To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Finishing a Q-Car CRT 4000 Plushie Part 4: Striping the Paint from a Q-Car Epoxy Body

Since I have little experience with striping old paint off a Q-Car epoxy body, Carl Lantz was asked to write-up his experience in striping the paint off a Q-Car epoxy body. This is his response. 

"Ed has asked me to describe my experience in stripping paint from cast epoxy resin models. 

"I am an HO modeler and all my friends know I am in traction modeling. So when a non-modeling friend offered me an O scale streetcar model, who was I to turn it down. I had built one O scale car, a LaBelle Sacramento Northern combine, and was familiar with the larger scale modeling. This gift did not have the finest paint job and many details were not there. I had not seen this model before so I emailed a photo of it to the O scale modelers I knew and the answer came back almost immediately – That’s a Q-Car Brooklyn double ended series 800 Peter Witt.
"A visit to the Q-Car website ( and an email and phone conversation with Quentin Carnicelli of Q-Car brought me a copy of the instruction sheet that included prototype information and the facts that this body was made of cast epoxy resin and assembled with cyano-acrylate adhesive. It must never see anything that could affect the glued joints, particularly acetone. Quentin suggested lacquer thinner as a paint remover. And that is what I used. 

"Some folks have used a liquid paint stripper that Ace Hardware produced, but it may no longer be available. I have used hydraulic brake fluid to strip plastic models and it works well but takes some time. And there are commercial model paint strippers available. Whatever is used, experiment first to ensure that the body and any adhesives used will not be affected by the stripper. While what follows describes the use of lacquer thinner, the techniques will be the same for any of the removal chemicals. Just be mindful of all the precautions the particular chemical requires. Lots of good ventilation heads the list. 

"The use of lacquer thinner can be very dangerous as it is very volatile and very flammable. No open flames or sparks. And it is harmful to breathe the fumes. 

"If one is not comfortable with this and the precautions needed, don’t use it! 

"I didn’t do any stripping in the house; it was done in the middle of a two car garage, cars removed, overhead door and the service door both open for lots of ventilation. If there is no garage or the like available, do it outside somewhere. Lots of ventilation is the key. The day I did it the weather was fine and there was a good breeze outside so there was good ventilation thru the garage. I would have used a fan in the service door to draw air though if there hadn’t been the good breeze. Rubber gloves are needed to protect ones hands and lots of toweling or old T-shirts should be available too. And eye protection would not be out of order either. The other equipment I used is shown in the photo.

"The brushes are inexpensive 1-1/2 inch wide natural bristle which won’t dissolve in the lacquer thinner. One has its bristles cut to ½ to ¾ of an inch in length which makes them stiffer for scrubbing on the details on the body, but not so stiff as to damage the details. The other is normal length for flushing residue off the body. The metal handled flux brush was used inside the body where the wide brushes couldn’t easily reach. The bread pans and flat pan were not recycled from the kitchen, but always used for modeling, never baking. The small ones fit HO models and O scale trucks. The flat pan was large enough that the Peter Witt body fit comfortably inside it. 

"About ¼ to 3/8 of an inch of thinner was poured into the large pan and the body placed into the thinner. It was left to soak a few moments and then rotated so another part of the body could soak, then rotated again. The short bristle brush was used to agitate the thinner into the paint and the body rotated. The paint eventually began to dissolve as the brushing and rotation continued. The longer bristle brush was used to flush the residue down into the thinner and bring fresh thinner to the body. Because of evaporation, thinner may have to be added to the pan.  

"When the larger panels are rather clear of paint (and don’t forget the inside of the body), it’s time to pour off the dirty thinner from the pan into a, preferably NON-glass, storage container. Wipe out the pan with a rag or towel and pour in fresh thinner. 

"Now, one must concentrate on where paint loves to hide, like the cast-in details, window frames, roof walk, etc., using the short bristle brush, but still rotating the body occasionally and flushing with the longer brush. When one is satisfied that the body is clear of paint, do one last flush with clean thinner and set the body aside to air dry. 

"Flush the brushes in clean thinner and return the thinner to its storage container. Wipe out the pan, but make sure any rags or toweling used are well spread out and allowed to air dry before disposal. 

"The body, once dry, must be washed in warm water and soap to remove any residue. I used Simple Green in water and a spray bottle and a small scrub brush to clean the body, inside and out. Most any detergent or dish soap will suffice. The body was well rinsed in warm water and left to air dry. 

"Because it was handled a few times, I rinsed the body well with isopropyl alcohol before painting. Unfortunately I didn’t have the foresight to photograph the body after stripping. The photos show it after priming and in service. Q-Car trucks and detailing kits were used to finish it and it’s painted in Aurora Red and cream with a grey roof."
All photos were provided by Carl Lantz

While the epoxy car body in this post is not a CRT 4000, a Q-Car Co. epoxy body was used. The process to remove the paint on any of the Q-Car epoxy bodies is the same.

Carl gives excellent, common sense advice regarding the use of flammable liquids. His comments about checking to see if the paint striper you plan on using will affect the body and any adhesives are well taken. What will work on one type of material used in model construction may not work on another! 

From experience do not dispose of the used paint "remover" without 1st sifting through or filtering it. Some of the parts added to the model may have come off during the paint removal process. Dispose of the used paint "remover" in an approved manner! 

Be careful of the gloves you use. Lacquer thinners will destroy latex and similar gloves. Use only gloves approved for lacquer thinner. 

Carl is an excellent model maker. His models are fantastic to see! 

My thanks goes to Carl for writing the article and providing the photos. Carl, thank you! 



1 comment:

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