for those of us who can't find (or can't afford) 'mint boxed' items.
Grubby models can be cleaned with household washing up liquid (e.g. Fairy) and water using a soft cloth or a cotton wool bud. Also White Spirit (Turpentine Substitute) can be useful to remove sticky label residue sometimes found on models purchased from swapmeets, but BEWARE!
DON'T USE METHYLATED SPIRITS!! This can remove factory finish paints in a trice and abrasive cleaners such as Ajax should be avoided as they can abrade paint as easy as wink!
Whatever you use BE VERY CAREFUL when cleaning models and if possible try out your chosen method on an area which cannot be seen.
Removal of unwanted paint
If you have purchased a repainted model then paint removal can be accomplished using commercial model paint strippers or such things as oven cleaner (Mr Muscle) or drain cleaner (Caustic Soda Crystals) which are basically the same thing. The trade sells items such as Modelstrip which is excellent but contains basically the same chemicals. There are other commercial paint strippers, which claim not to harm plastic but the secret is to remove the unwanted paint and to leave the factory finish.
Returning to a reasonable state
Once you've removed all the unwanted paint, that some little lad put on with a yard brush in 1960, you can consider re-painting where appropriate and applying new transfers.
However, I don't think many Tri-ang models can be fully restored especially if they've been overpainted since the paint seems to seriously affect the original plastic, but time and skill will tell. Some of the plastics seem to have a whitish 'bloom' after stripping which resists all treatment. (Unless you know different?)
Re-application of factory applied paint can be fairly straightforward using an airbrush once we've established the correct colours. These may not be the colours, which were originally applied, but their modern equivalent. I am attempting to put together a database of suitable matches, but don't hold your breath. Any info on paint colours or application techniques would be most welcome.
This is a difficult subject. I know of some Tri-ang transfers, which were available recently in the UK but these were especially commissioned by individuals. I understand that transfers can cost upwards of £350 for 50 sheets to manufacture (Sept 1999) even after supplying the artwork, but if we get together I'm sure people won't jib at £7.00 per sheet.
There is scope for these to be made at home with a computer and suitable software, printers etc. See my page on transfers for details. Furthermore, if model car enthusiasts (e.g. Dinky and Corgi) can have transfers for their cars available at a reasonable price then why can't Tri-ang enthusiasts? It may be that we can get together with these folk and ask them nicely .....?
There are a few books on the subject related to scale model painting and lining and I'm sure the same techniques can be applied. If like me you want the item to appear like it did all those years ago, then it should be quite straightforward to accomplish this with a steady eye and a mapping pen with the right consistency of paint. I haven't tried this yet but watch this space.
Axle removal and replacement
Any tips? There were articles published in the late 1950's about the original cropped axle replacement/removal in magazines like the Railway Modeller but you will have to look very hard to find them these days. Otherwise pin point axles can be replaced with Lima equivalent if required.
Replacement of couplings
Araldite is as good as anything to glue replacements in place or swaging over the original metal mounting points where possible. Plastic supports can be replaced by microrod or similar. I am presently looking for eyelets and the tools to replace these fittings. There are no sources of new couplings but buying models which are beyond repair is one way of acquiring some.
Eyelet tools are available from places such as Squires or Proops or any model tool suppliers, and can be bought at model railway exhibitions. Couplings and bogies were held on by this method. It should be fairly straightforward to replace these items once the correct sizes are determined.