These are posts from several lists NOW we have a thread going! I find it extremely difficult to get undecorated models from any of the "worthwhile" manufacturers. Any recommendations out there (along with techniques) for stripping paint off LLP2k, Atlas, Kato without causing plastic softening problems? Also does anybody know a good source for P2K SW9 undecorated body shells (just in case I can't get the paint off the ones I have) Martin Dobbins I have followed several threads on painting and paint stripping on several internet groups. There are many methods/products people like for liquid paint stripping. However, there are more problems than solutions. I gave up using liquids to strip paint off plastic models a long time ago. There are only two good ways. One is use only undecorated models. The other is to "blast" the paint off. That's right, blast it off. I use a blasting booth that I acquired from North Coast Prototype Models. It employs very fine aluminum oxide power and I blast away at between 90 and 100 psi. When you are thru, the results are even better than using an undecorated model! Jim Six Wouldn't this cause scratching and pitting of the surface plastic? Does North Coast have a web site? Martin Dobbins I have blasted at up to 120 psi and have had absolutely no problem with damage to the plastic surface. The key is that the aluminum oxide power is so fine -- almost like flour! North Coast Prototype Models advertises in the back of Model Railroader. I do not know of a web site. Write or call and ask for John Polyak. Jim Six We N Scalers around here swear by Pine Sol. Fill an Olive jar with fresh Pine Sol then dump the loco in it. Wait 30 min - 2 hrs. then scrub with a tooth brush. Ken Herrell I have had NO luck with removing the N&W blue paint from my Atlas shell. I tried Polly ELO, I tried alcohol. I don't do brake fluid because of disposal problems. I ended up buying a new undecorated shell direct from Atlas for about $5. My MDC RS-3 paint came off after 15-30 seconds using Polly ELO! With my Spectrum Consolidations, my Atlas and MDC RS-3's, and my modifications of freight cars and cabs, I haven't had time to touch my Kato NW-2's or bother touching a P2K E unit. Dave Bott I can tell you that LLP2K shells do not take kindly to Pinesol...OUCH! I am now desperate for a source for undecorated SW9 shells-can anybody help? Martin Dobbins I've found Chameleon stripper to be very good at removing old paint. Factory applied or my own. Terry Pitts I have had good results with the Scalecoat liquid paint stripper. Judging from the smell of the stuff, I'd say it has the same active ingrediants of brake fluid without all the "extras". I've had to leave some stuff in it for days bit it did finally soften up the paint where it would come off. Whatever paint Atlas used on the HO scale U-Boats it came right off with the Scalecoat remover. However, be cautious with Kato shells with this stuff. I have heard it does bad things to the plastic Kato uses. Kevin Jones Somebody may have already recommended this, but Pine-Sol, straight, works pretty good. Just hold your nose when you use Paul Bizier On Kato and Kato manufactured Atlas, Pinesol is the way to go for stripping. Recently on the Diesel List, the following was posted: > About a month ago, Steve Orth reported that for P2K: > >I called Lifelike and was advised to try isopropyl alcohol .... drug store rubbing alcohol. I bought a couple of bottles for $0.33 each, immersed a GP9 shell that was decorated in UP colors that I am kitbashing into a GP9B using the Hi Tech Details cab. > > > >Two hours later I pulled the shell out of the alcohol and literally peeled the entire coating of paint off the shell!! The paint on the sides came off in one big piece, and the paint still had the imprints of the louvers and door hinges in it!! Light brushing with a soft toothbrush left me with bare styrene. > I've since used 93% isopropyl alcohol to strip a couple of Riverossi/IHC > passenger cars and some Con Cor MHCs. Worked like a charm, including on > one of the IHC cars which was proving HIGHLY resistant to the usual oven > cleaner. While I paid more for the 93% stuff (like 89 cents a bottle), I > started to see results in minutes -- twenty minutes start to finish was > all it took. A follow-up posting indicated that the alcohol had no effect on Kato paint. Remember to use gloves, and eye protection. Both alcohol and PineSol will dry and remove your skin as fast as they remove paint. Nigel Misso I've used Scalecoat on the KATO Mikado to removing lettering and it worked just fine, though I applied it with a q-tip and did not soak it. Andrew Waldo For the replies so far to this cry for help. I now need some sources for Scalecoat Paint stripper, Polly ELO, and Chameleon. I live in an area where there are not too many resources for model railroading, so I