous life. It still works fine (knock on wood).

  20. John Markl

    John Markl Member

    Which reminds me.....when you remove the dynamic brake fan, note that I said "cut out"......not "cut off".....meaning, cut it OUT from inside the shell. If you try to cut it OFF from outside, you'll wind up scarring the roof detail. Drill 4 holes from inside, then cut it out, then carve, cut, or dremel out the raised portion of the fan housing.

    Hope that makes sense.

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