Paint and Finish! I’m in the home stretch now! Of course this is where it is the easiest to mess everything up by not being patient enough with paint application, drying times, and over weathering!
My railroad has a standard paint scheme that is applied to locomotives and cabooses. I decided to use a modified version for this crane. Most prototype MOW equipment is painted in basic and simple schemes but every once in a while, a local shop will show a little extra pride and finish a favorite piece of equipment in a more flashy color. That is the case for this crane. While the tender is the basic MOW re-lettered black the crane is two tone dark red and grey with quad white stripes and company logos. The boss is mad about the wasted paint and labor, but the crew is proud! The CEO isn’t as upset, since this is a maintenance crane and not a wreck crane. The A&D doesn’t letter wreck equipment, in case a picture of a wreck cleanup ever shows up in a local newspaper… no company logos on the front page!
The cab is dark red with white quad stripes and lettering. The frame and trucks are grey. The boom and associated machinery is flat black. On this project, I am using rattle cans. I warm the well shaken cans by running warm tap water over the cans until the can is warm to the touch. If you shake the can and can feel a temperature change, the can is not warm enough. It seems this helps mix the paint with the propellant as well as thin the paint to allow a more even flow. I also don’t scrimp on the spray paint to begin with. The extra bucks at the hardware store for premium paint equals better paint and more importantly better nozzles! The $7 Krylon paint has MUCH better nozzles! The .99 cent cans have crude nozzles that seriously screw up paint flow. This leads to spatter and thick blobs. I also regularly wipe the nozzle off to keep any build up from falling into the stream. I hold the can about a foot from the model and make several light passes or “dustings” allowing the paint to set between shots. It can take several hours to get complete coverage. I also start by painting the cracks and crannies first and the open flat areas last. This helps control the paint thickness. Of course, all spray can painting has to happen outside with a box fan blowing from behind me! You don’t want to breathe this stuff! (You also should pay attention to the “down range” area from your painting! My wife didn’t like the new feathered colors I added to our brand new car! It wiped off with some Windex, but I was a little worried at first!)
After the paint has dried (can’t smell it), I’ll start the decaling. It’s getting close now!