have to do mail order for most things. Jim....I have had no luck in locating an address or phone number for North Coast Prototype Models (yet). Can you give me some further help on this? Martin Dobbins I've seen the blaster you're talking about, but I'm a little leery of using it on a plastic model. Is it safe to blast away paint on plastic without removing details, or is it more of a tool for brass models? Mike Schwarze I have tried a lot of stuff, and have settled on Scalecoat as my favorite general-purpose plastic stripper; in my experience, it has handled a greater variety of situations than brake fluid, Pine Sol, etc. But -- even Scalecoat will give different results across manufacturers. Use the minimum amount of stripper and soak time needed to do the job at hand; don't immerse the model for five minutes if 30 seconds will do the job. Be prepared to substitute an old toothbrush and elbow grease for immersion time; avoid l-o-n-g immersions. If you are stripping a model from a new manufacturer, test a pool of your stripper in an inconspicuous area (e.g. underbody for freight car, interior of diesel shell, etc.); poking around with a toothpick will generally indicate whether the plastic has softened. A tall wide-mouth jar works well to hold the stripper; I think we are still working off the pickles that came with mine. As long as your jar is tall enough to do half the length of the models you intend to strip, it will do the job. Save and reuse the stripper -- it gets gunky, but will continue to work indefinitely Bob Chapman As I have said, I have used this blaster at up to 120 psi and it has NEVER damaged, diminished, altered, or removed even the finest of details. I too was afraid that it would ruin detail, but after experimenting I found that id does not. I highly recommend this product. Jim Six now this is something i would like to see. can you bring it to the meeting:)? i would be concerned about wearing off the detail (although several people have suggested this to me. someone even suggested using it to "weather" (read: fade) paint . . . . Steve Knowles The BEST stripper is a mini-blaster, mentioned by someone earlier in this week. We have one at our club here in NJ and it's saved many a model railroad project. Absolutely, positively the best way to strip brass. Our resident brass painter has bought many beaten up old models, stripped them, and made beautiful models. They're available through North Coast Models, 412-331-9970. The proprietor is Mr. John Polyack, and tell him Johnny Golden sent you. They run about 225 bucks and are worth every cent. You'll need a compressor to run it. There are also health risks to operating this system so heed the precautions! They work miracles with brass and resin models, and you can even use them for outstanding weathering effects. Good luck! John Golden The mini-blaster won't normally wear off detail. If you spray at high pressure and concentrate on a single spot it'll eventually wear down details, but I've never had a problem and have stripped the same model down two or three times with excellent results. And yes, I've weathered cars with it too, blasting off a slight amount of paint or too much paint used for weathering. Again, outstanding results. In fact, we have one nut in our club that will blast off a single decal or spot-clean certain areas of finished models to touch them up. It's a superb tool...indispensable if you paint your own stuff. Johnny Golden Chameleon is available from walthers or direct. If Walthers is out, I'll find the address for you. Terry Pitts Does anyone have the Walthers part number ?? I can't seem to find it in the online catalog. Kevin Jones Chameleon: 359-1000 8 oz 359-1 pint 359-2 quart pg 324 in the '97 catalog. Terry Pitts I thought Chameleon was no longer available. I think I remember seeing a message from Larry Puckett to that effect. However, I have a bottle that is new and unopened that I will sell you for what it costs me plus s/h. Steve Smith It appears that Walthers no longer carries it. Does anyone have the manufactures address or phone ? Anyone know why it was discontinued ? Kevin Jones Unfortunately from what I have heard the company which manufactured Chameleon went out of business. If you happen to see any on a hobby shop's shelves, grab it while you can. Paul R. Rivers There were 2 or 3 dealers at the National Show that had it, the gel too. Rick Groom Not true! In fact they were participants at the National Train Show in Kansas City this year. John Welther Ah good. I hope that they continue to stay in existance. Best darned product for stripping paint I've ever used. (And I will need more sometime sooner or later - I still have about a third of a gallon but it won't last forever.) Paul R. Rivers My sources are usually pretty darned accurate. Simply out of curiosity I broke out a copy of