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7.3 Painting the superstructure

Painting straight black

Before painting the boiler cradle I masked the electric connectors to prevent paint creeping in.

I cleansed the locomotive from any greasy substances with a thorough scrub with CIF and an electric tooth brush. I allowed the model to dry in front of a ventilator heater for a few hours, making sure there was no water left in the boiler.

Then a base coat was due. I use Alabastine Spuitplamuur as a primer, a thick spray filler for domestic use available in DIY-stores. It sounds terrible but if you spray quick and thin, it turns into a beautiful silky skin.

Out came the airbrush with Philotrain black applied in thin layers.

By now the locomotive's complexity has been reduced to six parts.


I ordered mine at Casula Hobbies, Sydney, Australia.

  • 1 x DL1 NSWGR Loco No's Buff size 9in-10in-12in & Garratt insignia (DL1) = AUD$5.90
  • 1 x Decal Numerals for Locomotives in 9,10&12 inch in yellow.AM-DL1 (DL1) = AUD$5.45
  • 1 x DL3 NSWGR decal Loco Numerals 9,10 & 12 inch weathered buff. (DL3) = AUD$5.95

In hindsight I did'nt use the last set, the weathered numbers, because I weathered the loco myself but that is up to you to decide

Lettering is applied with the classical water transfer method. During the build of the MDC Roundhouse Shay I have already described lining and lettering with decals, so please refer to these pages for details.

Working on the rear unit I realised to my dismay that it missed the left marker light. I searched in the "remaining parts box" but is not there. So I ordered a spare at DJH. I will add it later.


I had sets for 9", 10" and 12" letters. Based on measurements on the photos of the 6029 I concluded that I needed 9" on both sides but the decals I have only suffice for one side.

So the rear is 9" ...

... and the front is 10", really only marginally larger and because you will never see them side by side no one will ever tell the difference.


Rivet counters will see that the DC en the + signs are too large compared to recent photos of the 6029, but I chose the best options from the available decals. That is the best I could do. All in all it makes a reasonable presentation.

I am absolutely content about the positioning and spacing of the numbers and symbols.

Speaking of the front unit, this reminds of some iconic animal......
Now the paint and primer are carefully sanded away from the cabside brass numbers.
The brass numbers are masked before some touching up of the cabside's black is done with the airbrush.

After getting the above result in the previous weekend I found myself procrastinating the next step: applying a dull clear coat.

I use Philotrain clear coat, which is absolutely fabulous once it is on your model but when working on the NS6200 I found very difficult to spray.

Now, after gathering all the courage I could muster, I took the leap. Well, it turns out I am getting the hang of this stuff.


Now the centre unit has a dull coat with a subtle sheen. The roof is not done yet and the difference is clearly visible

I was a bit worried about some relatively rough patches on the boiler. I should have addressed that issue at the very start of the kit, but I have overlooked it. I got a tip from Australia to rub it with steel wool, which I think is a good idea. That is for the next kit. For now I'll have to do with what it is now.


The problem proved to be less serious than I feared. The roughness of the boiler smoothed out with the progressive layers of paint. Base coat, top coat, clear coat, on all I estimate some 20-25 super thin layers. The roughness is barely visible anymore and I wonder if it will be after weathering and final dull coating.

The difference is clearly visible. Left the semi-gloss black paint, right with the almost dull clear coat.


At this stage a left the loco for some loco for some time. First to enjoy the sight of it and second to gather experience and courage to foul this coat and wether the locomotive to seriously worked state.

I quickly assembled the superstructure of DJH kit of a Dutch locomotive that I had acquired at a very low price. As the kit has serious issues it is not very precious to me and I decided to use it as a guinea pig for my weathering trials before trying my hand on my AD60. That turned out to be a wise move in many aspects.

The part assembled kit of the NS5500 in front of the AD60, painted black, ready to start weathering trials

I practised on the NS5500 for several runs, every time cleaning the loco and building it up to full black and then weathering it a again. Gradually I got hold of the mixtures, dilutions to achieve a certain degree of weathering.

Based on the book "Weathering locomotives" by Tim Shackleton, which I had bought at Shildon Museum last summer, I set out experimenting with

  • Revell 6, flat black,
  • Revell 5, flat white,
  • Humbrol 27004, anthracite Metal Cote and
  • Humbrol 62, matt leather.

My base colour became a mixture of 3 parts Revell 6 and 1 part Humbrol 27004. It results in a greyish black that when rubbed produces a metal sheen. Miraculous stuff. I also found, very much like Shackleton warned, that overdoing is easy. I learned to dilute my mixtures by 1 part paint with 3 to 4 parts thinner. The coat you apply is then only the lightest of coats and will give excellent control to what degree you pollute the model. I first gave the loco a greyish black coat and after drying applied several layers of the same mixture with various degrees of Humbrol 62 added to it.

Once I liked the result I bit the bullet and got to work with the AD60.

The result after the first run.

I did not want to create a neglected state of affair, just a loco that was well cared for but had been working hard after being outshopped in the not too distant past. So the scaling on the boiler and the cylinders had not turned white yet and rust on the smokebox was not present. Only the dulling of the smoke and coal particles had lightened up a good fresh black coat and taken its gloss away. Some smudge of road dirt had already stuck to the loco but had not yet completely taken over the hard labour of the workshop men.


I was happy with the results on the boiler cradle and the rear unit, but I found the effect front tank too muddy, too conspicuous and that needed toning down a bit.

The front tank was sent back to the spray booth to get a few thin layers of the greyish black base mixture.

Boiler backhead

Source: Wikipedia

At first sight the backhead looks the part but once you compare it to the original AD60 back there is little resemblance other than the location of the firehole. The firehole doors are not even of the correct type. On the other hand who can tell, so I decided to accept it.

I sprayed the backhead with Revell matt 6, black, mixed with Humbrol Metal Cote 27004, anthracite. It result dark grey metal sheen. Not black because grime and soot usually foul the original colour to a dull indistinguished grey.


I gave a frequently used hand wheel (left) a gun metal sheen and applied a brass coat to the pipes. Finally I painted a few dials with Revell SM371, very light grey almost white.

It isn't perfect but good enough once installed in the cab.