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Happy Scrounger
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I've got a problem. Antique train set from my father's childhood. (that puts it at around 1920)

Nice Lionel set. O gauge. (larger type of train). Lots of cars. still runs great. problem? My mother told my Dad (when he started to put out the train for ME to use) that the train was just getting ratty looking on the paint, and she wanted him to paint them. So he painted all the cars gray. :eek:

He did a great job. all the sliding doors, the ramps, the hinges on the various doors that open...he painted gray. Since this was done in the early 60s, that means it's enamel/oil paint of some sort...not acrylic (I suspect it's plain house paint tho...not a special metal enamel)

I'd love to take off the gray and leave what's underneath. My mom remembered him doing it, and once told me he didn't sand them down to bare metal...just painted over the original paint.

Any ideas? Do you guys think it's even possible? I'd love to remove just the gray, but I'm really afraid it's not possible :(
 

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Ooh, that sounds tough. I guess you could TRY to chip off some of the grey paint. It sounds like it would take about a thousand years to get it all cleaned off.

Wouldn't it be more fun to try to repaint them back to their original colors? It sounds like they are already primer grey. Or maybe you would have to strip all the old paint off first? Easier probably than stripping only one layer off though...

It is too bad it wasn't just left in its original condition.

Good luck with it!
 

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Might be better if you had some pictures just to be more accurate. If its just the cars and they are all metal you may be able to steam it off. Put a car in a steamer of some kind and keep a watch on it. It should soften the paint so you can scrape of pick it off. As always use the least favorite one to try :).
 

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Hubby said "Nope no way to restore it." But he will do you a favor and give you $25.00 for it :eek: Heck he will even kick in the shipping!!!!!!

LOL Deal?????



Alice in Virginia
 

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Happy Scrounger
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There is one car that's pretty beat up...and since all of them have tops that snap off, I can give those a try first. Or take one of the little sliding doors out. I vaguely remember them as being red. The cars were mainly yellow, I think, with red trim and lettering. The tops, I believe, were originally red, too. or....hmmm. might have been a dark green, now that I think on it.

I should be able to find pictures of a mint set. Lionel has all their sets online somewhere..I found them when I was moving things a few years ago and began thinking about putting up a permanent train room.

The train is in it's original shipping box. BIG thing. Has my Grandpa's name on it, date, "Lionel train" logo. The original container box (what the train cars fit into) is missing though.

Fellini, tell ya what...You thank your hubby for the offer, will you? It's mighty generous of him ;) I'll just muddle along here with my steam, scrapper, q-tips and acetone :D

Gone-a-milkin, if all else fails, I will repaint them. You're right..they're already primed! I'm sure my Dad resisted the "paint those", but my mother wasn't someone you to whom you said "no." :rolleyes:

and it is entirely possible that I can gently scrape off some of it. We'll see! Thanks for the help, guys :)
 

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Not knowing what type of paint the grey is makes it difficult..
I would bet your Dad used enamel,, being its not baked,, soaking a piece in Paint thinner (mineral spirits) should start to desolve and shrival the gray with-out effecting the paint underneath.
I'm hoping the original paint would be baked on enamel and won't be effected from the mineral spirits..
I wouldn't use acetone,,, its very hot and evaporates too quickly,,, and as it evaporates,, the paint will become even harder,, and more difficult as you go..
If its an acrylic,,, try a very slow thinner,,, you can also try to find Butyl cellusolve... It works like mineral spirits,,, desolves the ink slowly,,, one layer at a time..
Good luck.
 

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HomesteadHopefuls
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I would try the acetone and q-tips
I would NOT try scrapping,,i think the original
paint will chip off plus it will leave scratches too
which takes away from its value.

just my 02 cents.:)
 

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Happy Scrounger
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ahh. hmmm.....I can try various things, starting with the least invasive, on the inside of a couple of the pieces. Marshloft is probably right about it being enamel....that makes the most sense.

I believe they're called "pre-war tinplate". From what little I can find, that would require the enamel paint to have been baked on to the metal...so....let's hope!

And I agree about scrapping...or scrubbing with a hard anything ... leaving scratches. i'm thinking scrapping with a tongue depressor type thing would be okay tho...after soaking.

If I was going to sell them, I wouldn't touch them. Let the pro restore them. but...they're for me. If I run into problems, I'll probably take them to a train restorer and find out if I have to mortgage the farm to get them redone! :D
 

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Ann, DH said it was worth a try!!! If you get tried of trying he is available to bail you out!! LOL

Alice in Virginia
 

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You might try and find a Lionel forum and ask around their too. I love model trains but it doesn't look like I'm going to get a second child hood. dang!
 

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Happy Scrounger
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Watcher, my dad kept those trains thru WWII, moving 3 times with his new wife and a baby, and 14 years of marriage. He died when I was 8, but he'd had time to take me to a friend's who had a whole basement set up as a train route :) for 40 years I've said "I'm going to make a train station for those trains" and by god..I'm finally going to do it. :D

The family is long time circus people, too, so I'm looking for a few special cars to add. I'm pretty sure that one of the cars I have is an animal cage under the paint...we'll see.
 
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