Paint Your Wagon

I’m writing this while I wait for some paint to dry on some rollingstock I’ve just sprayed. I thought it might be worthwhile posting a photo of my painting “wagon” as it got a bit of a workout this evening and it operated just the way it was designed to.

I’m very lucky to have a 25’X15′ room devoted to my modelling. This space is the unused, lower floor of my home: not exactly a basement, but as the house sits on the side of a hill it is half buried. My workroom is adjacent to the garage where I tend to carry out the really dirty jobs and this includes painting my models. I’ve seen stories in magazines where modellers have described permanent painting workstations with venting to the outside and all sorts of fancy gizmos. While I could probably drill a hole in the brick wall and set up some sort of permanent arrangement if I really wanted to, I don’t honestly feel I can justify the time and cost involved for the amount of painting I do. I’d bet that a lot of other modellers are in the same boat.

The picture I’ll post to accompany this text is of my painting wagon. I consider this to be a pretty good answer to how to make my painting as convenient and trouble free as possible.

I’m the first to admit that painting models is not my favourite part of the hobby. Having to mix the paint, breath in the fumes (even with face protection), wait for things to dry (I tend to be impatient) and then clean up is a right pain in the rear as far as I’m concerned. Having spent years modelling indoors, but having to paint out in a garage separated from the house, means that every time I want to paint something I have to troop out there, often at night, and spray in the cold and dark. This is not a circumstance that lends itself to award winning paint jobs in my experience.

When I moved into my present home about 2 years ago, I put some thought into this problem and the photo of my paint wagon is the solution I came up with. The mdf cupboard was made by myself about 15 years ago and it was surplus to requirements. It was designed to go under an HO layout, a layout that has long since gone to meet its maker ( a bit of a misnomer as I was its maker) 🙂 I decided that what I really needed was a paint station, where all my paint gear was in one place, but one that I could roll around and place in front of an open doorway so that the fumes could easily dissipate. All my paint and solvents could be stored in the cupboard and on the work surface and as such would all be in one place, ready for immediate use. After I use it I simply roll it out of the way to a convenient storage spot.

To build my paint wagon, I mounted the pre-existing cupboard on wheels, screwed a work surface to the top (this was a bit of scrap 16mm mdf) and mounted my compressor to the side of the unit. There is also a 4 outlet power board mounted on the back to let me plug in all the electronic devices, including a light. I trimmed 3 sides of the work surface with 2″x1″ pine “lip” to prevent bottles and materials sliding off. The paint booth is from Runway13 http://runway13.com/store/ but I’m sure these are available from a number of other suppliers.

So that’s it. I gave my paint wagon a run this evening and as you can see, it’s dark outside and the car is still parked in the garage. I got all four painting jobs completed in under half an hour and some of that time was spent cutting up a simple paint mask.

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