Painting flexible handrails

Discussion in 'The Inspection Pit' started by StevenWoodwardNJ, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. StevenWoodwardNJ

    StevenWoodwardNJ TrainBoard Member

    Years ago I did custom painting for hire. When painting delrin (celcon, etc) handrails I would use an automotive flex additive mixed in with Floquil, Scalecoat or Accupaint.

    Obviously I can't use said additive in water based paints. Sure, I could still get the lacquer based paints, but I've worked hard at making the transition to Pollyscale, and the only glitch left is the handrails.

    I know about using Tamiya (or other brands) R/C paint designed for lexan car bodies, and that does work well for painting the ends of railings are typically white or yellow. But when you need to paint an entire handrail it becomes hard to match model rr colors. For example: I have an undec Kato SD45 to paint in D&H, so the entire handrail set needs to be painted in grey.

    Here are the options that I've heard or read about, but would love to hear feedback from all you other custom painters out there:

    1) Lightly sandblast the handrails to aid adhesion.

    2) Use above mentioned flexible paints and try and mix your own color match.

    3) Go back to lacquers with flex additive.

    4) Try Badger ModelFlex. I've been told that this paint forms a "skin", and flexes with the handrails. But I have yet to experiment with it.

    5) Switch all locos to wire handrails/metal stanchions.

    6) Paint the handrails as is and make sure you never, ever touch them again.

    So what do you all think?
  2. Mr. SP

    Mr. SP TrainBoard Member

    Flexible handrails

    The "rubber handrails" that most model manufacturers are using are junk. While the handrails can be more detailed they don't hold up to handling and painting them is a hassle. I've used the R/C paint for the white or yellow areas but have resorted to bending wire handrails and using either Athearn or Smokey Valley or PSC stanchions.
    The rubber handrails make a good pattern for the wire replacements and then go in the trash. Both these locomotives a Stewart U25B and an Athearn SD45T-2 had rubber handrails and now have wire replacements with Athearn stanchions.

    Attached Files:

  3. StevenWoodwardNJ

    StevenWoodwardNJ TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the pics MR SP! I have done the same thing on a couple of locos, most recently a Kato SD45. It was suggested to me on another forum that using an abrasive gun on the handrails helps, I may give that a try, other than that I'm all for wire handrails and metal stanchions...
  4. Mr. SP

    Mr. SP TrainBoard Member

    From what I've heard the paint that R/C Car modelers use on the flexible bodies might work. Personally I don't care for the rubber handrails for the reason that they are mostly unpaintable and unrepairable if they break.
  5. modelmaker

    modelmaker TrainBoard Member

    Mr SP, none of the handrails are made of rubber, they are petroleum-based engineering plastics. I don't know how you're handeling your locos, but with some gentle handling they really shouldn't be breaking.

    As to paint adhesion, I have been using NAPA #7223 Clear Polypropylene Primer with acrylic paints for years with excellent results. You can use PolyScale or Modelflex or even acrylic craft paints and the paint will not flake off or chip. Part of the trick is full coverage of the parts (front & back) with the primer. I got this tip from a Weaver Models guy who demonstrated this by tieing the handrails from an RS-3 in a knot.

Share This Page