Category Archives: Customizing Rolling Stock

Repainting 8135 coaches for the SJ: Part 3

This is the 3rd and final post on the repainting and lettering of the Marklin Dompfeil train set (8135) for the SJ.

Before (Marklin 8135):

After (SJ coaches using FR decal set):

At the start of this project I had never repainted a train car before or operated an airbrush thus much was learned.

SJ coaches in z scale have been extremely limited, FR released a type litt AB8k 1st and 2nd class in a single release of 30 only, FR 46.299.00 was based on a German built coach that was used on a ferry service. In order to accurately represent this coach FR modified a Marklin coach that was shortened by one window.

photo: FR 46.299.00 (edition: 30 total) – SJ type litt AB8k 1st and 2nd class coach

For those interested in SJ modeling in z there are numerous locos and freight cars by FR, but scant few passenger coaches until FR released a decal set several years ago intended for the Marklin 8135 coaches, these German built coaches for the Dompfeil train set were likewise used on the SJ.

The process of producing a set of 4 coaches started with disassembly of the coaches followed by stripping, in this post the final stages are documented including masking, painting, and lettering.

Identifying the sections to paint include the undercarriage, sides, and roof. The roof is a clip on part, it does not require masking unlike the shells. Painting two colors of the same part requires masking, I decided to start with the undercarriage and vestibules color, I sprayed the entire shells with this color with no masking.

Before applying the brown paint I masked off the vestibules and undercarriage. The masking material is similar to common masking tape, but it is markedly thinner with a slick surface, it also comes in a variety of widths. I chose masking tape of 6mm width manufactured by Tamiya.

After paint is dried the masking tape is removed, for areas not protected by masking retouching maybe required, I chose to paint the buffers with a brush as the final stage of painting, masking these seemed an impossible task and fine brush work produced great results.

The FR decals in the set are applied by rubbing onto the cars, they differ from other decals that are applied with water. The decals provided had alignment marks to make positioning easy, my burnishing tool was an artists’ burnishing bone, but a soft tipped lead pencil should work fine.

After decals are applied a final coat of clear lacquer is sprayed on to protect the finish and decals. And reassembly follows as the last step.

Notes on airbrushing: I purchased an Iwata Neo airbrush with an Iwata braided hose for just over $100. Several airbrush air compressors were available from the store I purchased the airbrush from with prices ranging in the $220-$300 range, I chose to use a Porter Cable pancake compressor I use for air tools. A fitting is available to connect the braided airbrush hose to this type of compressor for a few bucks. The only difference between an air tool compressor and a specialty airbrush compressor is one of noise, the airbrush compressor is very quiet while hearing protection is required with the pancake compressor. PSI (pressure per square inch) is a determined by testing on a piece of paper, I set the compressor gauge to 20 PSI which worked perfectly, others I researched recommend 15-20 PSI. Air brushes require cleaning after painting, cleaners are available or water can be used for acrylic paints. When the spray is clear the nozzle is clean, other parts should be cleaned as well. A cleaner between paint colors is also required.

Notes on paint: the consistency of paint should be the same as skim milk, most paints may require thinning with water to gain this consistency. I used Testors acrylic paints that I mixed to customize the color, they are railroad based colors that did not require any thinning. The clear coat I used is made by Iwata, it was the consistency of white glue and required thinning to spray. Acrylic paints dry quickly and can be layered on layer without skinning as can be the case with enamels or the combination of the two. The very best results will be achieved with 100% acrylic paints. Careful attention should be applied in mixing paints for airbrushing, straining maybe required to avoid clogs and poor paint results. For safety use a mask and gloves.

Notes on applying decals: as with much detail work careful consideration applies to attaching decals, they are transferred from a sheet to the model with burnishing tools. Best results are achieved with a level flat object, I use a specialty artists’ burnishing bone. Pointy tools will not work! Acrylic paints should be allowed to dry overnight to provide a hard surface for decal work. And very delicate handling until final spray coat of lacquer. I used clear lacquer with a satin finish which is consistent with Marklin’s coach finishes.

For close to two years I had the decal set and a second Marklin 8135 for this project, but I was reluctant to start due to lack of expertise. Plus I was apprehensive to strip the paint of mint Marklin coaches: after stripping there was no going back. I discovered that air brushing is easier than I thought producing a superior paint finish. Now I feel the airbrush is as important to the railroader as the soldering iron. Future uses for this new tool include weathering track, cars and locos.

Good luck and have fun!

Siding: FR’s Ra 987 electric locomotive is a compatible loco for this coach set, it is based on the prototype from the mid 1950’s:  FR 46.132.01 was produced in a limited series of 32 total, it is still available from quality-toys-trains on Ebay.

 

Repainting Marklin 8135 coaches for the SJ: Part 2

Part 2 is completed: stripping the old and prepping for the new. Marklin’s 8135 Dompfeil set is the subject of the repaint and older SJ coaches will be the end result.

I am using the FR label kit for the repaint which includes dry transfer lettering, lettering will take place in Part 4.

Following Part 1 which was disassembly this post concerns stripping paint from plastic train shells. The stripper is 91% isopropyl alcohol available from any drugstore, its cost for this project $4.00.

I first placed all parts to be stripped (4 coach shells and 1 roof panel) in a small plastic dish and submerged them in the alcohol. In about 1 hour the paint appeared to be softening on the shells. Using a toothbrush I applied little pressure to remove the paint and decals, it would take numerous attempts with time in between to remove the finish, but it eventually started coming off with the toothbrush. The roof which was yellow in the original set was much more difficult to strip, it required an overnight soak in the alcohol. The silver painted roof panels I did not strip these I will simply spray over, I stripped the warm white panel due to the thickness of the paint which was heavier than the silver paint.

