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I am preparing for a first-time effort at removing original paint on plastic passenger cars.  I have three Lionel  18" Railway Express Baggage cars (6-19080) NYC grey livery and one 15" K line PRR Brunswick REA baggage car (K4880-0016) in PRR tuscan red livery that I am going to strip for repainting.  I have read many of the postings concerning methods of removing original paint, but noted that one message mentioned that different paints mixture/brands were used different times by manufacturers for the same car model.   Has anyone has had particular success with using a particular  process on the paint types of NYC and Pennsy cars noted.  I have Testors Easy Lift Off, Pine-sol, and over cleaner at hand - unable to find 91% Isopropyl except out-or-reach prices on the internet.


thank you


Original Post
@bob2 posted:

Only one of us suggested sanding.  He did not specify plastic riveted cars, and I suggested that if aluminum, sanding might be better.  Please do not be offended.

As to refinishing passenger cars, I got rather good at it a while back, before all my Scale Coat dried up.  I shall find a photo or two later.

The first sentence of his post specifies plastic cars.

@breezinup posted:

Throwing something else in the  mix, I know this has been discussed in the past, but if you would like to strip off only the lettering from a car without disturbing the underlying paint, what is the best method for that?

I plan to take the road name off some heavyweight passenger cars and re-letter them.

Fine wet sanding or rubbing compound or 'lectric shave or other cologne ahould work slow enough. Most removal will degloss the base color at least lightly though.  

Detail being sanded out? SEE: sanding sticks for modeling. Sanding needs to done at times and in ways you wished it didn't

91% is found at Walgreens and other drug stores. Pint and quart sizes. Very cheap as it is used to prep injection sites and for disinfecting, should on a shelf. Can be used to clean tracks as well.


Specifically it'll be found in the first-aid section. However with the pandemic, rubbing alcohol tends to sell out as soon as it appears on the shelf. Until sanitization mania dies down, this stuff will be hard to find (like Lysol spray).

From the beginning of the pandemic reaching the US, I've only seen 70% isopropyl for the first time less than two weeks ago, and it wasn't even in a pharmacy, but a small electronics shop temporarily carrying sanitizing and/or PPE items to make an extra buck on the side. Most places doing this that even have rubbing alcohol around here (NYC) only have 50% concentration, which is not only below the level considered useful for sanitization, but which I've never even heard of till COVID happened. 


Many thanks for all the input.  I tried the Pine Sol method with an old Weaver box car and it worked perfectly.  Not so with a K line and a Lionel passenger car - perhaps because I didn't wait long enough for the soak, but six hours seemed enough time and I was worried about weakening the plastic.  

So, I picked up the ESO and have completed two cars by hand.  The original paint has been removed with ESO and the plastic does not appear to have suffered.  

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