the NMRA's National Train Show Guide for the K.C. convention. Custom Hobbyist, Inc. (The manufacturer of Chameleon) is not mentioned anywhere within the Exhibitor listings. (Don't know who you saw at the NTS John, but it was not CHI.) That further piqued my curiosity, so I called up Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. to try to learn a little more. It saddens me to report that Custom Hobbyist, Inc. is no longer in business. To quote the person I spoke with at WmKW "They've been gone a long time." At present Wm. K.Walthers, Inc. does not have any CHI products remaining in their inventory. (Or at least none that they wanted me to know about.) After that call I attempted to contact CHI directly. Their phone number has been disconnected. (Give'em a call their number is 410 620-2548) Again should you see any Chameleon Model Paint Stripper sitting on the shelf, snag it while you can. If you happen to run across more than you can use, please tell me where, I am interested in acquiring more. (Particularly the liquid, but if all you can find is the gel that'll do.) Paul R. Rivers O.K. you're in the driver's seat, how can I get it direct from them? Mertin Dobbins Dave, dunno if you plan to strip those Consolidations at all, but I can tell you that Chameleon AND 91% isopropyl lifted the paint off the tender shell of mine REAL quick. I was trying to remove just the lettering - no hope of doint only that, for the iso went after the black instantly, so I finished it off with the Chameleon... Now I gotta get the numbers off the cab and I don't want to repaint the boiler... -- Craig Zeni On my Atlas/Kato RS3s and C425s, I have had no trouble removing N&W blue with PineSol. It takes awhile, and there is still quite a tint left. Procedure: soak, scrub, rinse, thoroughly dry (VERY important), repeat as required. I use straight PineSol in clear plastic "spagetti jar" made of PET-E (look at recycle stamp on the bottom). Wear gloves and eye protection, in a well ventilated area. Nigel Misso I got two undecs and one Union Pacific. The UP lettering was removed with a regular pencil eraser. I'd hate to have to strip a WM version, because that would probably involve repainting all. I'm just touching up the detail parts on mine as I add them. Then I'll give the whole thing a weathering treatment of reasonably heavy engine black, with touches of white-gray for steam residue and then some yellowish dust around the sand dome. What amazes me in color pictures of SR steam in the late 40's-50's is how uniform and dull the base coat of paint was (except the green passenger locos of course). I have to decide if any or all of my three will get the white striping along running board edges (or I have to figure out where these guys would have been shopped when the A&Y was independent and when the A&Y was part of the Southern). I decided against major rebuilds to match specific prototypes on these models. I can't do a credible job on driver size changes, and so I'm going to call them something like class K-6's and live with them. One day I might try and change the valve chest and really make it look right for an A&Y consol, but I've got too many other projects right now. Dave Bott 90% works better/faster on P2K. Nigel Misso After searching the SMRF archives with some success, I found that I could strip the paint on my Kato SD40-2 off with either Pinesol or alcohol. Before I do this and possibly wind up with a chemically melted plastic shell, does this still hold true. (If it helps any, the engine is in CSX colors and is about to become a Southern high-hood unit, and yes I already know I'm insane) Joe Hill Ok, I give up. I painted a shell about 5/6 years ago, I used either scalecoat or pactra acrylic. Hey, black is black (one of perks about N&W modeling). I've tried soaking this thing in Chameleon for the better part of a day. The paint just laughs and say's I speet on your chameleon. Any Ideas or is this one for the dumper. BTW, if you ever want to loosen all the super glued parts soak it this stuff. Turns superglue to jelly, at least the formula that used 5 yrs ago. Is it my imagination or does Chameleon smell just like expensive brake fluid? Rick Groom I've wondered the same thing. Not only does it smell like, it feels like as well. I have pondered over its chemical properties as I find it works better than the brake fluid I've used in the past. Steve Smith Rick--I've removed scalecoat paint with Chameleon and their own stripper although it is hard to get off once its had time to set up good and 5-6 years should make it real good! If the plastic is styrene try some real cheap brake fluid but if its an old shell it may be attacked by the volatiles in the brake fluid. Also, Kato shells are best stripped with PineSol. If you get real desperate place the Chameleon in a large tea glass big enough to hold