Note: use of eyewear and gloves is highly recommended. The fumes from the alcohol is very strong thus a well ventilated work area is best, take frequent breaks to avoid breathing in too many fumes, the plastic parts are not affected by the alcohol, they will not melt.

For paint that was in small crevices or around roof details I made use of a toothpick, soaked in alcohol, it worked well to dislodge hard to get at paint.

Following the stripping I washed each part in mild Dawn dish washing liquid and rinsed well.

After inspecting each dry part I repeated the stripping to remove paint on some of the window frames.

photo: before

photo: after

The next step is painting which will include constructing a spray booth out of cardboard box, matching paint chip FR included in kit, and constructing armature to hold the parts for painting.

Siding: the Dompfeil coaches are the same ones made in Germany for the SJ, they featured aluminum roof panels: early ones were painted gray and the late ones were shiny silver. For these coaches I am modeling the earlier ones to be pulled by an Ra 987 Express locomotive.

photo: FR – 46.132.01 – Statens Jarnvagar SJ (Swedish State Railways) Serie Ra 987 Express locomotive. Limited Release of 32 locos total.

Repainting Marklin 8135 for the SJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!: Part 1

photo: FR 46.130.31 – RC-2 locomotive for SJ

Marklin has paid little attention to Scandinavian Railroads in z gauge. There have been releases such as the 4 MY locos (brilliant series!!!!) and a few interesting freight cars, but never has there been attention paid to Sweden, this country’s railroads are left up to the never ending achievements of Harald Freudenreich at FR.

photo: FR 46.816.01 – Kis 950 sliding roof car for steel slab transport on SJ

Marklin has covered the SJ railway in HO only while FR has devoted much of their time in recent memory to SJ and other Scandinavian railroads. FR offers some Swiss, German and Austrian items currently, but Harald’s devoted fans come to him for Scandinavian trains.

photo: FR 46.132.01 – Ra 987 Express Locomotive of the SJ

Some of the most interesting railroads in the World are located in some of the most interesting natural wonders in the World. Light, geography, and climate combine to create the beautiful Scandinavian landscape, but for trains it is challenging, cargo has to be protected from a rather brutal climate with some box cars lined with heavy insulation to protect from permafrost and autos transported in closed boxes. More on this topic at a later date.

photo: FR 47.812.00 – insulated box car for the NSB

The topic today is a project I have been interested in starting for awhile now, it is the repaint of Marklin 8135 coaches for the SJ Railway. Although FR has paid much attention to freight rolling stock, they have not released coaches for the SJ as of this date with one exception. An announcement was made earlier in the year that coach sets are coming to market later this year, but in the meantime I am making my own custom set using dry stencils provided by FR a couple of years ago. The exception was a proposed project of many years that was finally released last year, it was a Marklin coach modified for SJ. The prototype was based on German built coaches used in ferry service in Sweden.  In order to model the prototype FR repainted and stenciled the coach after cutting the shell to remove a window thus shortening the coach. I own this coach and the craftsmanship is flawless.

photo: FR 46.299.00 – type litt AB8k 1st and 2nd class coach for ferry service to Germany. The top coach is the modified Marklin for SJ by FR, and the bottom coach is the original standard coach by Marklin.

Why refinish the 8135 coaches and not another set of coaches? Good question! Set 8135 was released in 1991 and included coaches built in Germany that were also used on the SJ. The historical perspective was provided by FR who also provided the stencil kit for relettering the coaches and a paint chip for the correct shade of reddish brown used by SJ. Painting and other details will be discussed in Part 2 and 3 respectively.

photo: deluxe box train set “Dompfeil” of the DB

The first installment of this project is disassembly of the coaches. It is okay to be a little nervous disassembling Marklin coaches, but all things Marklin are built to take apart, each part is snapped or clipped together without glue. Repainting projects in Marklin Z are not necessarily recommended by this railroader, they potentially will diminish the collectible value, but in my case I own two 8135 sets which I like very much, turning the second set into SJ coaches is a bit necessary since I collect SJ locos built for express service.

On with the project! First step is identifying the set for repaint, in this case the historical background was already researched by FR. The set for repaint is Marklin 8135 released with a BR 03 express loco in a deep blue paint scheme. The set was released in 1991 with three 2nd class coaches and one DRG dining car. This was a deluxe boxed set presented in a high gloss illustrated carton. The running performance of this loco is superb, and it looks great to boot!

photo: 8135 locomotive and tender – BR 03

photo: 3 coaches disassembled with their respective parts including shell, trucks, weight, roof, and window glazing.

Step 2 includes the removal of the roof which is easily accomplished by very carefully pulling it off, the roof is clipped on and starting from one end seems to be the way to do this successfully.

Step 3 involves the removal of each car’s pair of trucks, carefully swivel each truck to the side for leverage and using a small screwdriver gently pry the truck off by moving back and forth around the pivot point, it will snap off. Note: torquing as seen in the photo is necessary for removal of trucks, but please use care.

Step 4 using a small pair of tweezers and starting at one end gently loosen the window glazing held in place with prongs in the base of the coach. Take note of the indents that line up with the roof clips for reassembly later.

Step 5 is removal of the weights. Using a small screwdriver remove the plastic heat points holding the weights down, weights will lift off easily from the posts in the bottom of shell.

This is one of those projects that allows a railroader to tinker with their hobby.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Siding: this set contains parts that are snapped or clipped in place, but older coaches used glue to cement the window glazing, in the case of older coaches window glazing will more than likely pop out with gently wriggling. Reassembly of early windows is accomplished with 5 minute epoxy only, other glues use solvents that might melt plastic. NEVER use a soldering iron in and around enclosed plastic parts, micro soldering irons should only be used on heat points to attach shell to frame and coupler housings with caution!