Monday 9 May 2016

A Van for a Caboose

Got it, got it , need it, got it..... I remember trading Hockey Cards as a kid.  The Hockey Cards are gone these days but I still have some stuff to trade.  This is a great way to recycle train stuff we no longer need.

So I made a trade.  I traded this CP Van. Which was the first kit I ever built, to my father in law whom is modelling the CP operations in Prescott Ontario. Its a Juneco Wood Kit.

 For this...North Eastern Style Caboose.

 This thing started out as a bargain bin Proto 2000 NE Caboose.  It was brush painted black with a red cupola.  Into the paint stripper it went.  A quick sand, Tamiya Surfacing Primer and a Coat of Tru-Colour Reefer Yellow to match a photo started this project.  The roof got a coat of Tru-Colour Black.

  Its going to become MEC 663 painted for 1966.  The MEC acquired 4 of these Caboose from the Western Maryland, I think.  I will need it for the Rigby to Bangor Trains running through Danville Junction.

  I was surprised that the roof was black in the photos.  I thought it would have been MEC Pine Green.  I have a few photos of these Cabooses from the late 60's and they all have black roofs.  Maybe they got green roofs later when they were rebuilt with different windows.

This is when this simple project got more difficult.  I ordered some MEC Caboose Decals from Microscale, as well as some boxcar decals from Microscale and Highball Graphics for other projects.

  So I'm thinking great, only a couple of decals to put on and I'm ready to roll.  So I cut out the Caboose Herald and here is what I got.  The yellow in the decal background is supposed to be much darker than the yellow paint on the caboose.  Prototype photos show it as almost Orange.  I don't think I could paint the caboose a light enough yellow, for this decal to appear orange compared to the caboose paint. So I started looking at the other decals I had.  The Micoscale boxcar set has the correct Orange looking decal, but it has no green on it for the words or outline. It was the only option though, so I printed my own green background decal to go behind the Microscale decal. 

I used a CAD program called Draftsight to design the background decal and printed it on Laserjet decal paper using my colour laser printer.  The laser printer, printed a high resolution image but it left a bit of texture to the surface.  The laser printer worked fine for this application, but I don't think it would work very well for small lettering do to the surface texture.  Here is a picture of the Microscale Orange MEC boxcar decal being applied on top of the green background decal.  The fluid is Walters Solvaset. 
  Its still not as orange as I would like, but much better than the Microscale Caboose decal.  I do not understand why Microscale uses different colours on their MEC decal sets.  I can find no photo of a MEC logo with such a light yellow on it.   The caboose decals should have been printed with the more Orange Harvest yellow of the boxcar set. 


  1. I had a similar issue doing the MEC RS2 #554 in the one off scheme. The Microscale decals were great except for the color being too yellow. You came up with a pretty good solution for this particular model. On another note, the finish of the Tru-Color paint looks tremendous. Do you find it easy to work with?

  2. Mike,

    Tru-Color has become my go to paint. It has no pigments, but rather uses inks or dyes for the colour. It goes on so smooth compared to Acrylic paints and dries glossy ready for decals. I spray at 30psi with an Iwata Neo or Iwata Eclipse Air Brush.

    It does stink though. I thin it with Contact cement cleaner. I bought a bottle of the Tru-Colour Thinner and the 4 chemicals listed are identical to what is in contact cement cleaner, so I gave it a go, as Tru-Colour thinner is very expensive. I can't tell the difference between the two thinners.

    I always wear a respirator when using it and I have a high quality spray booth ducted outside.

    The other thing I really like is the paint never clumps up in the bottle and if the thinner evaporates just add more and your good to go.

    Give it a try I am sure you'll like it.


  3. I think that where Microscale goofed on the yellow is that the MEC had aluminum reflective signs that they bolted on to a lot of their equipment(like the Milwaukee Road did). Those signs seem to be a spot on match for this shade of bright yellow. I don't have this MEC decal set in the layout room, but I do have one of the Actual metal signs i got at an auction years ago. I can send a pic of it if you think that would be helpful...Just email me!

    Kris Krengel
    Pendleton, IN