the model and set the glass on a cup warmer or hot plate to warm (don't boil) the stripper. Also be sure to suspend the model so it does not touch the bottom of the glass. This will make the solution work much faster. The guys who made Chameleon used to demonstrate it this way at local train shows. Larry J. Puckett You experience with trying to strip a model that you formerly painted is not untypical. I have found that models that I paint are almost impossible, if not impossible to strip the paint from. Factory applied paints come off a lot easier. I would guess that this is due to heavier and more coats of paint we apply vs. the manufacturer. Also, Scalecoat and other enamel and lacquer paints do not come off plastic easily as they react slightly with the plastic creating a real "clinger" of a bond! Use a grit blasting booth and about 100 psi pressure! Jim Six It's an old Athearn/Cannon HH gp50. Rick Groom Carefully try denatured alcohol. I stripped a N&W AHM coach with this stuff, worked great. Also a AHM E-8. But it will attack some plastics, so try it out on a hidden spot first. And use good ventilation, and no fire, please. The stuff is flammable Larry Puckett Rick--the warm stripper should do the job--of course you'll ahve to rebuild the Cannon HH after you're done. Larry Puckett Nobody has mentioned Polly-S ELO. For that stubborn shell, I agree with Jim. A Badger blaster, or a Paasche air eraser works great. Start at 40 psi, and work upward with your air pressure. I have been able to blast numbers out of number boards, and remove paint coat by coat. DO use a booth, and DO wear a mask! The aluminum oxide isn't something you want to be breathing Alan E. Houtz As a member of several talk lists there has been a discussion on the best ways to strip paint from various manufacturers offerings. This is to address diesel locomotives only. We can do one later on rolling stock... Here are some manufacturers to consider: Atlas/Kato C424, C425, RS3, RS11, RSD12, & RSD4/5 Atlas/Roco RS1, FP7, SD24, SD35, GP7, S2, GP38 & GP40 Atlas/China S1, S2, RS1, RS3, RSD4/5, RS11, U23b, U33/36c Kato GP35, SD45, RS2 P2K GP7, GP9, GP18, GP30, BL2 Athearn All It would be helpful here to relate your experiences with the removal of paint from the various offerings.....Who wants to go first???? S.A. McCall(hosam).... Here are the responses: Athearns are easy - Brake fluid, Pine Sol, Polly S Lift Off are all very effective, take your pick! Katos- If you don't own a grit blaster, don't bother, you'll regret it! Atlas and Protos - don't know, haven't tried them. That's my two cents worth! David Ogle..... I've got to agree with David on the Katos. You can also add the newer Atlas models in with the Kato's, they react horribly with stripper (they crack!). By the way Chameleon Stripper is back, and available from Walthers. I've never used it, but those who have love it. We are carrying it at TU now, so your hobby shop should be able to get it. Bill Cox.... I have used Chameleon to strip two Kato switchers. Both did fine. I left the shells in the stripper for about 15 min and then used a toothbrush to get the paint off. Jerry A. Shepardson N&W - Precision Transportation I stripped my Atlas RS3 in an NW paint scheme first to do my SR green scheme RS-3. I used Poly ELO in a metal 9x13 brownie pan (this was bought for and dedicated to modeling since I wanted a decent container that was mostly chemical resistant). My method (long before I got involved in this group) was to use a pipette from the ELO can and spread it on the shell. Then I used a toothbrush to get full coverage. Then I let it sit 30 minutes with a piece of saran wrap over it (to concentrate the fumes) in a well ventilated area. The yellow lettering came off fine, but the blue required a LOT of scrubbing. Even then it did not come off completely. So I repeated this process a number of times until the gray plastic started showing through. I ended up with a blue gray shell that I definitely primed before painting with Southern Sylvan green. Kato RS2 in Great Northern scheme: tried using similar method to above, but the plastic distintegrated in areas from the ELO after only 10 minutes. The GN orange paint seemed to resist the ELO, but the inside of the shell which got some ELO on it started to disintegrate. The "socket" for the screw that holds the weight just melted and fell off. Same for little tabs and details not protected by the paint. The cab window frames also just disintegrated. There is now an orange and greenish gray blotched shell with cab in my scrap box. I had to purchase an undec shell to finish my early black scheme loco. Neither was much fun. I can't imagine brake fluid (which has same odor, viscosity and color as Poly ELO) would work much differently. I am happy to have my Air Eraser for my next stripping project...another Kato RS2 in Great