Best paint for Gilbert AF Hudson

I bought an AF 321 Hudson.  All the body components are in very good to excellent condition with excellent numbering and lettering, except the pilot which was not very well painted by Gilbert.  In fact there's more silver showing through than black.  As much as I hate to repaint any part of this engine, I may have no choice, but to paint the pilot.  What paint do you recommend I use?  Thank you.  

David Horn

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Original Post

I'm taking a risk here suggesting something but I'll share an experience and leave it up to you to decide or maybe someone has a better answer.  I once completely restored a basket case 293 Pacific first stripping all paint.  Then I used Rust-Oleum spray Satin Black to paint it.  In my estimation it came out close enough compared to other engines I have.  You would obviously and probably detach the pilot to paint separately.  Again, this is ONLY my experience to try to get close to original.  Wait first to see what others also have to say. 

Thanks Philo.  The engine is disassembled.  I will clean it and renew it electro-mechanically back to tip top condition.  Was hoping only to clean the body segments, but this pilot was originally so poorly painted I feel like it should be made to look better and match the rest of the engine.   

David Horn

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The finish on Flyer steamers changed through the years. The earliest ones had a nice flat black finish but the later ones got more of a satin, almost glossy finish. Your 321 should be of the earliest (and best looking, IMO) finish, meaning it would originally have been flat black. Many of the products offered as "Train Paint" are too glossy to match the early steamers.

 

The absolute best paint I've found for the 1946-ish locomotives is ACE Hardware Instant Drying Lacquer #17029 Flat Black. It's inexpensive and easy to find. Don't mind the fact that it is lacquer - it dries almost instantly and will not craze the original finish. You can try it on the underside of the pilot if you have any doubts, but I think you'll find this paint to match the original well. I have even used it to "touch up" places like dome tops and edges where the original paint has rubbed through and found it to blend almost invisibly with the original finish. And, if you don't like it, the other Good News is that it goes on in a very thin coat that will not hide detail, and actually dries (unlike lots of enamels). So, if you really don't like it, you can paint over it with the finish of your choice.

 

Try it. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Good luck.

Thanks to both of you for your suggestions.  I just might try both on a test piece and see which looks as though it will most likely match best to this particular engine.  An Ace hardware store is not very close to our home, but within reasonable driving distance.  Great stores.  Always something there to get besides what you went in for.  

David Horn

Longtime S-gauger

Selling collection

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Keep on rollin'... 

 

most to all black steamer where painted semi gloss black..I mostly paint my trains with automotive paints because they can take a better beating... To bad Krylon changed there formula then I would use there paints... My grandpa did some restoring tin plates with krylon spray paint..good memorys in grandpa basement...that got me into spray paint first ,then graduated to painting my stuff with a HVLP gravityfed gun..if you strip it to bear metal.. put an etch primer on it first before you use prime it....I bet most of you guy never etch prime your metal train.. proubley just prime and paint..? 1 it etchit self  into the metal for paint to stick on better..2 its a crossion protector too.They make it in a rattle can forum.. can buy them at you local autoparts store like advance..in dup-color..

 

Originally Posted by Sgaugian:

Josey - great point about priming.  Craig and Philo - what do you prime with?  I stopped at an Ace, but they only had 17027 and 17028, no 17029.  

Great idea from joseywales.  If I were to do it again I would use that.  This was some years ago but I used Floquil solvent based primer and airbrush because of the fine pigment to minimally obscure detail.  I used a common paint stripper first and thoroughly cleaned the diecast shell with dish detergent and a LOT of rinsing.  So far the finish has held up quite well. In comparison to my other engines I think only an expert could tell if this was a repaint using the satin black.  The giveaway would be the dry transfer white numbers.

 

Phil  

been doing autobody and paint work for over 30 years..doing die cast to tin is no difference in paint peperation to real cars and trucks... You can find dupi-color etch primer at advance autoparts and napa and autozone stores..then use the dupi-color primer filler works on any deep gouges and some pits..dupi-color also make a satin black..ALL THE PAINT I'D TOLD YOU ARE IN RATTLE CANS/SPRAY PAINT FORUM!.. heres a trick for you guy to try out..after you paint your metal train.. stick the shell in the oven at 125 for 15mins.. this what you call baked on finish.. this how some body shop who has baking booth..sticks the freshly paint car in the baking booth for 15-20mins to speed cure the dry prosses..this how you can take your car home the same day it was painted..

 

Originally Posted by Sgaugian:

Josey - great point about priming.  Craig and Philo - what do you prime with?  I stopped at an Ace, but they only had 17027 and 17028, no 17029.  

I don't believe the die-cast Gilbert steamers were primed originally (not 100% sure about that, but I see no evidence). I've not found a need for priming as long as the part is really clean and dry. Using too much paint tends to obscure detail, so the thinner the finish, the better. I have never had any sort of paint failure or chipping after a repaint. It's not as though these trains are going to be exposed to harsh weather. Of course, I don't beat mine up like I might have when I was a kid, but I'm not sure I'd go to the effort of doing a restoration for something that was going to be abused by a child anyway, so ...

 

Also, use of the lacquer I mentioned doesn't require or benefit from "baking", as it actually "dries" unlike most enamels. I've seen restoration articles in Classic Toy Trains magazine and they do sometimes use primer. Their results (to me, anyway) come out looking like "repainted trains". Your mileage may vary.

Originally Posted by Craig Donath:
Originally Posted by Sgaugian:

Josey - great point about priming.  Craig and Philo - what do you prime with?  I stopped at an Ace, but they only had 17027 and 17028, no 17029.  

I don't believe the die-cast Gilbert steamers were primed originally (not 100% sure about that, but I see no evidence). I've not found a need for priming as long as the part is really clean and dry. Using too much paint tends to obscure detail, so the thinner the finish, the better. I have never had any sort of paint failure or chipping after a repaint. It's not as though these trains are going to be exposed to harsh weather. Of course, I don't beat mine up like I might have when I was a kid, but I'm not sure I'd go to the effort of doing a restoration for something that was going to be abused by a child anyway, so ...

 

Also, use of the lacquer I mentioned doesn't require or benefit from "baking", as it actually "dries" unlike most enamels. I've seen restoration articles in Classic Toy Trains magazine and they do sometimes use primer. Their results (to me, anyway) come out looking like "repainted trains". Your mileage may vary.


the proublems with lacguers paint is.. They crack in time like an allagartors back and they can chip easyer and not as durable as emamels..Not primming your metal trains? I bet in time the paint will flake off..I seen that happend before too,alot. If lacquer was so great why arnt they using it to paint real cars and trains anymore?? Heres the reasons. 1 theres alot of work using it..dries to fast,will blush/turns to milky white when the humity is high when spraying it. It time it will crack and not durable.. you have to spray alot of coats for wet sanding and buffing..fades out and  have to re buff it alot. Most of the real trains are painted with uerathanes,IMORNs and Epoxys paints. On our model trains on the metal bodys some to most companys bake there paint finishes on.  That proubley why you dont see any primer on some of them..On another thought.they couldve used Clear paint adheasion protion on it first before they paint there trains too. Baking also make the paint stronger too. Lacquuers is old and outdated paint system.

 

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