About The Steam Era Freightcars Blog

This blog discusses all aspects of North American freight cars of the steam era, from the dawn of railroading through 1960.
It is intended to support the efforts of model railroaders who wish to produce the most prototypically accurate freight cars possible.
Prototype modelers are encouraged to participate in this blog. Please consider sending photos of prototypes and your efforts to model them, reviews of kits, books and other products, “articles” about your modeling efforts – with or without photos. The nature of blogging means the material can be "real time," and in-process models can be shared. These are not only welcomed, but appreciated as we all love to see a model develop over time.
Also welcome is information about upcoming prototype meets, shows, and other events.
Information submitted for this blog is considered gratis. Also, all submissions must include your name and contact email.
For more information or to submit information email steamfreightcar@gmail.com.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tips & Tricks: Future To the Rescue?


By Marty McGuirk
Building rolling stock is perhaps my favorite part of the hobby. Since I profess to like it so much, you shouldn’t be surprised that I think building, painting and decaling a single-color boxcar should not be that much of a challenge. Then I ran into this project – a Missouri Pacific 10-6” 40-foot boxcar.
The origin is one of the Sunshine Models “doorprizes” from the Naperville Railroad Prototype Modelers shows Martin and Patricia Lofton sponsored for years.  These varied by year - some are loads, one year it was a complete flat car, but most have been an assortment of resin details (doors, ends, etc . . .) to convert an injection molded plastic car to some specific prototype. I have ten or so of these and they all produce some pretty neat and unusual transition era freight cars.
I constructed this freight car while we were building our present house, so it's the most recent freight car I've built. The building process went remarkably well.  The door prize parts were installed on an InterMountain 10’-6” AAR boxcar, and I even replaced most of the Intermountain details (ladders, brake rigging and the like) with after-market parts.  I rearranged the brake components to match the prototype (which differed from the stock Intermountain arrangement and fashioned the underbody piping from brass wire.


 I photographed the finished, but unpainted car and then sprayed the model with Polly Scale acrylic paint.  Then, like usual, I gave the model a clear gloss coat (Polly Scale Clear Gloss) and applied the decals. I finished decaling and applied the final clear flat overcoat. Since I didn’t have a spray booth, and didn't have any Polly Scale Flat Clear, I used Testor’s Acryl Clear Flat – which is a brand more commonly used for military models and the only one available from the closest hobby shop. 
I have never had decals silver (leave visible film) as badly as these did. It was the first time I tried using this stuff (lesson learned, experiment on old Athearn “blue box,” not a model you care about!).  Whatever the cause, when the stuff dried it left a visible, white, streaky haze. Perhaps I got an old bottle of the stuff.
What a mess.


I studied the model, and figured the basic car was worth the effort to strip and refinish it.  But recently I’d been reading in FineScale Modeler about using Future Floor (now marketed as “Pledge with Future Shine) as a decal clear coating. I have some of the stuff, so I figured I had nothing to loose.  If it worked, great, if not, it was just one more layer to strip. I lightly brushed a coat of Future on the sides and left it to dry overnight.  
This next morning the silvering had all but disappeared. Better yet, that cloudy streaking was Gone!! I think the remaining issues with the finish can be hidden with some careful weathering. Once the model is weathered, I'll post a follow up. In the meantime, I think I'll use Future to do the decals on my next rolling stock model. I still haven’t figured out acrylic clear flats. Believe I stick with good ole’ Dullcote for now!

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