Friday, 27 March 2015

The Repaint Story: GWR 3803...

Hi there everyone. At last, finally, here are the progress pictures I snapped during the repaint of 1939-built GWR 2884 Class 2-8-0 No3803 at Shackerstone. This idea floated around the place at the back end of last year. The plan was to repaint the 38' into BR Plain Black livery, subject to the owners agreeing to the livery switch. The new livery would do nothing more than simply give 3803 a bit of a fresh look for her final year in ticket, as the 10-year boiler certificate expires after this season. The locomotive is pictured in the shed above, on Jan 4th, still proudly wearing its GWR livery. The final public steaming of the loco in GWR Green was on New Years Day. For the first couple of shed Sunday's, work had gone forward with two diesels: the Class 73 and the 02 Shunter. However, by Sunday 25th January the work on the 38' had begun. The engine had been moved under the tarps at the south end of the shed in order to protect the main of it from the elements. The shed roof is good but bad weather will bring the odd bit of soot & muck down off it so the tarps are very necessary indeed. On this day myself, Eddie and Jason began the considerable task of flatting the paintwork...
On a smooth flat surface, a mechanical tool (a DA air sander) may be used to flat the paint. All we wish to do here is take the shine off and open the paint up ready to take undercoat. The barrel was first rubbed over with thinners to remove excess dirt or grime. Steam locomotives do of course, by their very nature, attract lots of smuts and oil residue so a good clean up is vital as preparation. The 'flatting' then began. Using fine sanding pads, the entire locomotive had to be flatted down. The end result we are aiming for is to have a smooth, flat surface for painting. Here, the green of the firebox is just being removed...
I tell you what, never underestimate just how long something this big will take you to hand flat! Sunday February 1st soon came around and the hand flatting continued. The barrel, firebox cladding and cab were all pretty much getting there...
The cab sides had had their number plates removed and the side sheets were being flatted with the DA. As you can see the tender is awaiting work at this early stage...
The fireman's side of the barrel is seen here in the middle of flatting. Rubbing your hand across the panels after this process gave a silky smooth feel...
I did nip into the shed on the 8th of February but I wasn't well so didn't stop long. Therefore, there are no progress snaps from that day. The hand flatting was still in progress but was pretty much done. Jason had a busy week leading up to Sunday February 15th and the sight that greeted us in the shed was quite staggering...
The 38' had received her first coat of undercoat. The total plan would involve two coats of undercoat (with a flat in between), and then two coats of gloss (with a flat in between). On the 15th I was busy needle gunning. This air operated tool, though very noisy, fetches the paint off a treat and, if you work at it, leaves a smooth surface in its wake. The front bufferbeam: now minus number: is seen here during the gunning process...
Note the surface finish here. The gun allows you to start all over again with primer in order to assure a smooth finish at the end...
A capture of the 38' in its first coat of black undercoat; the shine on the smokebox barely gives away the impression its been painted for a good 9 years!...
A close up of the undercoated boiler barrel. We were all very pleased with the finish Jason had achieved...
Meanwhile, the tender had been DA'd and was now also sporting black undercoat, if only on the fireman's side for now...
Sunday February 22nd saw Jason applying the second coat of undercoat to the fireman's side of the tender. Jason is a painter by trade so knows the tricks to get a good finish...
By now my needle gunning activities had led me to the rear of the loco to start on the rear beam of the tender. I don't particularly mind needle gunning, but regular breaks are necessary so as to safeguard against vibration damage...
Up on the cab side, a small amount of filler had been applied. The filler is allowed to dry before being flatted until smooth. It is basically used to cover any pitting in the metalwork and to give a good final finish. Interestingly when the number plates were removed we found remnants of the painted on Barry Scrapyard number, applied during the 2-8-0s time there. Here we see some filler drying off...
The driver's side of the tender was now also in its first coat of undercoat...
Sunday March 1st was a quiet day for 3803, though Jamie was working away between the separated loco & tender. The loco was receiving a clean up of its dragbox and tender intermediates prior to the latter being reunited with the engine. Most of us were however busy, either washing out "Sir Gomer" or on other jobs...
Sunday March 8th was soon upon us and the loco was really getting there. She was undergoing a strip down for washout during the week, hence the removal of the steam pipe covers...
The tender had been glossed but was now in a rubbed down state ready for the second coat...
My job today was to completely degrease the firemans side of the bottom end, which I did so. The paintwork here has suffered a bit over the last 9 years but then again the environment down here is hostile at the best of times...
Here we see the difference between the first coat of gloss and its rubbed down state...
Sunday March 15th saw me degreasing again: this time on the drivers side. I was the only one working on 3803 today as there were many other jobs going on, not to mention 4141 in steam too!...
The tender was now in full gloss all round and only awaited some bufferbeam red and its transfers to complete it...
A rear view of the lovely shine on the BR Black tender...
Looking down the drivers side of the tender...
David had meanwhile been painting the nameplates last week. Here they are with the new black undercoat applied...
Sunday March 22nd saw me out on 4141 whilst work continued in the shed, both on & off 3803. Here she is shining away in a rushed snap I took before we left shed with the 41'...
Thursday March 26th saw me leave work early to get over to Shackerstone to help Jason. The smokebox had been degreased thoroughly and rubbed down ready to receive its number plate, shed plate and matt black paint...
My main job this afternoon was to paint the valances and the slide-bar hangers. This task involved degreasing, flatting, degreasing again and then painting. Here the fireman's side valance is partially rubbed down...
The cylinder covers had now also been flatted and awaited a nice coat of gloss...
A while later we see the repainted valance and slide bar hanger on the fireman's side...
A close up of the gloss black hanger...
I then moved onto the Driver's side where Jason is spotted here trying some paint on the smokebox of 3803...
A final view of 3803 before I left for home. Jason was by now applying the front beam's portion of bufferbeam red...
Friday March 27th arrived all too quickly but sure enough 3803 had the trial fitting of her plates before the smokebox received its coat of matt black. The number plate looks brill and the shed plate represents 84C: Banbury. Its amazing what a difference some plates make!...
I meanwhile put the number plate backs into their top coat of gloss black...
James was busy working away painting the rear bufferbeam of 3803...
The barrel simply needed its last coat of gloss now, with the first coat gloss rubbed down...
Jason begins applying the final coat of gloss...
Another job I did today was painting the ears on the 38's safety valve bonnet, whilst Steve painted the smokebox...
The engine was finished later that evening and, fair play to all concerned, here is the The Finished Product!...
These shots were taken by me on the upcoming Gala Sunday: I'm afraid giving away the fact that this post was written after it said it was. Doesn't she look grand...
Another view of 3803 awaiting departure on Gala Sunday in her new colours...
I must say that 3803 has turned out lovely and the new plain black BR livery has already received great reviews. The engine really does look different and it is quite refreshing to see it in black rather than green. This is the first time in preservation that 3803 has carried these colours. The engine made her debut over the gala weekend and will now operate regular Battlefield Line steam services in her new livery. We must thank the owners of the 38' (the SDR) for allowing the job to be done, and to everyone who worked on it. Its been a pleasure to be involved with this project, and to report on it. Why not come along one day and see the newly painted 3803? All the best everyone, Sam...

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