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Removing factory lettering

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  • Member since
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  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
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Removing factory lettering
Posted by gdelmoro on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:40 PM

So I watched Cody's video and several on YouTube where you apply Microsol let it set 5 minuted (reapplying as it drys up) and then taking scotch tape rubbing it down with a tooth pick and then pulling the tape up and the lettering comes off.  I've tried it on 3 models and NONE of the letters even budged. 

What am I doing wrong?

Gary

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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:54 PM

I have never had any success with this technique.

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There was an article in MR a few months ago where a writer was using factory painted Santa Fe models for his freelanced railroad. He used a long technique of microsol, rubbing alchohol, and Q-tips. He stated that many manufacturer's models were extra difficult to get the lettering off of.

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It is worth looking up.

.

-Kevin

.

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

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:18 PM

Acetone works for stubborn stuff, but use with extreme care. It will also start on the paint underneath if you're not quick. Best to practice on something not of great concern first to gain confidernce and skill.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by slammin on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:27 PM

You might try using the Microsol, brushing on a heavy coat, then rubbing it with a q-tip. I had luck with that method years ago removing lettering from a Bachmann Spectrum GP30. Some folks have used 800 or 1000 grit wet or dry paper. If you have rivets close by it could damage those. If you try acetone, be VERY  careful. Its a pretty agressive solvent and could damage the shell.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:34 PM

I can't find that video.  Can I assume the microsol is dry when you put the tape on?

No luck so far with alcohol and q-tips.  In general the lettering is narrower than the q-tips so you remove paint adjacent to the letters.  Acetone melts some plastics, I would be afraid to try that.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

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Posted by EMDSD40 on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 7:54 PM

I used 3M automotive scratch remover on wooden stick Q-tip with great success. The process is technique sensitive so rub slowly and you will see the factory lettering disappear leaving you a smooth surface of the base color for decal application. Follow up with a coat of Dullcote. Used this process successfully on Athearn, Kato, and Atlas locomotives to name a few.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 8:59 PM

I always watch threads like this, as I have had the same luck with all methods above, on all different manufacturers,  90% alcohol has worked on Bachmann freight cars, but not on locos.  Athearns lettering on some locos, seems industructable, trying everything, but just short of lacquer thinner, which destroys plastic (Don't ask me how I know).  I think I'll try EMDSD40's method, and see how it works.

Mike.

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Posted by Renegade1c on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 12:43 AM

I have found denatured alcohol and a q-tip works best for me. I have renumbrred a bunch of RDC's recently and the black lettering came off the stainless paint fairly quickly with rubbing the lettering with the alcohol. I did have a switcher I wad working on where the paint came off before the lettering did. In this case I made it a patch job on the loco.

Colorado Front Range Railroad: 
http://www.coloradofrontrangerr.com/

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Posted by nycstlrr on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 1:40 AM

I don`t know how this would work on plastic but when I build my 1/24th scale NASCAR nodels, in diecast. I use Meguiar`s Rubbing Compound and a Q Tip. It will take off what I want, without damaging the paint undeneath. I figure it may be too abrasive for plastic though and leave fine lines where you removed what you were working on. Just a suggestion, if you run into anything stubborn.

 

 

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 7:04 AM

gdelmoro

So I watched Cody's video and several on YouTube where you apply Microsol let it set 5 minuted (reapplying as it drys up) and then taking scotch tape rubbing it down with a tooth pick and then pulling the tape up and the lettering comes off.  I've tried it on 3 models and NONE of the letters even budged. 

What am I doing wrong?

 

You probably tried a technique that works for removing decals rather than painted lettering. Scotch tape wont budge painted lettering, as you found out, but the technique you described should help remove decaled lettering.  Microsol is a decal setting/softening solution.

To remove painted on lettering, try the techniques described here.  Personally, I use a curved bladed hobby knife and scrape off the lettering, but try to be careful to not remove some of the under body color as you scrape.

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Posted by DSchmitt on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 9:09 AM

No advice from me. 

Years ago I sucessfully removed the heralds from A Microtrains Line PFE reefer so I could replace them with a WP herald.  A short time latter I tried it on another MTL PFE reefer.  Didn't work.  Took the lettering off the herald, but left the background.  Apparently two different rus of the car and method of "painting" the herald changed. . 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by NittanyLion on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 9:23 AM

Doughless

 

 
gdelmoro

So I watched Cody's video and several on YouTube where you apply Microsol let it set 5 minuted (reapplying as it drys up) and then taking scotch tape rubbing it down with a tooth pick and then pulling the tape up and the lettering comes off.  I've tried it on 3 models and NONE of the letters even budged. 

What am I doing wrong?

 

 

 

You probably tried a technique that works for removing decals rather than painted lettering. Scotch tape wont budge painted lettering, as you found out, but the technique you described should help remove decaled lettering.  Microsol is a decal setting/softening solution.

To remove painted on lettering, try the techniques described here.  Personally, I use a curved bladed hobby knife and scrape off the lettering, but try to be careful to not remove some of the under body color as you scrape.

 

I suspect it could work on the right lettering on the right finish.

For instance, I was renumbering some Athearn P42s.  The number on the nose (a little white one on Amtrak blue) was a bit stubborn, but worked off with Microsol and a Q-tip.  But it did take a bit of the blue with it.  The numbers on the side, on the silvery, sparkly "platnium mist" came off so easily I just wiped it off with a paper towel.  No scrubbing and didn't mar the paint underneath at all. If I had let the Microsol dry, I could have lifted it off with tape, as the chemical reaction had already done its thing and lifted the number off the body.

