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Glossy sheen of a freshly painted passenger train


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Firstly, I would like to say I could not find a loco specific forum, so please feel free to move to the relevant forum if needed. If however, this is the correct forum for loco discussion, please let me know also, as I would like to discuss more about model locos than most other topics.

 

Often when a freshly painted or buffed HST pulls in to the station, there is a magical sheen, almost mirror like, you can see all the panelling imperfections due to the glossy nature. However, all the OO locos I own have a matt/silk finish, not glossy like the real trains. I'm wondering if any manufacturer makes locos and carriages with a glossy finish? If not, is there anything I can do to recreate that glossy sheen? would some kind of lacquer work?

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Hornby did the GWR HST in gloss. I imagine there have been others. 
 

You could apply a gloss varnish/lacquer to anything. IMO it tends to accentuate the plastic nature of models; we don’t have those imperfections that are so obvious on the body side of real locos, so a satin finish tends to look better I’d say. Try it on something you’re not bothered about - you can always apply a satin varnish afterward! 

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A light polishing with T-Cut will give you the effect you’re after. It may also cut some of the tampo print off too so it’s needs to be done with care.

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There is a very good ‘how to’ article in Railway Modeller this month (August 2021).

 

Important IMHO, because the ‘dead flat’ trend has gone so far that many models simply look unrealistic due to lacking even the slightest sheen, even some very hi-fi stuff by prominent and highly skilled builders.

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56 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

There is a very good ‘how to’ article in Railway Modeller this month (August 2021).

 

Important IMHO, because the ‘dead flat’ trend has gone so far that many models simply look unrealistic due to lacking even the slightest sheen, even some very hi-fi stuff by prominent and highly skilled builders.

Thanks for highlighting that article - foolishly I had actually skipped past it thinking it was simply another re-numbering tutorial.

 

In the past I've seen reference to the "oily rag" finish particularly on steam loco models and seen photos, but wondered how it was achieved.  Now I know!  

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Hornby also did the Gresley collection in gloss, I share you POV, as the matt just looks awful.  I have been trying several techniques like 6000 grit sanding paper, which is brilliantly realistic, but an absolute pain to do all over a loco, plus you also run the risk of going too far and taking the paint down too far in places.. I tried t-cut and hated it, I bought several different polishing wheels, none of which gave good results. So I am next going to try the clear Pledge "revive it" floor gloss, which you can dunk, paint on or spray. I will be spraying it. It also makes windows clearer.

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I have to say I am not a fan of high gloss finishes on models in the smaller scales, including 4mm, even for ex-works finished examples.  Most RTR is supplied in a semi-matt or eggshell finish with I find acceptable.  I think this is probably because, although very shiny finishes can be seen on the prototype, especially on new or preserved stock, one seems to have to be quite close to them to see the full effect of the gloss finish.  If one stands back and looks at them from 20 or so metres away, equivalent to a fairly close usual scale viewing distance (it is more usual to view models from scale distances greater than this) the shine is less obvious.  Go out into the street and look at the parked cars 20 or so metres away, and compare the effect to those close to and you will see what I mean.

 

It is very much a matter of personal taste and I am not qualified to instruct anyone as to how they should look at their models, but if find high gloss of the sort found on die-cast 4mm scale cars, lorries, and buses very off putting and unrealistic.  I frequently flatten the finish of RTR models as part of the weathering process, and to my mind buildings and other surfaces look better as matt and flat as possible.  Even gloss painted wooden window frames look better in an eggshell finish in model form in my view.

 

 

Edited by The Johnster
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Definitely a matter of taste.  And lighting.  I find our most realistic set  when in action is a rake of Hornby Dublo SD Coaches, they may be under length but seen close up you can see the light glint off them like it did from freshly cleaned full size coaches in years gone by, when carriage cleaning was a frequent occurance.  However stationary they are too shiny.    Likewise the eggshell finish applied by Lima etc  looks very wrong to me,  I have a memory of a class 37   "Imperial" freshly outshopped in Grey livery shining like silver on the WCML in 1987, but it is a difficult one.   I used to use satin varnish from a spray can which gave a good finish on my 00 model back in the 1980s but it became very expensive and too Matte for my liking.   Its probably more important to have consistent finish over similar vehicles, especially within a set of coaching stock, than to have everything to a consistent standard across the whole range of stock.   A  Mk1 coach in a main line express set will have been cleaned a lot more frequently than a Mk 1 BG in a parcels train.  

50 years ago I used to polish my Matt green H/D Duchess by applying 3 in 1 oil sparingly and polishing with my best white handkerchief, to mother's great annoyance.

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I think the issue is that we need understand what is matt and what is gloss on a model, if you look at coaches the roofs ends and underfames are Matt and the sides are clean and tend to be gloss. 

 

I tend to airbrush the roof, underframes and end in a Matt finish and try to increase the shine on the coach sides and this makes to my mind a much more realistic finish. 

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22 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

the ‘dead flat’ trend has gone so far

I find this tricky since I model a preserved line and the emphasis on preserved locos and stock is "clean and shiny". My favourite photo of the prototype preserved King Edward II is taken from the front looking along a platform and the bright gloss sheen of the paintwork is very evident and impressive, both of the loco and the carriage. Difficult to match on my models!

 

I don't have much use for weathering materials so far, but I think I might attempt to model an "unrestored wreck" at some point, perhaps of a carriage or some wagons, since those are very much part of the scene on preserved lines. A good use for some second hand stock that's had a hard life :D

 

Yours, Mike.

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21 hours ago, cravensdmufan said:

In the past I've seen reference to the "oily rag" finish particularly on steam loco models and seen photos, but wondered how it was achieved.  


I’ve not seen the article but one way you can achieve the finish is to dry brush Humbrol Metalcoat 27004 - Gunmetal and/or mixed with metallic 53 - Gunmetal. Use the paint without stirring and look to use the thick grungy pigment at the bottom of the tin, dry brush on and allow to dry. Once dry you can lightly polish the body with a large soft bristle brush - must be dry - and will give you the sooty/oily ‘sheen’.

 

 

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This is an MJT coach I have coated the body sides with Ronseal (The type which needs turps as thinners) gloss varnish. It shows the effect (Along with my dire painting skills!) The first is with varnish the second is prior to adding it.

 

Mark

 

 

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I achieved a surprisingly nice eggshell sheen on a matt BR Red CCT but using a rattle can of clearcoat lacquer intended for a car.   I expected a high gloss but was pleasantly surprised.

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