Locomotive Paint Kit Buying Guide

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Locomotive Paint Kit Buying Guide

Model railways are a hobby that's enjoyed by generations of the same family across the world and offer an alternative to modern hobbies.

Painting locomotives is a rewarding part of the whole experience and gives enthusiasts the chance to design their own trains with personalisation that is unmatched.

The following buying guide explains the types of kit and paint available, how to use them and the best way to buy one safely and securely using eBay's auction site.

What is a Locomotive Kit?

· When a model locomotive is sold in kit form, it can mean one of two things.

· Kit Un-built refers to the fact the train comes in a box and has to be assembled from scratch by the modeller.

· If the item is Kit Built, it means the locomotive originally came as a kit but has been put together by the original owner and is ready to use.

· This guide looks at both types of kit and specifically the process that goes into painting one.

Method of Painting

The system used to paint a train is largely decided upon by the personal preference of the person involved.

There are two main methods employed by modellers and they are explained in the table below:




· Uses a specialist system in order to apply more paint to the model.

· Usually only applied to a model that is Kit Unbuilt and in need of a base coat.

· Doesn't allow any detail to be added.

· Good as a base coat before any extra detail.

Brush and Paint

· Traditional method using a brush and pot of paint.

· Helpful if trying to paint smaller details onto an airbrushed body.

· A number of coats may need to be added to give a solid shade of colour.

· Huge number of colours available.

Paint Finish

When painting models using a brush and a pot of paint, various different finishes can be applied using the paints available on eBay.

The table below outlines the different finishes available and what characterises each one:

Paint Finish



· Non-shiny finish that doesn't reflect light and is the polar opposite to gloss.

· Preferred by modellers as it looks more realistic.


· Smooth finish that gives off a shine.

· Can make the model look extremely new.


· A trade-off between the two above as it has a medium-gloss.

· Reflects some light and is the perfect choice for some modellers.

Paint Type

Painting model locomotives means sourcing the correct type of paint for the job. Specific model paint must be sourced in order to paint model locomotives and certain companies offer acrylic paints specific to model trains.

One of the most extensive collections of model specific paint is made by Humbrol, who have a number of locomotive related colours. The acrylic rail colour range comes in the following colours:

· 401 Dirty Black

· 402 Rust

· 403 Crimson Lake

· 404 Garter Blue

· 405 GWR/BR Green

· 406 Buffer Beam Red

· 407 BR Yellow

· 408 Apple Green

· 409 Malachite Green

· 410 Maunsell Green

· 411 Diesel Blue

· 412 BR Coach Roof Grey

· 413 Engineers Grey

· 414 Executive Dark Grey

· 415 Pullman Umber Brown

· 416 Pullman Cream

· 417 Coach Roof Off-White

· 418 EWS Red

· 419 EWS Yellow

· 420 Orange Lining

· 421 Virgin Red

· 422 Intercity Grey

· 423 Carmine

· 424 BR Cream



After completing the process of actually painting the locomotive, weathering is applied to make the article look even more realistic. Weathering can be applied to any model locomotive, whether it is new in box (NIB), used, kit unbuilt, or kit built.

It's usually done by using a number of paintbrushes and copying a photo of a real life model when it has aged. Rust, markings, and general age are among the most popular types of weathering that are added to model locomotives.

This weathering stage offers further improvements to the locomotives, and provides the finish to the product that most enthusiasts require.

Safety and Buying Considerations When Applying Locomotive Paint

The painting of any type of locomotive model means taking a number of different safety precautions and considerations. The following section will suggest some precautions to take in the different stages of the process:

  • Find an appropriate place to paint – Before starting with the paint job; make sure the area that has been set-aside is clear from anything that could be damaged. Put down some kind of protective sheeting and even do the painting outdoors to prevent any of it causing damage to the interior of a house.


  • Plenty of ventilation – If paints have to be used indoors then make sure the room has plenty of ventilation, as paint will give off fumes. When using an airbrush to apply paint, anyone present should wear the correct protective gear including a mouth guard and protective goggles.


  • Seek online tutorials to help – There are a plethora of online tutorial videos that can help any buyer through the painting process. They give pointers on how to paint models using an airbrush, how to apply decals, painting fine detail with brushes and the best way to achieve realistic weathering.


  • Don't leave within reach of children – In the wrong hands, model paints can become hazardous and keeping them away from children is a precaution that must be taken. Store all the paints in a lockable cupboard or simply in a place that children are unlikely to find them.


  • Read instructions thoroughly – When using locomotive paint for the first time remember to read the guidelines thoroughly in order to use the paints correctly. Instructions should state the type of brush to use, how long to leave the model to dry and the method to clean a brush after use.


  • Check they're the correct type of paint – Model locomotives must be painted with specific model paint. With this in mind, check before buying that the paint can be used on models otherwise irreparable damage may be done to the model locomotive.

How to buy a Locomotive Paint Kit on eBay

Painting models is one of the joys of collecting scale locomotives and eBay is home to a diverse selection of different types of paint specific to model trains.

When using eBay to search and buy locomotive paints, remember to ask sellers any questions that need answering, as they are a rich resource of valuable information on all modelling products.

There are two different ways to find Locomotive Paints on eBay:

1. The first one involves going to the Collectables category and then to the Trains/ Railway Models sub-category and clicking on it.

When on the next page go to the search bar at the top of the page and type Paint into it. This will show all of the paint results in the selected category.

It can be narrowed down further by clicking on any of the options on the left hand side underneath the word Trains/ Railways Models. The options can also be thinned out by Condition.

2. The other way to search for locomotive paints on eBay is to go through the Toys & Games category and select the Model Kits sub-category.

On the page after that, select Paints & Accessories and then underneath the Subtype category on the left hand side of the page tick the box next to Paints.

Filtering results by Type, Brand, Model, and Condition, as well as the format of the auction can narrow the subsequent selection of items further.

If the buyer knows exactly the item that is wanted then eBay's search feature is an extremely easy way to obtain items. To do this, type the item needed into the bar at the top of any eBay page to be taken to a list of relevant results.

Before buying any item on eBay, it's always helpful to check out the seller's credentials. This can be done by checking through the transaction history that is present for every seller and checking to make sure there isn't a high amount of negative feedback.

Once decided on an item the buyer can either choose to Buy It Now or when it's an auction either place a Bid or make their Best Offer.


Assembling and then painting models is an extremely rewarding experience and one that can be passed down through generations of the same family.

eBay makes the process of finding paint specific to locomotives easy and the guide above assists all buyers in the process of choosing and then buying items using the auction site.

Before making a final decision on an item, remember the following questions should be answered:

· What finish does the buyer want the locomotive to have?

· Will the paint be airbrushed on or will a paint and brush be used?

· Will any weathering be applied to the locomotive?

· Is the paint being bought specific to locomotives?

The answers will give the buyer a better idea of what is required, although the decision always rests with you, the buyer.

Once ready to complete the purchase it's advised to use PayPal to make sure that it goes through safely and securely.

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