If you’re a beginning modeller and unsure of what paints to use we are going to tell you how to model train paint. There are many different techniques you can use to paint your train models including hand painting, airbrushing or spray painting. Throughout this article, we will be talking about how you can use spray paint to colour your models.

Model train paint

Spray painting is one of the best ways to paint your train models. You can create an amazing effect using spray painting; especially now there is such a range of colours available to you. You can also purchase many paints in either a matt or a gloss which allows you to get the perfect colour. With enough practice, you can master the best technique to get the best finish.


If possible, we recommend assembling a spraying booth. If you would like more information on how to make your own DIY spraying booth, you can watch The Family Handyman. Alternatively, we recommend taking your spraying outside, in most cases spray paint can sometimes go where you might not want it to if don’t inside with no protection. If you have an old bed sheet or some tarpaulin, pop this down before spraying, so you don’t get any on the grass or flooring. You should also think about purchasing yourself a mask to protect you from inhaling any paint when spraying, Protective Masks Direct have a range of protective masks.


You should wash all models before painting to remove any finger grease or release agents used during the modelling process. We always recommend you spray each part individually before fitting together as it can be a lot trickier to paint once assembled. This is particularly imortant especially if you are gluing parts together. Glue will prevent the paint from adhering. It is also easier for you to paint parts that may difficult to access once assembled such as windows. The best primer to use for your model trains is automobile primer, as the paint is more likely to have a better finish. Primer will also help cover slight imperfections in the surface that may have been caused during the modelling process. You will also notice by using a primer will give your model and even coloured undercoat. We would also like to mention dependant on what colour you wish to paint will determine what primer you go for if you are painting the model a light colour purchase a light colour and vice versa for darker tones.

Colour matching

For many train modellers, it’s important to get the perfect colour. Pro Aerosols provides a colour matching service; we recently had a customer contact us in need of colours that had been produced in 1895 which were no longer in production, we managed to colour match this for him, and he was delighted with the finish it gave his model the perfect colour and finish. We always suggest if you are unsure of the finish and colour to get in contact with a spray paint specialist company, they will be able to give recommendations and colour match almost any colour.

Using spray paints

When using spray paints, it can be easy to apply one thick coat and think you are done. We always suggest that you take your time when using spray paint. Once you have prepped correctly, get a bit of plastic or paper and spray the can to make sure it is coming out the nozzle correctly. The last thing you want is to start painting, and it sprays everywhere rather than the location you had directed it. Use several thin coats when spray painting, if you use one thick coat what often happens is the paint cannot dry effectively, and you might experience paint bubbling or crack. By using a thin coat method, the paint can thoroughly dry before the next application; you will also find that the paint finish is better. It is also easier to rectify any paint mishap with thin layers. If you need more coverage, this will also allow it dry better and prevent any paint damage.

Try to complete a whole area at once, so you don’t have any joins in the paint coat. You should always read the recommendations on drying time from the aerosol bottle; you don’t want to touch the model thinking its dry because you haven’t left it long enough. Avoid handling the model as much as possible, while you may think the paint has dried it hasn’t had time to harden. It can often take days sometimes weeks for the colour to set, so while you may be eager to touch it, you’re only doing yourself a favour. Otherwise, you might find yourself having to repaint.

Finishing touches

If you are thinking about applying any lettering, you should apply a clear gloss finish to the patch. This will provide a better surface for the decals. Once you have applied decals, you should also seal them with another coat of clear gloss. You will then want to apply a clear gloss coat to the entire model. This will help lock the decals and hopefully hide the edges. By giving it a good coat, you are also prolonging the life of your train modelling.


It is key to ensure you have the right preparation methods before starting your train model painting; you don’t want any uneven finishes or any health and safety risks. We always recommend you spray paint each part before putting together not only can it be tricky but you may also find that once you have glued each part, the paint is less likely to adhere. You should also contact a spray painting company if you are unsure of the colour.

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