by Mike Isenberg
114 Station renovation, day one.
Today 12-31-05, I disassembled the 114 station I recently bought on eBay. It is quite complete, but cosmetically sad. It has bad paint over 30% and some rust. I removed the electrical fixtures, the top trim piece, roof, all windows, screens, clocks and brass formats for them, all eight doors, and the base. I then coated the main shell of the station and top trim with a heavy coat of Citrus-Strip, let it soak, worked it with a stiff brush, then flushed it all with a hard spray of cold water, followed by heat drying in front of my shop furnace.
Next I brushed on another coat of fresh stripper, let that soak for about ½ hour, then returned wearing rubber gloves, and used 00 steel wool along with the stripper. That made short work of the smears of paint that remained.
I again flushed it with the hose, scrubbed it with hot soapy water and a scrub brush to clean off what goo was left. I heat dried it again, then used dry 00 steel wool over the entire surface, paying special attention to stains and rust. I used a pointed #11 blade in an Xacto knife around column caps and recesses that tend to hold paint and steel wool threads. I brushed it off with a dry paintbrush, then primed several coats.
When the primer dried well, I noticed several steel wool threads in the primer; it's very hard to get rid on them all. As I picked at them, again with an Xacto knife, I found stripper has crept under the attached columns, then oozed out under the paint. What I had in several spots was paint dried over bulges of stripper. Rust had formed under that.
My local street rod shop has a color match device. It's a specialty digital camera called "The Prophet". It need s a clean flat, smooth area of paint you want to match about 3" x 3". The camera is placed in contact with the paint, it makes six exposures, averages them out, then outputs a paint code. That is fed into the paint match PC & it produces a formula, some much white, red, black etc.
I cleaned the stripper that had oozed out, and painted it with the cream I had mixed at the street rod shop. It dried far too yellow. I tried an off-the-shelf dark cream paint next, but it dried butterscotch. I was disgusted at this point, so I decided to strip the shell and start over. That done, I baked the stripped shell in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 min. The heat forced all of the stripper out from behind the columns, it was now dry and quite hard. I spent the time to scrape all that off with an Xacto. I again primed the shell, and this time it looked right. I found an off the shelf Testors spray paint, "Modern Desert Sand," a near perfect deep cream, just as I believe the paint looked as it left Lionel.
The underneath side of the base was very nice and the rubber stamp was perfect. I decided to just sand the chips and rust on top and paint topside only. The floor inside the station was 95% so I masked it all off, painted just the outside top of the flange and rim, terra cotta. The pea green roof was bad on top, but excellent on the underneath, so I chemically stripped just the top of the roof, by masking off the skylight holes and rim. I sanded the rust with #400 grit emory paper then used steel wool getting it smooth as possible. I carefully went over the roof with a stiff paintbrush, being certain to clean off stray steel wool . I primed the top, then applied the pea green I had mixed. It was a dead-on color match. I did my best to feather the rim, and the roof was finished. I then stripped both skylight covers and painted them pea green as well. I let it all dry for a full week before reassembly on 1-14-06. The station was missing one clock face, so while I had one out, I scanned the one I did have, and printed it out on photo quality paper. That made an excellent replica.
None of the windows, screens, nor the eight doors needed anything, so they were all carefully reinstalled. At first, one of the front light fixtures would not light. The problem turned out to be the new paint was insulating it from being grounded to the shell. That taken care of, all in all, this was a very satisfying project.
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