Northern paint scheme (I got them both as presents, hence the scheme since I mentioned "any roller bearing type" would do). Dave Bott I too used a brownie pan at one time, but ended up flicking paint chips and Scalecoat Paint stripper on everything within arms length from the bristles on the toothbrush. One day at a Dollar store, I found a "tuperware like" container with a snap on top, appearantly designed to hold a loaf of bread. It will hold any loco shell that I have, even the larger GE's and SD's, with no problem. The sides are deep, so I'm no longer flinging paint and stripper around the room, and when I'm done, I simply snap the top on to keep the stripper from evaporating. From the"more mileage out of your dollar department"... Russell Underwood Hmmm, a really good idea. Of course, then I wouldn't have all those "neat" weathering effects that came from those flicked drops of stripper hitting other project cars :-) I have a couple of hoppers with cool little "holes" in the paint that turned out really cool when I used a wash of rust. Of course, I've got more than enough "happy little accidents" and this method of preventing them sounds great! Russell, ow often do you reuse the paint stripper before disposing of it? Dave Bott Gents--I often use a tall tea glass for stripping when I use Chameleon. This is great for a couple reasons: 1) it doesn't take as much stripper as a bread pan, etc. so you don't foul all your stripper at once 2) you can cover it thus keeping in the fumes which pleases the wife and keeps in those nasty volatiles that do the actual stripping 3) you can set it on a cup warmer which decreases the time needed to remove the paint (the developers of Chameleon used to demonstrate this at Timmonium using a hotplate. If you do use heat make sure to keep the plastic off the bottom to prevent damage BTDT). 4) its very easy to pour the stripper back into the bottle. If you have to strip a shell more than once (due to a messed up paint job) it will make the plastic brittle and things like ladders may break off, so be careful handling them. I suggest against using brake fluid since I have had it crack Atlas shells. When I use PineSol on Kato shells (note, this is what Kato recommends) I have a large glass spaghetti jar purchased in the kitchenware dept at a local store. It has a lid like those on old canning jars with a rubber seal. This keeps the smell of the PineSol in and pleases the wife. I use 91% isopropyl alcohol to strip LifeLike shells and it works great. Again I use the tea glass. Larry Puckett I generally use Scalecoat paint remover for my projects. I just used it on a Stewart FT and it worked fine. I have used it on virtually all manufacturers products with no adverse effects. I know that others have had some problems with this stuff, I have not. Denis Blake Whoops, cant say all, sorry. I have not stripped any of the new stuff coming out of China. Denis Blake On the subject of paint removal for plastic body shells it must be emphasized that any chemical used to strip paint from styrene will also leach out the "plasticizers" used in the manufacture of the plastic and will always leave the body shell less than its original condition. All those methods previously mentioned will remove the paint while appearing not to damage the shell. However, as a Scientist working in a chemical laboratory, I can assure you that even the 91% alcohol will, if used often and long enough, also do damage to the shell. It does, however, appear to be the least harmful and it especially works great on the alcohol based paints, such as Accu-paint. In fact, it almost washes off accu-paint like water. But, I don't know of any manufactures that use Accu-paint. The Athearn shells appear to stand up under harsh removal, such as brake fluid, but, even they will show "hair-line" cracks after several weeks. I wish I had the answer. The truth is that good paint, once cured, is difficult to remove even with harsh chemicals. I just wish the manufacturers, especially Kato, would distribute, or have available, more undecorated shells. Donnie Dixon Brake Fluid works good on Bachmann stuff, at least the older stuff. It stripped a Chessie painted BQ23-7 beautifully. Only left a slight blue stain on the bare gray plastic. It appears the shell was painted blue first, then the yellow and orange on top (just like the real thing). The brake fluid appeared to dissolve the blue paint, and the other two coats on top peeled away in large sheets. It also worked good on a Bachmann GP30 from Bev-Bel (which had a gray coat of paint on it) I had made a mistake on the paintjob and stripped it, and the brake fluid took off the original gray coat too. Fred Larch I have used concentrated Tide clothes washing detergent to strip paint even from AHM (IHC) passenger cars. It has to be very concentrated and takes a couple