Percy visits the paint shop

I found only the dried out dregs of a bottle of paint when I went to paint Percy’s new parts. The dregs looked almost viable, and I wanted the project done so I pressed forward with thinning and spraying.

It was one of the worst airbrush experiences of my life. That’s saying something as my venerable Paasche and I have something of an abusive relationship. Time and again I’ve sworn I will replace it. Yet, time and again it is still the only one I have and so I somehow lay down a coat of paint amid a fug of blue air. It usually ends in a tearful declaration that I’m moving out to go stay with my mother. The next day, on examination, the beautiful smooth coat of paint makes it all worthwhile.

This time was worse than any other except for my very first acrylic experience, from which I have only recently recovered. The paint was either too thin or too thick. It either ran or clogged the brush. I completely disassembled and cleaned the brush twice. I spilled precious millilitres on the lazy Susan. I ran out of paint. Yet, it was all worthwhile.

The decals arrived from Black Cat before the airbrush and I were on speaking terms again, but we put on our big-boy pants and sprayed some Pledge to give the decals a fighting chance. The HO scale “Grand Trank” for the side of the cab didn’t fit in the panel, but Al Fergusson at Black Cat was kind enough to send over a custom print of an N-scale set, from which the tank collar lettering fit perfectly.

I applied a quick weathering coat of oils. Burnt umber / white, which matches the ballast quite well, went on the frame. I dot-filtered the tank and roof with white, yellow ochre and blue, and pin washed the cab with a little dusting of umber and white. Then I put it all together again and took a picture.

During assembly, I lost the key for one of the main rods. So we’ll have to wait until I’ve made a replacement to find out if Percy still runs. Until then, if you happen to spot a tiny bronze “h” on the floor, please pick it up.

12 thoughts on “Percy visits the paint shop

  1. The paint job looks pretty good. Sounds like the struggles I used to have with my old Badger air brush, after years of fighting it and replacing needles & nozzles I finally got so frustrated I ordered the cheapest Master airbrush I could find on Amazon. After 2 years of pretty consistent daily use that one’s just about at the end of its life too, but for $25 it bought me 2 years of frustration free airbrushing.

    Good luck on finding Percy’s rod key HINT look in that other dimension where all of the Kadee knuckle springs go.

  2. Rene,
    Best lesson I was ever told about learning to airbrush came from the owner of Badger Airbrush. He suggested that anyone struggling to airbrush do the following.
    1. Buy a children’s coloring book
    2. Buy food dye.
    3. Paint said children’s coloring book with food dye/water.

    Doing so will teach you not only control of the airbrush, but also thinning ratios and air pressures.

    Airbrushing is an art for sure, and the more you do it, the better you get. I struggled for years as well until I finally worked my through the learning curve.


    1. Acrylics are hard, I agree. Have you tried using the MRH acrylic paint thinner formula? Once I tried that it seemed to click a bit easier. I always tend to shoot higher psi than recommended (30-40).


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