Painting & adding Decals to a V/line Hopper

Steam Era Models - V/Line VHGF Bulk Grain Hopper Wagon

The model went together well however the instructions could be written better, there were a few moments where I was left wondering but eventually I managed to work it out. The detail on the model looks fantastic, there is a lot of detail on the brake wheel end which looks impressive. The only detail that it does not come with are ‘Shunters steps’ on each end however they can be ordered separately.

I have a number of these hoppers to put together and the main purpose of me writing this post is so I can remember exactly how I painted the model. I want the color of each wagon to be uniform.

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​Yellow is a tough color to paint in most cases as the pigment is quite transparent. The whole model was painted with a ‘Vallejo - Primer White’, the walkway on top of the hopper was painted and glued separately once the model was painted completely.

​The yellow that was used was ‘Vallejo - Sand Yellow’ applied through an airbrush (Iwata Revolution). Due to the paint being a ‘Model Color’ it needed to be thinned down in order to apply it using the airbrush, for this I used about 5 drops of ‘Vallejo Thinner’ and 10 – 12 drops of ‘Sand Yellow’. I was a little concerned that the paint wouldn’t be able to cover the back of the details at the ends of the car however with the airbrush at max pressure which is 20psi the paint seemed to circulate behind the details and gave a good overall coverage even on the areas where direct application could not be achieved.

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​Once the top coat dried I started to prepare the surface for decals, to do this I gave the model a coat of clear gloss. The gloss used was ‘Tamiya Clear Enamel’ applied through the airbrush, this was also thinned down before application with ‘Tamiya Enamel Thinner’ about 3 part Clear to 1 part Thinner. You may need to test beforehand to ensure you get a nice even flow through the airbrush. Just adjust the ratio until you get the desired finish.

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​The decals are provided in the Hopper kit and are the standard water release type. I like to use Humbrol Decal Fix for applying my decals. So far I’ve had very good results using Decal Fix and it does a great job of seating the decals over ribs and other small details. If you have a stubborn area simply reapply more Decal Fix after the initial application has dried but allow at least 12 hours drying time.

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With the decals applied it’s just a matter of cleaning the Decal Fix residue from around the decals and other parts of the model using a damp cotton swab or ear cleaner.

​Lastly I coat the model with ‘Testors Dull Coat’, this helps protect the model and also helps blend the decals into the rest of the paint work thus removing the obvious clear outline around each decal.

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​The exact same process applies to the trucks as well, after removing the wheels undercoat the trucks with the ‘Primer White’ however the trucks are an oxide red color so for this I mix 1 part ‘Vallejo – Red’ with 6 parts ‘Vallejo – Rust’ and apply using the airbrush, again I add a very small amount of thinner to get a nice even flow of paint. Then I seal it with a coat of ‘Dull Coat’.
The wheels are also painted, I removed them from the trucks and mixed some ‘Vallejo – Burnt Umber’ with ‘Black’, I only mixed in a very small amount of black to just slightly darken the burnt umber giving the effect of dirt mixed with grimy oil and grit.

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​The bonus of finishing the model with a complete coverage of ‘Dull Coat’ is any weathering done later using powders will stick much better to the model enabling you to get much better control.

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As you can see in the above images, the line that can often be seen around the decals is virtually impossible to see. The decals look as if they have been painted directly onto the hopper which is exactly the appearance we want.
When it comes to replicating the same results I get, it is important to follow instructions especially the ones written on the side of the Humbrol decal fix bottle and it is also important to apply the decals to a smooth glossy surface as this prevents silvering of the decal which is tiny air bubbles that get under the decal as it is drying onto the model. Once dry we can dull everything down with Dull Coat.

I hope you enjoyed reading this short article and if you have any tips or suggestions fee free to leave a comment, you can also leave an image of your projects as well..

Downloads:

Download the files associated with the project. All files are included in a zip for convenience.

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