how can i sal­vage a failed at­tempt at weath­er­ing a model with acrylics?

I’m not happy with my first at­tempt at weath­er­ing a diesel lo­co­mo­tive. Is there any means of re­mov­ing the paint with­out dam­ag­ing the liv­ery? I’ve used acrylics, via an air­brush.

Model Rail (UK) - - Know Your Stuff - R. Houghton, by e-mail

Ge­orge says: Un­like enamel paints, which can be re­moved with white spirit even when dry, acrylics can be a lit­tle tougher to shift. It’s not im­pos­si­ble, although some brands are eas­ier to re­move than oth­ers. In most cases, an al­co­hol-based acrylic thin­ner, such as Tamiya’s, should be ef­fec­tive. Some forms of iso-propyl al­co­hol are also suit­able, but there’s a risk that the for­mu­la­tion may be ex­ces­sively strong, re­sult­ing in the fac­tory fin­ish be­ing ad­versely af­fected. If in doubt, test the al­co­hol on a scrap model first. I wasn’t keen on a rushed weath­er­ing job I un­der­took a few months ago on a Class 37. A mix of Life­color, Vallejo and Tamiya acrylics had been em­ployed and, af­ter ru­mi­nat­ing on how I could im­prove mat­ters, it was de­cided to strip away the weath­er­ing from the sides and ends of the body. Care was taken to achieve a hor­i­zon­tal de­mar­ca­tion be­tween the filthy roof and the clean sides, sug­gest­ing that the lo­co­mo­tive had re­ceived reg­u­lar clean­ing up to cant rail level. Cot­ton buds dipped in Tamiya thin­ners made rel­a­tively light work of the er­rant paint, although I did leave traces be­hind in re­cessed panel lines, grilles and around raised de­tails. It’s by no means a quick process, so be pa­tient and rub the damp swab gen­tly over the sur­face us­ing ver­ti­cal strokes. In this way, any streak­ing left be­hind will look au­then­tic, por­tray­ing grav­ity-in­duced stain­ing. Swap to a clean swab at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals to keep the process work­ing and take care around del­i­cate de­tails, es­pe­cially on the cab fronts. Af­ter re­mov­ing the de­sired amount of paint, leave overnight to dry be­fore any fur­ther at­tempts at weath­er­ing, us­ing your pre­ferred choice of paints.


If at first you don’t suc­ceed... It took Ge­orge two at­tempts to per­fect the weath­ered fin­ish on this Vi-trains Class 37.

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