of weeks, but the plastic is not damaged. Plus it smells good. Allen Keller I am getting ready to strip the paint off an Athearn SW7 switcher painted for the BN (non-SE railroad, you'll note), and I have a question: can I use my 91% isopropyl alcohol to remove the paint instead of the nasty brake fluid? Will the ouchahol even begin to remove the paint? Would it hurt the plastic? I know there are other things to strip paint with, but I currently only have in my bag-o-tricks the brake fluid and ouchahol, and I always hated using brakefluid. Any help would be helpful, and by the way, don't forget to watch the Derby !!! Jay Ramsey 91% isopropyl alcohol and brake fluid to remove paint are out of the Dark Ages. Buy a large bottle of Scalecoat Stripper and go to it! It is not cheap, but it is reusable. I use a coffeemaker filter to filter out the old paint solids and recover the stripper. I am doing exactly what you did and I stripped an Athearn SW7 for painting as a Southern unit. The Scalecoat stripper removed the old paint beautifully. >From experience, Alton Lanier I have been using this stuff(Scalecoat Stripper) for years and it works great. The only way to fly as far as I am concerned. Removes most paint in a hurry, cleans up with a bit of soap and water as well. I keep mine in a confiscated Rubber Maid container. Heck, I even manage to keep it in the kitchen, on a shelf, out of sight, as well. Denis Blake Contrary to Alton's advice: use the appropriate stripper for each particular model. See the archives for more info. 91% IPA is the best for all P2K diesels to date. Nigel Misso This is good advice since Scalecoat stripper will make some plastic shells brittle, particularly Kato. Kato recommends the use of PineSol for stripping their shells and I have had brake fluid damage older Atlas shells. Larry J. Puckett I have not used Scalecoat on any of the P2K stuff, however, I have used it successfully on everything else. The key to Kato and Atlas stuff is to keep the time you have it in the paint remover to a minimum. Just a few minutes and it will work just fine on those shells. Denis Blake I have gone thru the SMRF archives and excerpted all correspondence relating to paint removal or paint stripping. These are on the SMRF FAQ(Stripping paint from models) on my website. Rather than search thru the Archives for an answer that will not be forthcoming, why not ask the question again? lately the traffic has been slow!! There seems to be no definitive answer to the method for stripping paint. Subscribe to several talk-lists and you will get even more answers. Paint can be removed from anything without damage to the underlying plastic. The secret is to know what type plastic is underneath the plastic. Simplest method is to order a new undecorated body from the manufacturer. If this is not possible then most likely you are using an outdated/poorly executed model which is not worthy of your continuing efforts. If you want to go, to SMRF FAQ and spend some time reading the various methods for removing paint. Most seem to recommend a remover that is no longer available and trying to find a new source. I'm sure there are some who have found methods that work and do not destroy the basic plastic. Now the task is to determine who those folks are!!!! Well they aren't all wrong, in fact many are right. I would be more inclined to believe those who have had disasterous results with a certain chemical and avoid those chemicals. If all else fails dunk the model in something and stand back. If the paint comes off you are ahead of the game. If the model disintegrates, well you should have purchased a new undec in the first place..... If this e-mail seems confusing, it has served it's purpose....... S.A. McCall(hosam) These have all been helpful, useful comments, however none actually answered my question: will 91% alcohol take paint off an Athearn model? I have had the cab off an SW7 switcher in the 91% for approx. 5 hours and so far it's not melted either the paint nor the plastic. Jay Ramsey Sounds like it's time to put on the brakes(fluid) that is!!!! The older Athearn responds well to brake fluid. Get the kind that is biodegradeable.. The newer Athearn paint responds well to 91% Alcohol......Use gloves and eye protection with any kind of paint stripper..... S.A. McCall(hosam) Aaahhh Denis, the voice of reason, sanity, and plain old common sense speaks to the modeler :) Scalecoat is the stripper of choice for almost everything,P2K in 90% ETOH being the main exception. I use 3 Tupperware brand pasta tubes with tops. Ordered them special after I saw them in a catalog at work. I bought the deepest one so that you can strip either a Athearn 86' box car or Dash-9 shell. Have bought maybe 4 bottles total of the stuff over 15+ years of doing my own painting and stripping. I have converted my standby tube to 90% ETOH for doing P2K models. As for Kato horror stories,I have never had any problems,but again, like Denis stated,you can't leave them in the stuff and go on vacation. 