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I have a complete set of the Atlas O Gauge 3 rail California Zeypher  cars that were previously owned. I was lucky to obtain them for a reasonable amt... I would like to clean the rooftops small fluted areas from dust and a slight aroma of tobacco smoke. I assume that the paint is very thin for the reason of details. So- what is the best approach for this without wrecking anything? Thanks everyone!

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If the dust has been there awhile, dusting with a brush of any kind isn't going to remove it, or will just remove the top layer. Nor will it have any effect on removing whatever tobacco smell is attached. Also, keep in mind that dust is an abrasive; if brushed or rubbed against a surface, it can cause minute scratches in the finish. My suggestion is:

Do one car at a time. Get a couple of bathcloths. Go to the kitchen sink and turn the water on at a low rate, lukewarm. Soak one of the cloths and apply a little gentle dish soap like Dawn, and sudse that up in the cloth. Your other bathcloth will be left dry and used to dry off the cars. Hold the car upside down in your hand over the sink next to the spout, and with the other hand, cup some water and gently apply water the length of the top. The water serves as a lubricant and not only starts to clean, but will prevent the dust from having any abrasive effect. Then use the soapy cloth (make sure it's fairly well soaked with water) and softly wash the top of the car with light back and forth motions. Avoid any hard rubbing. After that, use the cupped hand technique again and carefully apply clean water to the top, washing off the soap. There may be some areas where a very soft toothbrush may help in cracks, etc. Just be sure you only brush lightly, and that there's water and soap on the surface as you gently brush. Then dry with your other cloth. If there are some bits of water stuck under something after you've dried, just blow it out and wipe it up with the cloth. Obviously, you want to keep water out of the inside of the car, and the truck areas, but holding the car upside down in your hand and not splashing too much takes care of that.

This process actually goes pretty fast - usually not more than a couple of minutes per car. This will be a complete wash and will remove all layers of dust, and should help remove the smoke smell as well. It most cases it leaves a extremely clean and great-looking finish that is far superior to just brushing the surface with a brush of some type.

From my sweetheart.

   

Most of the cleaning is done on the workbench, an air hose, with very low air pressure, speeds the cleaning.  Open display tends to become greasy, after awhile, even in a non-smoke home.   Windex, in a spray bottle, works as a solvent.  The Weaver M1a pictured above, came from a smoke environment, 15 years later, you can still smell smoke.   Mike CT.

Last edited by Mike CT
@Mike CT posted:

From my sweetheart.

   

Most of the cleaning is done on the workbench, an air hose, with very low air pressure, speeds the cleaning.  Open display tends to become greasy, after awhile, even in a non-smoke home.   Windex, in a spray bottle, works as a solvent.  The Weaver M1a pictured above, came from a smoke environment, 15 years later, you can still smell smoke.   Mike CT.

How about that smoke fluid smell Mike.

I really like the scents that are available these days but after a couple of day running trains the oily scent material left behind isnt the same as when first used.  ............  Something like maybe the gang got together in the observation car with a card game and a generous amount of  cigars and adult beverages.

Depending on how bad the locomotive is (think eBay), I use Phoenix Disc cleaner and special q-tips (very soft and abosrbent, not hard ended) and use them to wipe every visible part of the train.  I find it very effective to remove oil from ABS as well.  I wear nitrile gloves when handling all my items as well.  What can I say? I have issues.

Anthony

@Number 90 - I gave up on smoke as well. If you look under "The Stuff I Love", you'll see a Lionel RI GP7.  If you look closely around the grill, you'll see some ABS damage from where the previous owner filled the unit full of smoke fluid and then put it back in the box.  The damage is actually much more extensive than appears in the photo (I took the best one).  Photos taken at an angle really show the extent of the "discoloration".  Not a big deal though since that unit was purchased for the motor and chassis and the shell is to be replaced with the Lionel RI GP7 (unpowered).

A

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OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

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