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 10:47 AM

NittanyLion

 

 
Doughless

 

 
gdelmoro

So I watched Cody's video and several on YouTube where you apply Microsol let it set 5 minuted (reapplying as it drys up) and then taking scotch tape rubbing it down with a tooth pick and then pulling the tape up and the lettering comes off.  I've tried it on 3 models and NONE of the letters even budged. 

What am I doing wrong?

 

 

 

You probably tried a technique that works for removing decals rather than painted lettering. Scotch tape wont budge painted lettering, as you found out, but the technique you described should help remove decaled lettering.  Microsol is a decal setting/softening solution.

To remove painted on lettering, try the techniques described here.  Personally, I use a curved bladed hobby knife and scrape off the lettering, but try to be careful to not remove some of the under body color as you scrape.

 

 

 

I suspect it could work on the right lettering on the right finish.

For instance, I was renumbering some Athearn P42s.  The number on the nose (a little white one on Amtrak blue) was a bit stubborn, but worked off with Microsol and a Q-tip.  But it did take a bit of the blue with it.  The numbers on the side, on the silvery, sparkly "platnium mist" came off so easily I just wiped it off with a paper towel.  No scrubbing and didn't mar the paint underneath at all. If I had let the Microsol dry, I could have lifted it off with tape, as the chemical reaction had already done its thing and lifted the number off the body.

 

Maybe so.  Perhaps the video is more specific as to the model being workd on.  I would think that microsol and scotch tape would only work on a small percentage of models that have painted lettering.

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Posted by gdelmoro on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 5:52 PM

Henry - MRVP - How To - Rolling Stock.  Video is how to remove factory painted lettering.  It doesn't work for me.

Gary

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Posted by NHTX on Thursday, May 18, 2017 11:43 AM

   Since I at the least renumber my equipment to match prototypes I have photographed, I have found the only method that works for me, regardless of manufacturer is to scrape the lettering off with a USED No.11 blade in a hobby knife.  Holding the blade at a 90 degree angle to the surface of the model, start at one corner of the lettering and scrape the tip back and forth over the lettering.  Do not apply pressure, let the weight of the knife do the work. The used blade will help to avoid gouging the surface as it chips away the lettering.  If the model has detail such as rivets, etc, I get as close as I can withe the chipping method and use Testors Universal Enamel Thinner and a Q-Tip to scrub away what I can't get with the knife.  I suggest you practice first on a throwaway junker to perfect your touch with the knife.  After the lettering is removed, there may be some "ghosts" of it remaining.  Simply give it a good scrubbing with a pencil eraser. This will remove them and polish the surface to the degree that a glosscoat may not be necessary.  If a glosscoat is needed or desired, I use the thinnest application of Pledge Floor Care only where the decals will go.  A piece of makeup sponge works best for me.  I have used this technique successfully on locomotives, freight and passenger cars from Athearn Genesis, Atlas, ExactRail, Fox Valley, Intermountain, Moloco, Rapido, Red Caboose, Tangent, Walthers, and  Wheels of Time, with a 100% success rate.

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Posted by gdelmoro on Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:07 PM

Confused well, I'll give that a go 

Gary

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Posted by azrail on Thursday, May 18, 2017 2:50 PM

An electric or battery-operated eraser can also take off printed lettering.

I know the Brits use something called T-Cut to remove lettering, which is some type of auto surface cleaner. I don't know if there is an equivalent over here.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, May 18, 2017 5:35 PM

gdelmoro
Henry - MRVP - How To - Rolling Stock.  Video is how to remove factory painted lettering.  It doesn't work for me.

http://mrv.trains.com/videos/expert-tips/2009/11/video-how-to-remove-factory-printed-lettering-from-freight-car-models

 The video shows the lettering gets soft, it looks like a decal to me.  He then says keep it wet with a q-tip and then immediately puts a piece of tape on it and most of it comes off, again looking like it is a decal, at least to me.

I have a Bowser diesel I need to try it on.

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

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Posted by Dannyboy6 on Thursday, May 18, 2017 7:00 PM

I just took lettering off a Walthers Mainline loco. With a flat blade micro screwdriver, I gently scratched at the clearcoat exactly on top of the lettering. Once it was nearly gone, I used a microbrush and Microsol. Worked great. go slow and be gentle.

Dan

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Posted by gdelmoro on Thursday, May 18, 2017 7:07 PM

I'll give it a try

Gary

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Posted by gdelmoro on Saturday, May 20, 2017 7:15 AM

Scraping with the exacto knife worked but you need to be EXTREMLY careful or you will leave scratches. Must be a better way??

Gary

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, June 03, 2017 10:59 AM

Data Point:  Bowser VO-1000 and Micro Sol

no effect.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

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Posted by RobertSchuknecht on Saturday, June 03, 2017 4:13 PM

I have always had pretty good results using non acetone nail polish remover and a Q-tip. Dab on the polish remover and let it soak a couple minutes. Repeat as needed depending on how stubborn the painted graphics are.

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Posted by KemacPrr on Saturday, June 03, 2017 4:21 PM

I have always used Walthers Solvaset. I think it's a bit stronger than the Micro Scale products. One additional thing to try. Cut a piece of paper towel or toilet paper the same size as the lettering you want to take off. Lay the model down and put your Solvaset or Micro scale product on the paper. Let it sit for a few minutes. The reapply when the paper starts to get dry. The wet paper keeps the solvent on the lettering longer. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then pick up the paper and see if the lettering has gotten soft . Then use a Q tip to clean off the lettering. Do again if needed. Has worked for me for years. ---   Ken 

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