Any thoughts on stripping paint?

catfan Dec 27, 2019

  1. catfan

    catfan TrainBoard Member

    Hello all-

    What is the preferred way to strip paint from Kato locomotives?

    I have several older models including Kato 176-202 SD40's I need to convert to Norfolk Southern schemes. I've soaked them in 70% alcohol..No luck. 90% No luck.

    I did sacrifice an old Life like shell using acetone and it turned into a Puddle of mud.
  2. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

    I was looking on the Model Railroader Forum for answers to your question. They say that the KATO paint is hard to get off, which you have just experienced. Some people were talking about a product called Washaway by Scalecoat. I have never used it, nor any Scalecoat paint, but they say it works. However, it seems to be expensive, so I would look around to make sure it is the way to go.
  3. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member

    How long did you soak it in the alcohol? I’ve had to let a unit sit for days in 90%. I just did a Kato UP Flag
    baggage car the other day and it was probably a four day soak with a toothbrush scrub at least once a day.

    I’ve used the the Scalecoat product too and it also works well, but you can’t let things soak for too long in that!
  4. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

    I use 90% IPA for stripping Kato units. It does take a couple of days and an old toothbrush to get it done. I’ve even had to use a toothpick to clean out some of the body lines.
  5. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

  6. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    Ah, yes, the air eraser. I have used it with baking soda on Kato shells, and have found that in some cases i needed to use the grit supplied with the air eraser. that Kato paint is tough.

    But I've found the easiest way is to use Pine-Sol. This may present a problem, the last time I wanted to strip something, I couldn't find the original version. Perhaps they don't make it anymore. But I did find that the only one that would work is the original, the one that will make your entire hose smell like a public restroom. Sot that's the good news and the bad. It works but oy what a smell.

    Never tried the wash away, supplies have been irregular over the years. And whatever you do don't try brake fluid. If you do that, save time and just order a new undec shell.

    Bottom line? Air eraser is easier and faster
  7. bman

    bman TrainBoard Member

    I wouldn't use Scalecoat Washaway on Kato shells. I've read elsewhere, and experienced, it making Kato loco shells a bit brittle. I soak them in 91%IPA for around a day, hit it with an old toothbrush, then repeat as many times as necessary. Then again I've only stripped either shells decorated for NS or undecs that someone else has painted using acrylic paints.
    That being typed I really want to try an air eraser someday. I just can't bring myself to walk
    into a Harbor Freight.
  8. SP-Wolf

    SP-Wolf TrainBoard Supporter

    I use Scalecoat --with great success. No ill effects. I also back it up with an air eraser (If needed)- for the stubborn parts.

    My latest project: (These are from Kato's first run)

    Started with:

    After the Scalecoat:

    Your mileage may vary

    WFOJeff likes this.
  9. catfan

    catfan TrainBoard Member

    Thanks to all that have replied.

    I'll try these suggestions in this order..

    More 90% with a toothbrush.

    Pine Sol

    Air eraser

    Scalecoat washaway.

    The 90% IPA did make a dent in the yellow Santa Fe sections but the blue body stood it's ground. I did soak it for several days.

    Thanks again.
    mtntrainman likes this.
  10. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    Yeah, I hear ya. It's a bit like buying that first Bachmann. You hear good and bad about them. The truth is, some of their stuff is good and some is bad.
    MK likes this.
  11. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    Order it online from that link. Dont even have to go in the store...JS...LOL
  12. tgromek

    tgromek TrainBoard Member

    I have stripped lots of Kato shells, two important tips, when using 91% iso alcohol, it works way better at room temperature, as opposed to too cold, as what will typically happen if you strip in a garage or basement. It still takes 24 hours, and some colors are more stubborn than others.

    Also, a toothbrush will work, but a finger nail brush works way better...
  13. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

    My Favorite paint stripper of all time was "Chameleon Model Paint Stripper" unfortunately the product is no longer available.
    That is when I switched to Scalecoat II Wash Away and have never had a problem using the product.

    I do not have any before photos, but here is my latest project using Scalecoat II Wash Away on a Kato GP38-2.


    Be sure to thoroughly rinse the model after stripping with warm water to remove all traces of the Wash Away paint stripper.
    As Wolf mentions above, I've also been using this product for years without any issue.
  14. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

    At Lows or other big box stores you can get 99% alcohol in the paint department. I have had good luck with Kato shells and they don't get brittle like with many of the commercial strippers out there. Kato uses an ABS plastic that is very sensitive to many strippers. They leach out all the plasticizers causing the shell to become fragile.

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