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Does anyone know of or have the correct Union Pacific paint match for the paint Lionel  uses on the newer diesel locomotives including the new Genset.  I want to change a number on one of the locomotives but I don't have a paint match for it.  I have the red decals for it just not the correct paint match.  The problem is that I only need to change one number possibly two.  I can feather the paint if it is close enough with a little weathering around the area of the numbers so that it all blends in.   Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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I can promise you, there will be no one perfect paint match straight from a jar or a can unless you find that one in a million jar that just so happens to be a dead on match. Not everybody’s version of UP Yellow, or gold, or whatever they call it is the exact same color…..if you want a dead on match, you’ll have to start with whomever’s vendor you choose, test the dried color against your model, then cocktail it to tone it to match……unless you go overseas and find the barrel of color they painted those Gensets with from the get go, you’ll have to become a pseudo chemist, and blend a color that suits you,……..toning yellows, or mustard colors can be tricky, but it can be done,….black, white, brown, and yellow are the best choices for basic toning of yellows and mustard yellow colors….


Wanting to expand my fleet of Rutland hoppers I ended up buying a second 3 car set. I needed to change out some numbers. I purchased a Paasche air eraser. It comes with a jar of fine grit aluminum oxide. I was basically removing just one number. I masked off as close as I could get to the number I was removing. A few blasts and it was easily removed. It dulled the paint underneath a bit. But a pass of clear gloss brought it back. Just remove the tape before hitting it with gloss so you don’t end up with a sharp edge. Use a number close to the size of what you masked off. Then clear back over it after you apply the new decal. Even if it ended up a little dull underneath the new number should cover it.

They can be had for about $60.00 with the small jar of grit. If you already have an airbrush and compressor it’s a good buy. I wasn’t  doing an engine and if the results went south it was a matter of matching black on something that was going to be weathered anyways. Yellow as mentioned are all over the place for correct prototype colors. If you go this route. Use about 35 psi. and work slowly on something for practice.

Last edited by Dave_C

Pat, I certainly agree with you about being able to match exactly on the UP Yellow and i'm definitely not a chemist but thanks so much for your reply, how'd you guess I wanted to change the number on my new UP Genset?   Andrew-Porter and Jonathan, thanks for your suggestions, I had totally forgotten about the Pantone system.  I haven't used an airbrush in a number of years now as all of my stuff was packed away in storage and then we moved and after two years I'm just now getting to a point where I can finally start doing things again.  I'm really anxious to get back after it again.  Thanks guys for your comments and suggestions and help, I really appreciate it.

Start with the least offensive products, and graduate up as the removal becomes more stubborn,…..try ELO ( easy lift off ) first. That might lift off the pad printed letters and or numbers, and not harm the underlying color……don’t jump to the most aggressive method first. Sometimes there’s an easier solution than sanding, then paint matching, masking, blending, blah blah blah,…..🤮…..Also there’s lots of threads related to this topic, some with solutions with pics and demos……if you do have to go the sand paper route, fashion a true square block, this way the paper is only grinding against the highest point, in your case, the pad printed digits …..using your finger with result in a non uniform pattern, and you’ll certainly burn through the base color in a heartbeat…..and then you have a wreck….


@GG1 4877 posted:

I don't know if this helps or not, but Lionel uses the Pantone system for all their color matches.  You can purchase the color decks, but unfortunately they are not cheap, especially for a single color match.

One has to wonder how they manage to screw up the color matches between their own equipment if they do this, such as the N&W J and the Polar Express stuff...

I don't know about the specific color you need, but, speaking of technique, it can be preferable to find the closest color, then paint the entire area, ending at logical physical breaks and details, then re-decaling the entire number, etc. "Sticking" a number in and then feathering the new near-match paint can often just end in an obvious patch, and not the good kind you see after mergers/re-numberings.

I have re-numbered some steamers by painting the entire lower cab side then applying the new number, even though only one digit changed. Then Dullcote, etc.

@harmonyards posted:

Why not let this thread be about a specific technique that the OP requested,…not a whining session,… wanna whine, go start a thread about whining……


What whining? I'm just pointing out that simply because someone says they pantone color match, doesn't mean they do. What good would it do the OP to get the pantone colors if the manufacturer didn't get them correct? It'd be a waste of his time and money.

@Magicland posted:

What whining? I'm just pointing out that simply because someone says they pantone color match, doesn't mean they do. What good would it do the OP to get the pantone colors if the manufacturer didn't get them correct? It'd be a waste of his time and money.

I have done projects with Lionel.  That is why I know they do Pantone color matches.  I have also done projects with Weaver, MTH, and I have worked for 3rd Rail since 2009.

Due to import / export issues paint cannot be imported into most countries.  As a result, the factories source paint in country.  They take the samples provided and do custom color matches.  It is up the manufacturer to verify that they are getting good color matches based on the colors they select for the project.  When a color doesn't match it is typically a project management error.  I've experienced that personally with one case in point being the roof color on the Missouri Pacific E8s.  The gray is off.  I own that mistake.

Furthermore, if a color for Lionel doesn't match the Pantone color that is the exception rather than the rule.  We have skewed sense of negativity on this forum as everyone is quick to point out errors, but rarely points out when it is done correctly.

As a result, the Pantone system for Lionel colors is in most cases an excellent starting point for obtaining a color match.

Last edited by GG1 4877

You can start with Scalecoat II Armour Yellow, and add a drop of Tuscan to it to match. It’s close out of the bottle. You may need to lighten it ever so slightly once you add Tuscan with a drop of white. I’ve got the color matched exactly doing this.
Also, as far as number changes, I’d recommend doing all four so they match each other. Good luck.

Last edited by Jeff78rr

Morning Guys,  thank you all so much for your wonderful suggestions and tips, they are all very helpful and I truly appreciate everyone of them.  Jeff, I like what you suggested about the Scalecoat II paint, I may have some of that from when I was into HO, many years back.  It may not be good anymore but I'll try and find some new ones.  Good idea about changing all four numbers, I'll worry about the lighted number boards next.  

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