Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Painting Jig

Once a resin or undecorated plastic freight car is finished, off to the paint booth it goes. After preparing the model via washing with liquid detergent soap or 91% isopropyl alcohol and drying, sometimes speeded up with a hair dryer, the model is ready for paint. My paint choice today is normally an acrylic paint as Vallejo or Model Master.

I always begin painting a freight car with the underbody.  Once I have the underbody sprayed I proceed with the car body color or colors.  I used to tape off the underbody; however, I believed there had to be a better way.  My solution to avoid the taping off the underbody after spraying  is a simple jig anyone can build or use.

Click on image to enlarge

The jig consists of a piece of lumber, 3/4" x 3 1/2" x 6", four nails inserted as shown in the photo and a 3/4" band  cut from cardboard surrounding the nails.  The band has a cutout on each end for the coupler to sit in. The dimensions in the photo are for a 40 ft. HO scale freight car and can be adjusted to any car length. I can not avoid taping completely as the couplers, in my opinion, still need to be covered with tape to maintain proper working order.

Car in jig with couplers taped

The car is placed in the jig and sprayed using airbrush or paint "rattle" can. The jig is especially handy for a RTR car or any car that needs a quick clear coat. Just drop the car in and spray.
The simple jig I have shown and described here has saved me a lot of time in the paint booth.  I hope you will find the same is true for you should you give it a try.

Thank You for taking time to read my blog.  You can share a comment in the section below if you choose to do so.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.
Lester Breuer


  1. To protect the couplers Michael Gross suggested using Teflon plumbers' tape. It's thinner and narrower than the blue tape and it stretches. This makes it a bit easier to use to cover the couplers.

  2. Bob I will make a note to purchase plumbers tape to try on a future project.

  3. Another great build Lester. You are doing the hobby a great service by documenting them in your blog.

  4. Thank You Mike for the kind words.
    Lester Breuer