MRA Editors

Tips and Tricks for Making Model Railroad Paint Last

MRA Editors
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Duration:   4  mins

Few would call model railroading an inexpensive hobby. With all the supplies necessary for building the most realistic models, costs can add up pretty quickly, so it’s important to try to make your materials last as long as possible. This is especially true for model railroad paint, which is vital for adding customization and personalization to your layouts. We like to utilize simple tips and tricks to get those few extra miles out of our model railroad paint, and in this lesson we’re going to share with you some of our favorites.

Taking care of your model railroad paint

To help you get the most bang for your buck and maximize each model railroad paint you have in your arsenal, NMRA Master Modeler Gerry Leone introduces eight expert techniques for saving and best utilizing model railroad paint.

Gerry begins by discussing some inexpensive preservation methods for extending the shelf life of your model railroad paint, including a few smart storage methods. He teaches you a quick little trick for using snack wrappers to make your paint bottles more airtight, and then demonstrates the best way to replace bottles into your storage cabinet when you’ve finished using them. Model railroad paint should last up to 15 years when stored correctly; that is, unless you use it before then.

Ask any modeler—one of the worst things when it comes to model railroading is wasting, so the experts try to do everything they can to avoid waste at all cost. That’s why Gerry recommends two or three simple shortcuts for using as little model railroad paint as possible and keeping the rest in the bottle. You’ll learn how to cut a drip funnel out of a small bottle and utilize plastic caps for mixing, and then Gerry teaches you how to create a mixing card that you can use to remember formulas and spend less time trying to find the right shade. With these and more of Gerry’s expert tricks for saving model railroad paint, you’ll get the most out of every bottle you buy!

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

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5 Responses to “Tips and Tricks for Making Model Railroad Paint Last”

  1. Joseph Cotton

    Really good tips, except that I haven't seen a non-optical mouse in several years! Guess I'll have to find something to substitute for that tip.

  2. Carroll Shirkey

    Great advice/instructions as always. Is there a product I can buy besides the inside of wrappers for the paint jars to be covered to keep them from hardening and drying out? Thank you and keep the advice/instructions coming. We all benefit from the knowledge.

  3. JOHN

    I have found fruit snack cups to be usefull when dealing with model paints. First is to cut a hole slightly smaller than the circumference of the bottle and making short cuts around the hole. This allows me to invert the cup and slide it down over the bottle which prevents it from being it tipped over and spilling the paint. They make good mixxing bowls for paint and glues.

  4. Anthony

    How do you come with some of these ideas,I find all of your videos very interesting and helpful.

  5. Thomas Meleck

    All very good ideas. Thank you.

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