I used Krylon "Cover Maxx" Gray Primer to apply a coat of primer to the body and the underframe. I was happy with the results. I then used Floquil's "Grimy Black" thinned with Floquil's thinner (about 50/50), using the airbrush, to apply a nice, even coat to the underframe, which is what is shown in the photo below.
Feeling lucky, I then used the airbrush to paint the body using Polly Scale's "Boxcar Red" thinned about 50% with pure water. Initially, it looked great, but as it dried, I started seeing these water-run marks all over. I have never had much luck with acrylic paints in the airbrush, but this was the first time I've encountered this problem. Usually, the paint would clog up the airbrush pretty quickly, which is why I decided to use quite a bit of water this time. I probably used too much. So, I am going to try to remove this coat of paint, because I am just not happy with it. I like the color, though. Note that the photo is a bit overexposed on purpose so that you can see the error of my ways, although in person you have to get pretty close to the model to actually see it.
I have never removed paint from a car body, so I am experimenting. I started using 50% rubbing alcohol to remove the Polly Scale paint, which seems to work, but I am now getting the impression that the problem wasn't with the Polly Scale paint, but rather with the Krylon primer I sprayed. Maybe I sprayed it on too thick, or maybe it was because it wasn't the exact same Krylon primer I had used before successfully on other projects. So, now I am thinking I need to get rid of both layers of paint and get back to the resin itself. In the photo below, on the right-hand side of the body, I used paint thinner and pieces of paper towel to remove the paint. With quite a bit of rubbing I was only able to get through some of the Polly Scale paint. I then went to the store and bought 91% rubbing alcohol, which I tried with a paper towel on the left-hand side. It worked much faster and it also went through the Krylon primer layer, showing the white of the resin body. An interesting side-note here is that this might be a useful technique for heavily weathering a freight car or engine. It is going to take me some time to work around the body. The "water-drip effect" is only really visible on the large, flat panels, and there doesn't appear to be any on the roof, so I only need to do this to the large side panels. Once all done and cleaned up, I will repaint the model.
I was able to clean the side panels as best as possible using 91% isopropyl ("rubbing") alcohol and using QTips cotton swabs. The remaining painted areas will be masked off to prevent too much paint build-up. Some alcohol went onto the roof panels, but I am going to integrate that into my weathering scheme.
Well, finally after shelving this project for one year and four months (ouch!), I am back to completing it this time around. I used the airbrush to again use the same paint. This time it was a success.
When the paint had thoroughly dried for a few days, I sprayed Testors' Glosscote, and let that dry for a day or two as well.
And, finally, the applying-the-decals step. This photo shows one of the sides done. The kit comes with a small sheet of paper showing where the decals are to be applied. The decals are hard to see on the decal sheet, so an additional piece of paper (not shown) is provided that shows the placement of the decals in black ink on white paper. The "Silver Meteor" decal is probably one of the largest ones I've ever applied! I included in that one decal everything, except for the built-by decal just to the left of the door. I just wanted to see if I could do it. If it worked, all of the pieces would line up perfectly. As soon as I pulled the decal out of the water, the "NEW 5-41" portion flipped under the decal. Panic ensued. But, taking a deep breath, I managed to straighten it all out. When I did the other side, I cut the same decal, but this time without the "NEW 5-41" portion. That worked much better. The colored logo on the right I also cut out as one decal (with the text below it), except for the "B7" and the small decal to its left. That went well, too.
Applying the side decals is easy, but what about the ones at the end of the car? I spent a bit of time thinking about how to tackle this. I use this foam to stack and store my equipment, especially when traveling to local train shows. I gently placed several pieces of foam around the car, and used rubber bands to have them grip the car more tightly. This allowed me to put the model on the other end (it actually floats a bit).
This made it much easier to apply the decals on the ends. The decals on the ribs were a real pain. They wanted to be in the valley, not on the rib.
Each time a side was finished, I sprayed Testors' Dullcote over the side, using a piece of paper to mask off the other sides that shouldn't be sprayed. This helps protect that side while I am applying decals on the other sides. That worked well.
It wasn't until I was finished with the model that I looked at the prototype photo one more time, and noticed that I had forgotten to put the "SAL" text on the doors. I had no problem applying it to the Dullcote-sprayed side. When the decal was dry, I gave it a quick shot with Dullcote again.