20 minutes tops and 75-80% of the paint is removed. I have 3 SD40s in L&N that started their lives as 2 CB&Q's and a BN "Whiteface". Also have a GP35 in L&N that started life as a Conrail unit. Currently in the paint shop is a ex-EL soon to be PC SD45(I know,black paint is cheating anyway,but you still have to remove the lettering) Also the story on the diesel list about using Pine-Sol on Kato is that the smell sometimes does NOT go away. So Jay the answer I would give you is to buy some Scalecoat and strip the SW7. The newer Athearn paint literally falls off the shell. Another method is to buy some oven cleaner and plastic freezer bags. Spray the model,place in bag and let sit for 20 minutes. This works most of the time. Mr. Muscle brand seems to work best. Craig Hatter Thanks for the answers, but I must also now submit my own results. I literally just removed the Athearn SW7 cab from the 91% ouchahol after a 7 hour bath. The results you ask? Clean black plastic, no traces of the BN green and no appearant damage to the plastic. I will be stripping the rest of my three SW7's in the 91% isopropyl, because I don't have the ability (time, cash & hoby shop) to get the Scalecoat stripper at the moment, but I may get it in the future. The point of my original post was that I didn't have these other strippers and needed to know if the ouchahol would work instead of the brake fluid (which I hate). Jay Ramsey You have answered it for us all, IPA does not effect the paint or the plastic Athearn used. Nigel Misso One of the guys who does custom painting for our shop sand blasts Kato units. Thats probably not the correct term for it, but it's similar to an air brush, and uses really fine sand. I've seen the shells after he's finished, and they look just like they never had paint on them. Bill Cox Probably the best method, wish I had one myself....... hosam (S.A. McCall) As a matter of fact I had seen a Kato SD-40-2 "Undec" that was not originally an undec by "Bead blasting" which I'm sure is what you're referring to on e-bay a couple of weeks ago. I would have bid on it as it looked pretty good, but I was very concerned as to how the very fine detailing such as grillwork held up to such an operation. Has anyone gotten a really good look at one? Chris Howard As I said I've seen the ones my guy does, and they look just like undecs, no damage at all. There may be some learning curve on actually doing it...I don't know, but I'm considering getting one myself. It sure looks like the way to go. Bill Cox I swapped some dynamic brake hatches with someone that blasted some clean. Outstanding!!! No problem with the details at all. Larry Burk Okay, Thanks guys! I also think I remember a dealer (Express Staion Hobbies in Seattle) selling SD-45's that had been bead blasted some time back. Probably a great way to reduce inventory on the "hard to sell" roads. Chris Howard Chris - I think I recall the Express Station ads saying they were selling "poor man's" undecs made from the extra shells they purchased separately from Kato. It may have been something like a discount for purchasing a decorated model plus the undecorated shell. That's always been the best way to buy undec Katos - buy the spare shells as soon as they are released, and then pick up a couple cheap decorated models. I did this with the SD45s - bought 4 extra shells, and I still see cheap SD45s at shows. Dave Olsen This morning I completely stripped a Kato SD40 formerly decorated in the CSX "transportation" scheme down to the bare grey plastic. This was my first SD40 bought new way back when. The frame's since taken residence under a Kato SD45. The shell has been left untouched for years. A few hours ago, the shell was immersed in Kroger brand 91% ISO and sealed in Tupperware for less than two hours. The blue paint and lettering dissolved rather quickly coming off with the help of cotton swabs. The grey paint took light scrubbing with a soft bristle toothbrush to be able to get down to the bare plastic. There were no bad effects to the Kato plastic. The Kato paint came clean out of the latch and grille details as well. Rather than peel like the P2K paint, the Kato paint dissoves in the stuff. I did no harsh rubbing nor scrubbing to get the paint out. It was no sweat at all. Just for kicks, I'd also threw in an Atlas C30-7 decorated in BN into the same vat of 91 for the same amount of time as the Kato and the paint comes off in little flakes when lightly rubbed with a cotton swab. I'm assuming 91 ISO will also strip the new Atlas GP40s too. I'm gonna try a new Kato ph1c GP35 next. I just hope everyone else has the same results with the other paint schemes. Mack Sangmalee



