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I am at a stand still right now, I have stripped and painted a number of model train cars and locomotives. I have some Polar Express cars that I would like to repaint, the trouble is the things that I have used to strip the paint previously do not work.  I have tried the industrial cleaner  de-greaser from the Depot and alcohol.  I don't want to use brake fluid and if nothing else will work I may just paint over the factory paint. The only thing the alcohol has taken off is the lettering "POLAR EXPRESS". Has anybody run into this and found a stripping material that works. It looks like the paint on the newer Flyonel is some very tough paint.

Thanks

Ray

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Lectric Shave is almost all SD Alcohol 40, which has been tried and failed.

I've actually taken marks off my painted cars with Magic Erasers.  I suspect removing all the paint from a car with one of those would be a very tedious exercise!

Depends on the paint.  For example, I stripped an MPC era tender shell down to bare plastic in a few minutes using this method...

And generic Lectric Shave works better, particularly "Best Choice" brand.   May have a different formula.   All I know is, I've given demonstrations of paint removal in the past, and the general response is, "We're putting THAT on our faces?!" 

Mitch

Depends on the paint.  For example, I stripped an MPC era tender shell down to bare plastic in a few minutes using this method...

Perhaps so, but he specifically mentioned soaking it in alcohol for an extended period of time with no results, so I doubt that it would have worked here.  Since we were talking about this specific example, that's the specific situation I'm talking about.

Rayin "S",

You sound like you've done this before so please forgive me if you already know what I'm about to mention. It may be beneficial to others anyway.

I've used a number of different products over the years with varying results. I've used, BLECHE-WITE white wall cleaner for tires, fantastic household cleaner, 91% alcohol, & heavy duty Easy Off yellow can. One of these products actually made an HO Athearn trains SW1500 plastic shell brittle & brake up. It was either the brake fluid or Easy Off, I don't remember.

Since the paint is smooth & the lettering is off, which always shows when painted over because it's another layer of paint, just paint over, as John & others suggested. If you own, an airbrush it will give you better control & a thinner coat of paint and avoid blobbing up the details. If you only have access to rattle cans, I've had a lot of success with them, even when painting over pre-painted items. Warming up the paint can in a basin of warm water, for about 30 minutes, will help the paint flow on smoother. NOT HOT WATER! Even warming up the body with a hair dryer just before spraying will help with the paint flow. Humidity should be low. Flat paints will go on easier & thinner but will need a clear gloss coat if you intend to decal.

If you have the entry level semi scale Polar Express set and/or expansion cars, the main body of the car, the color is in the plastic and not painted. At least that is how my semi scale PE cars are. Only the red stripe around the windows and black roof are painted. I would guess you could just sand and paint right over the blue plastic. I can't think of any paint removers that won't damage or completely destroy the plastic. Very fine sand paper or emery cloth and some elbow grease might be the only way.

Scalecoat Wash Away. Its not cheap (to soak a whole O scale piece takes a few bottles), but you can run it through coffee filters and reuse it.

It is the only thing I know of that takes off anything (including "impossible" MTH paint). The directions say soak for 10 minutes, which works if its something you just painted. But for factory paint, more like 12-24 hrs.

Gents,

I may be wrong, and I usually am according to "someone I live with", but we're confusing S with O in some replies.  The original post was concerning an S gauger and some replies talked about Baby Madison and "semi-scale" cars.  Neither exists in S, although input from our brother O gaugers is always welcome.  The cars I have (in S) are all painted, not colored plastic.

As far as removing the paint the Lionel uses on their items, I've found it to be quite tough stuff.  I'd recommend what others like gunrunnerjohn have recommended.  That is, simply get the lettering off and apply just enough paint to cover what the factory applied so as not to further obliterate any cast-in details.  Lionel has some nicely done molded details like rivets in their offerings, but to actually go to the trouble to COMPLETELY remove factory paint to see rivets more clearly would put us dangerously close to the dreaded category of those who count them! 

BTW, I too have a project in mind for "one of these days" which also involves a repaint of PE cars, but I plan on simply removing the lettering and painting over the factory PE colors with  Pullman Green.

@poniaj posted:

Gents,

I may be wrong, and I usually am according to "someone I live with", but we're confusing S with O in some replies.  The original post was concerning an S gauger and some replies talked about Baby Madison and "semi-scale" cars.  Neither exists in S, although input from our brother O gaugers is always welcome.  The cars I have (in S) are all painted, not colored plastic.

As far as removing the paint the Lionel uses on their items, I've found it to be quite tough stuff.  I'd recommend what others like gunrunnerjohn have recommended.  That is, simply get the lettering off and apply just enough paint to cover what the factory applied so as not to further obliterate any cast-in details.  Lionel has some nicely done molded details like rivets in their offerings, but to actually go to the trouble to COMPLETELY remove factory paint to see rivets more clearly would put us dangerously close to the dreaded category of those who count them! 

BTW, I too have a project in mind for "one of these days" which also involves a repaint of PE cars, but I plan on simply removing the lettering and painting over the factory PE colors with  Pullman Green.

