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Lettering the Rock Ridge Railroad

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  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Lettering the Rock Ridge Railroad
Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 7:32 PM

I'm wondering how one goes about lettering their engines and rolling stock. This includes the unlettered and wierd stuff I want to reletter for the Southern Pacific.

I've looked for decals for the SP but it's all pretty much modern. There is nothing for small old locomotives or even 36 foot rolling stock.

Am I stuck with with custom ordering stuff? One thing I was thinking of doing was like what the Buffalo and Pittsburgh does. They block out the old lettering with white paint and just paint their name in the white block. But that doesn't fit with my conception that the owners of say, the Rock Ridge Lumber Company would do. They would have a first class paint job, even if it was weathered. 

I can print decals, at least in theory. I have one of those kits where you feed the clear sheet into the printer and presto you got a decal. I have the fonts, but I can't print white.  

I have sheets of just letters, but that seems pretty tedious for a lot of cattle cars or box cars. And Rock Ridge Railroad uses a lot of Rs.

[This should be in General Discussions but I can't delete it or move it. Moderators can you help me out?]  

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    January, 2018
  • From: Douglas AZ.
  • 130 posts
Posted by Little Timmy on Monday, February 12, 2018 8:44 PM

Rust...... It's a good thing !

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Posted by GraniteRailroader on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:09 PM

Mouse,

Find a local vehicle graphics shop, or someone that does custom T-shirts. They likely can print you the white lettering on the cheap if you provide them a PDF file or similar to print. If you're looking for graphics and heralds as well, ask them what image format they need.

My local print shop has done white for me previously.

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  • Member since
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Posted by GraniteRailroader on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:13 PM

Idea #2 -

Print your text with white lettering and a black background in your choice of photo/word processor program. Patch out the areas on the models where it will be applied with white, and then weather them. You may have to play with the shade of black (or really dark gray?) to match faded paint on your rolling stock, but it'd be an easy work around if you can't find someone to produce white lettering for you.

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  • Member since
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  • From: Fullerton, California
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Posted by hornblower on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:25 PM

Spacemouse

You want to use white background decal paper (not clear) to make white/light colored letter decals.  Create your decal designs by first creating a background field.  A rectangle will do to start.  The trick is making your decal background color match the paint on the loco. This is easy if the loco is black.  A bit of trial and error is needed for other loco/car colors but it can be done.  With your background created, simply type in your letters/numbers in white on your decal background.  Since your printer can't print white, it prints nothing where your letters/numbers appear.  This allows the white decal paper to show through your colored background field.  

Depending on the thickness of the decal paper brand you use, it can sometimes be difficult to hide the edges of your larger than normal decal (you have to leave at least some of the colored background field around your lettering/numbers).  If its not too large, I simply make the decal a little larger than the panel I'm applying it to, then trim it to fit the panel exactly.

I have lettered/numbered a lot of black locos/cars this way as well as a few locos and cars with other paint colors.  When trying to match other colors, just remember to use the decal paper for your test prints as it will usually absorb and set colors differently than regular copy paper.  Another helpful trick is to wet both the loco/car and the decal sample when trying to match colors.  A similarly glossy (wet) surface on the loco/car and the decal color sample will make it much easier to match.

Also remember that some white background decal papers are more opaque than others.  Some brands will require a little white paint under the decal is needed to make your white/light colored lettering pops!  Otherwise, your lettering will be pre-faded.

Hornblower

  • Member since
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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:27 PM

Little Timmy
ou weren't specific about what size your "small/old" loco's were, but would this work ?

Sorry, I should have said I was modeling the 1890's. Unfortunately, these are medium sized about 25 years too late for my era.

I do appreciate your effort, however. 

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:54 PM

GraniteRailroader
Print your text with white lettering and a black background in your choice of photo/word processor program.

hornblower
You want to use white background decal paper (not clear) to make white/light colored letter decals.  Create your decal designs by first creating a background field.  A rectangle will do to start.  The trick is making your decal background color match the paint on the loco. This is easy if the loco is black.  A bit of trial and error is needed for other loco/car colors but it can be done.  With your background created, simply type in your letters/numbers in white on your decal background.  Since your printer can't print white, it prints nothing where your letters/numbers appear.  This allows the white decal paper to show through your colored background field.  

This is genius. 

I'll have to play around with it, I'm sure. But it beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 10:44 PM

Sometimes you just have to get a sheet of Microscale's Alphabet decals in white, and do it one letter at a time.

.

Itis not that bad. I lettered this car in an evening, one letter at a time.

.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 4:27 AM

SeeYou190
Sometimes you just have to get a sheet of Microscale's Alphabet decals in white, and do it one letter at a time. . Itis not that bad. I lettered this car in an evening, one letter at a time.

WOW!

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 1:14 PM

SpaceMouse

SeeYou190 Sometimes you just have to get a sheet of Microscale's Alphabet decals in white, and do it one letter at a time. . Itis not that bad. I lettered this car in an evening, one letter at a time.

WOW!

How many locomotives and how much rolling stock do you expect to need to letter?  I did over 90 passenger cars, using dry transfer alphabet sets from C-D-S, for my freelanced home road....

....and while my early freight cars were done the same way, I eventually opted for custom dry transfers, also from C-D-S.  I went through two fifty-sheet sets (one sheet did two cars) in these schemes...

...but when I backdated my layout, opted for a more conservative look...

After using up that 50 sheet set (two cars per sheet, also from C-D-S) and with C-D-S gone (to Ozark Miniatures), I turned to Rail Graphics for custom decals. 
They're very similar to the last set from C-D-S, but with more small data suitable to specific car types.  These sheets also do two cars each, and here's an example on a slightly modified Tyco gondola...

For your Espee cars, you may find something of use in Microscale's 87-911 set.  It's for SP B-50-13 and B-50-14 boxcars (1923-1962), but you'll likely need to modify the dimensional data to reflect the smaller cars' sizes and capacities.  In addition to SP boxcars, the set will also do EP&SW, PE, SPdeM, and T&NO...

You may also wish to check out Great Decals.

Wayne

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 8:22 PM

doctorwayne
  I did over 90 passenger cars, using dry transfer alphabet sets from C-D-S, for my freelanced home road....

For laughs and giggles, I pulled out my old (and I mean old) Dunscomb's A Century of Southern Pacific Steam Locomotives. 

The good news is that many of the 1800's engines were painted with "SP Cal" rather than "Southern Pacific Lines.
 

The bad news is that 2-6-0s were not used in day-to-day operations, and most were converted to 4-4-0s. 

And 0-6-0s were widely used as swithers, but they were pretty much all slope-backed tenders. In fact, I could not find a single instance of SP ever using an 0-6-0 ST.

Good thing I'm modeling the 0ld West the way it should have been.

You'd think that the model makers would have done a little better research. 

Second piece of good news.

I found that rolling stock in the 19th Century had only road names and numbers. It seems my models predate the legal mumbo jumbo. 

Those two things make lettering one-at-a-time a little less daunting. 

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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