Engine Terminal

Engine Terminal
CX 351 westbound at Summit Springs. August 1976

Saturday, August 2, 2014

L&N 105509

About six months ago, I picked up a couple of Athearn Genesis 60' auto parts boxcars decorated for the L&N. These cars came from a collection at Tim's Trains and Hobbies (http://www.timstrainsandhobbies.com/). In addition to having one decorated for the L&N, I figured I could strip the other and decorate it for the home road. These are beautiful cars and were in NIB condition. At $15 a piece, I couldn't pass them up.

The photo below shows the original car along with the one that I just completed.

The first challenge was figuring out how to fade the blue paint. I ended up spraying a number of coats of Floquil Grime that had been thinned to about 30% paint/70% thinner. Once the paint was faded, I applied a coat of Dullcote to seal it. Next, I applied washes of artist's acrylic burnt umber and ivory black.

I was stumped for some time as to how to fade the yellow lettering. On this particular paint scheme, the yellow lettering quickly faded to a brownish color and in many cases looked more like ghost lettering that the original paint job. The model sat for some time until one day it occurred to me that a colored pencil might work. After doing some research, I bought a set of Prismacolor Premier water-soluble colored pencils. I drew over the lettering using the dark umber pencil. 

While I'm satisfied with the results, I think the regular pencils might have worked better for this application. Even though I rubbed the pencil color with my finger once it was applied, there are still more "marks" than I would like. It might be possible to take the end of a tiny stiff brush, slightly dampened with water, to smear the color a little bit to get it blend better. I might try that on the next L&N car in this paint scheme.

For the roof, I used artist's acrylic raw sienna and burnt umber and burnt sienna gouache straight from the tube. I started with the raw sienna, applying it with a cosmetic sponge, and the worked in the burnt sienna and burnt umber using both a cosmetic sponge and a stiff bristled brush.

Given how fragile these cars are, I'm a little hesitant to try and strip the paint off the second one in order to repaint it for the home road. Perhaps I'll just weather it like this one and add it to the fleet. That would certainly please the L&N fanatics among the regular crew.


  1. Fred the guy who paints for the MCIS fleet completed a pair of 60' high cubes from Atheran Genesis some time ago. They turned out great but I remember him telling me the difficulty with door and brake rigging prior to and after painting. We were lucky as they were undec and partially assembled.

  2. Tom,
    Great article, the weathered car is a winner. Your techniques will be added to my quiver!

  3. Great work Tom, good info and very inspiring. Car looks tremendous. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the kind comments, guys. The roof on this one turned out better than I had hoped.