Frank Asked:

Has anyone stripped a proto 2000 engine from its factory paint job
yet? I know brake fluid works for me on a lot of different types of
paint but not all , and I have yet to try to strip a Proto. Thanks
for your help in advance.

Frank and the rest,

I recently stripped one of these using the Chamelon brand stripper - works
great - just pour the bottle into a glass jar or a plastic cup, and dunk the
model ito it - whole thing minus running gear of course!
  Let it sit for a couple days, cover the container with some reynolds
plastic wrap or a lid of some sort so the stuff doesn't evaporate away on
ya!  Paint should basically fall off.
  Some places might require a little scrubbin' w/ toothbrush, and if it
doesn't all come off first time, soak again.
  When finished, use an old stocking to strain out the paint particles from
the stripper, and put back into the bottle.
  I have stripped Kato, P2K, Atlas, Bachmann, Accurail, Bowser, MDC with
this stuff, and have had no problems getting the paint off.

Brian Everett

Use 99% Isopropyl alcohol, available at your local drugstore or
supermarket for about $1.50, if you are lucky enough to live in the
U.S.  (Apparently, some other countries consider it a dangerous material
that needs to be regulated.)  If you're truly lucky, you might find them
it on sale at a buck for two bottles.

Chris Webster,

I would suggest to use any stripper on the model in a sealable
plastic bag. That way you save on the amount of stripper you can't
probably re-use. And you can handle the bag to get coverage at
different spots on the moel should the need arise.

This method works also with etching brass and pc-boards. 

Manfred Lorenz

   I've been following this thread as I too have a P2K unit to be 
stripped. I was wondering what happens to all the factory glued on 
detail parts when a P2K is stripped either with that chameleon stuff 
or Isopropyl alcohol? I've never undetailed a engine before so I 
assume if they don't fall off some kind of debonder might be needed?
   I'm asking because my SW7 project needs the P2K SW9 pilot/walkway 
assembly and some of the handrails need to come off at some point 
either before or after stripping. 

Chris Ellis

The units I have have the details molten on from the back. I.e. these 
are put into their respective holes and the prutuding end on the 
inside of the shell is heated with some soldering iron to melt it. 
Crude but kind of durable. But not always precise.

Manfred Lorenz


S.A. McCall