Custom paint job needed, seeking skilled painter

So here is my situation, I have two 2 rail Atlas O Bangor & Aroostook GP-9's that I need repainted and relettered for the Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis. I've already stripped the engines of their radiators on top to make them appear to look more like GP-7's, because the NC&StL only had GP-7's. I also relocated the horns to the proper locations to match the NC&StL's prototype, as well as added the proper headlights. 


So now I just require a skilled painter to repaint and decal these engines. It's a relatively easy job, just stripping the paint, spraying the trucks and fuel tank black as well as the hand rails, and the body maroon. I already have the decals for the yellow stripes and the lettering. I just have zero expertise when it comes to repainting and lettering a locomotive.


Can anybody refer a good custom painter?


I need to go from this...



To this... (this is a HO model btw)


-Ben Nance


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Original Post

Get the best there is- hire Harry Heike. He isn't cheap, but he IS the best. Or, there are a few that advertise in the train magazines and say they can do any custom rail road you want.


Santa Fe- "The red streak of the golden prairies."


Former Member of the TCA

Hi Ben, I would do a "search" for custom painting in the forum search.  This subjects has been brought up many times and you can find all the past answers and people to contact there.  It is always a good idea to do a forum search first if you are seeking particular subject help.




"Texas Special - On the Katy Route"


You really ought to try doing it yourself.  In the long run it'll save you money, increase your enjoyment and pride knowing you can do it yourself, and you can paint more than just engines.


I have a very old compressor (Miller) and a not so old airbrush (Badger Crescendo 175).  If I had to get another it would be an Iwata brand:


If you still want to get someone else to do it, do what Tex (Steve) said and do a search on the forum, there's a few well-known painters who can do what you want.


Here's a Williams E7 I stripped and repainted for Seaboard Air Line:



A modified MTH CA-1 caboose:



A Weaver PS2 2-Bay Covered Hopper:



A MTH 0-6-0:



I'm by no means a great painter, but if you take your time you can turn out a few nice pieces at a fraction of the cost.


If you do decide to ever get a compressor and airbrush, get a compressor that is quiet.  Mine makes a racket and I find the noise alone makes me get in a rush.  I had the Iwata girl at the IPMS show in Va. Beach a few years back give me a demonstration and I couldn't even hear their compressor, which was less than 5 feet away.


Having A Blast Running BPRC


It's much easier than you think. You can buy a real nice air compressor & airbrush for around $250. 1) Read all the material you can find. 2) Practice until you understand the basics.

You're wanting to do a very simple paint scheme. When it's said and done you'll have the satisfaction in doing it yourself.



My Two-Cents                 


Just to point out: the "radiators" on the loco's long hood are actually the dynamic brake

equipment (resistors), though they certainly "radiated" the heat of dynamic braking; also,

these features had nothing to do with the loco being a GP7 or GP9. Dynamic brakes

were an option and could be had on either (prototype) model.


So far as I know.


One thing to bear in mind - custom anything takes time.  First take a wild guess as to how long this might take - four hours? Multiply that by your hourly wage or equivalent, and add a fudge factor because the painter gets to pay his own FICA, health insurance, and equipment costs, and you will see why most of us learn how to do it ourselves.

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