Has it really been two years since I've owned this model, and I am just now getting around to working on it?! Wow! Although the model was painted, as shown in the photograph, by the time I received it, the paint had worn off in some very visible areas. Trying to match that would be difficult. Also, I want to paint this model in the standard PRR freight-car color (as appropriate for the era I model), so I am going to have to paint it anyway. Also, looking closely at the model, the paint was on there quite thick in some areas. I don't know if this was a primer paint, or if the intended final color was this maintenance-of-way gray. Either way, I decided that this paint layer has to be removed as much as possible. The first step was to remove the couplers and trucks.
The most effective method I found was to use Qtips and acetone to remove the majority of the paint from the large surfaces. This is a slow and tedious process, and took me several weeks of modeling sessions. Soaking the model, or using a sand-blaster or an ultrasonic cleaner, might have worked faster and better, but I don't have any of those devices, so I did it the old-fashioned way, elbow-grease.
The brass at the top of the model was quite tarnished. I happened to have bought this Brasso metal polisher at the grocery store recently for another project, so I tried it out. You can see the difference in the top-right section of the model which I cleaned with the Brasso.
Here is another view of the difference that that stuff makes. The right-hand side of the model's top has been cleaned, while the left-hand side was as it was when I removed the paint layer.
A couple of areas I had to do twice, but this is about as good as the top is going to get. I don't know if the tarnishing has any impact on the painting of the model, but I just wanted to see if I could get this model back to as close as it was when it left the factory, given my tools and abilities. This is, after all, my first-ever brass model.
Well, like I said, it took me several weeks of modeling sessions to clean this model of its paint layer. I added toothpicks with small sections of paper towel wrapped around it, soaked in acetone, as another tool in my cleaning efforts. That allowed me to get into the smaller areas, and areas where the Qtips would catch metal edges and quickly unravel. It was tedious work. I couldn't get to all the areas, especially around the brake components on the "B" side of the car. But, I am going to call it a day on the paint removal step.
The interesting feature of this model is that the hatches open up. I didn't know/discover that until I started removing the paint, because the paint had effectively glued them shut.
Additionally, the little latches that hold the hatches shut are connected to brass wires/rods that are connected to the handles shown in the center of the photo below (two per side; you can see the ones on the other side in the diagonally-opposite hatch spacing). As you rotate those handles, the latches come down on the hatches. These are all interesting features of the model, especially if you are going to display this model without painting it. They were somewhat annoying, having them flap around while trying to remove the gray paint layer. Anyway, my models are operating pieces of equipment on my model railroad, so they are all going to be painted. Once painted, the "animation" features won't work anymore, or the paint will start to wear off over time. So, I am going to apply superglue to all the joints to make sure that all parts are immovable on my model. Before I can start the painting process, I also need to fix some loose parts and several parts that fell off during the paint-removal phase. This is going to be done next.