Well, removing paint is sort of a "multi-scale" issue, but it behooves (today's $5 word) S Folks to put either "Flyer" or "S" in the post title in order to avoid confusion.

As far as paint, I don't know who Lionel uses as a supplier, but Don Thompson of the former SHS line once stated their paint came from Hyundai, so we may be dealing with more of an industrial lacquer rather than a model paint.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque

BTW, I too have a project in mind for "one of these days" which also involves a repaint of PE cars, but I plan on simply removing the lettering and painting over the factory PE colors with  Pullman Green.

Jerry, That is the way I am going with these PE cars. I did pull one of my baggage cars that I had painted way back when, I put it in the industrial cleaner and looked at it after a couple of hours and the paint is coming off as a sheet. I am definitely going to use a primer over the Lionel paint, primer and paint, both from BADGER. I am hoping it will turn out as I desire, if so, I will post pictures, if not it will be my secret.

Ray

Jerry, I have cut one of the cars to make an observation car of it, cut it right in the door seam and re-install the vestibule, actually worked pretty nicepeobs1peobs2

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Last edited by Rayin"S"

Ray,

Nicely done!  That's something similar to what I have in mind, so it's nice to see that a coach can substitute for an observation car.

I also don't ignore any advice from our O gauge brothers either.  Aside from a few minor differences, model trains are model trains (or toys, depending on who you talk to ).  So anything that is common to all scales is welcome and appreciated, such as applying a good primer first (thanks, Mitch).  Now, all I need is the time to get to my little project...

@BobbyD posted:

It his defense, the question is posted in the "S" Scale Forum.

True enough.   However, many read the title of a post off the Recent Posts sidebar and don't necessarily check the bar at the top to see which forum it's posted in once in.  Plus the OP makes no mention of Flyer in the initial post

For example, if one titles their posting " Problem With NKP Berkshire" a lot of O Gaugers are going to chime in because Lionel makes 3 versions on the NKP Berkshire in O, also probably asking for a product number.  Saying S Gauge, S or Flyer in the title clears thing up.

Even with this thread, given the quantity of Polar Express questions posted on the 3-Rail forum I initially passed it by because I didn't realize it was on the S Scale forum.  I stumbled across it while looking for something else.

Rusty

@poniaj posted:

Good question.  The "snow" is painted on.  If it were up to me, I'd wet sand the edges of the "snow" with at least 800 grit paper and then prime to see if the margins are still there.  If so, sand again and prime again until no visible margin remains.

Jerry,

An update, although I would not try this on the entire car, I was able to pretty much erase the snow line using a Kwick Strip product, Brush Cleaner with some Q tips. Also I found on one car that I had to go down to the plastic to get rid of any sign of the Polar Express lettering.

I did find a stripper that will take the paint down to the plastic but will not recommend it to anyone, it got so thick that I was afraid I would never get it off of the shell.

Ray

As usual I am late to this discussion. I have used a number of things over the years for stripping paint off plastic. Many different alcohols, brake fluid, EasyOff oven cleaner which BTW the active ingredient is Sodium Hydroxide, common Lye. I used Red Devil Lye for years but it disappeared from stores about ten years ago. However there are still a number of different brands of Lye on store shelves. Many drain cleaners are lye. I have a 5 gallon bucket with a snap on lid in which I keep a weak solution of lye. Weak enough to not worry about burns should you get it on your hands. Just rinse it off with soap and water within five minutes and a little hand lotion can't hurt.  I use between half a cup and one cup of lye crystals per gallon of water and though not real fast it has removed the paint on every painted plastic toy train I have ever put in it. On tough paint  I have left some things in the solution for over a week. Once a day I take a soft nylon bristle hair brush to scrub the entire painted surface. This technique has never failed and you can get a bunch of passenger cars shells in the bucket at the same time. Some times all the paint comes off in a couple of hours and some times it takes a week. As they say, your mileage may vary.  Rubber gloves can't hurt, though If I don't anticipate getting much of the stripper on my hands and only for a short time I skip the gloves and wash my hands well when finished.  DO WEAR EYE PROTECTION ! They are not as tough as your hands.  I can't say that I have never painted over old paint but I do prefer the crisp detail that shows up better as the layer of paint gets thinner.            j         

@poniaj posted:

Nice  job, Ray.  Keep us informed when the decals arrive!

Jerry,

The paint is not a perfect job as l would like but, it will serve for a Flyerized Pioneer Limited. When the decals show up l will bring some more pics.

Roy, I will eventually have a AF 283 painted in the Pioneer Limited scheme but for the layout tour after S Fest the cars will follow either an RS-3 or a U-33 in Milwaukee Road colors.

Possibly pull it with NKP Berk, more period.

Decision made, the cars will follow a Flyonel UP Northern with TMCC Cruise Lite.

Ray

Last edited by Rayin"S"

Ray,

No need to apologize, Sometimes, you  want a nice looking, but not perfect result.  Case in point, a series of passenger cars that I stripped with brake fluid and painted to match the MR EP-5 that Lionel came out with.  I got the cars on "blowout" from Ro.  They used to be CZ.  Yeah, MR didn't have EP-5s, but it makes a nice looking train.

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