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Re-Decaling Locomotives

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  • Member since
    September 2020
  • 105 posts
Re-Decaling Locomotives
Posted by JDawg on Monday, May 3, 2021 6:34 PM

It looks like I will be purchasing a steam locomotive lettered for Western Pacific and redoing the decals for Great Northern. What is a good, reliable way to remove a engine number and the railroad logo? I e reletterd freight cars with various levels of success. I really want this loco to be better than the fright car Jobies I've done. I've heard that using solveset or a similar product with cotton swabs will remove the decals but leave the paint? Is this true?

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

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Posted by JDawg on Monday, May 3, 2021 6:35 PM

its a BLI 2-8-0 if that makes a difference.

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

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  • From: Franconia, NH
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Posted by dstarr on Monday, May 3, 2021 6:51 PM

SolvaSet is a decal softening compound.  It is mostly formaldhyde.  It will soften any decal that has not had  overcoating of Dullcote.  Unfortunately few makers use decals.  They most likely silk screen things like road names and silk screen uses paint, which Solvaset is unlikely to affect.  For a steamer, painted black, I would simpy paint over the old markings with black, and then apply the decals of my choice.  Black is black, color matching is pretty simple.

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Posted by JDawg on Monday, May 3, 2021 6:57 PM

Darn. I really don't want to have to paint the locomotive if it's possible. It seems you can't get it quite right and it looks a bit horsey. I appreciate the insight however. Any way to remove the silk screen, or whatever the logo is?

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

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  • From: Potomac Yard
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Posted by NittanyLion on Monday, May 3, 2021 7:27 PM

My impression is that BLI lettering is stubborn.  

Looking at the BLI 2-8-0 in WP and comparing it to GN locomotives, I do think painting over might be the path of least resistance.  On the cab, I'd paint the whole rectangle under the cab window instead of just trying to paint over the number.  A larger patch like that will help blend in the slight different color because the contrast lines will be panel lines and rivet lines.  A four digit locomotive number will also help hide the WP two digit number.  On the tender, the GN herald looks like it goes roughly where the WP herald is and looks to be bigger.  The paint patch should be mostly hidden behind the GN herald.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, May 3, 2021 10:26 PM

A lot of lettering on models is pad-printed.  My preference is to strip it completely, including the paint, and that's because I usually intend to modify the loco to either match a particular prototype, or re-detail it to suit what I want for my freelanced roads.
Stripping paint isn't all that difficult, althoufgh you do need to disassemble the parts to be stripped from the mechanical stuff, as only the plastic (or metal) superstructure of loco and tender needs to be removed.

I find that Super Clean works well for removing most paints.

Wayne

 

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 9:03 AM

Solvaset works much better on pad-printed lettering than on decals, with decals it will remove the color but leave the film of the decal. I use Solvaset and a rubber pencil eraser. Put on Solvaset and rub it with the eraser. When you start to feel resistance, stop and add more Solvaset. Go slowly, be patient. Eventually, the lettering will smear and then come off. You have to be careful not to do it too hard or too long or you'll get some of the underlying paint off too.

This engine started out as a Wabash factory-decorated Walthers unit, with yellow lettering and end stripes. I removed the lettering and stripes with Solvaset / eraser, then sprayed it with gloss finish and added NYC decals. (Sorry, this computer doesn't like doing links with this website so the link probably isn't 'live'.)

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/m/mrr-layouts/2289588.aspx

 

Stix
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  • From: Southeast Texas
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Posted by mobilman44 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 9:09 AM

At the risk of being negative, may I suggest that you leave the loco alone - at least until you are positive you can do it right.  If it were simply a matter of changing numbers, that is fairly easy, but logos and names are another thing.

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 9:46 AM

wjstix
Solvaset works much better on pad-printed lettering than on decals, with decals it will remove the color but leave the film of the decal. I use Solvaset and a rubber pencil eraser. Put on Solvaset and rub it with the eraser. When you start to feel resistance, stop and add more Solvaset. Go slowly, be patient. Eventually, the lettering will smear and then come off. You have to be careful not to do it too hard or too long or you'll get some of the underlying paint off too.

That is my approach but I use a tortillon -- also known as a blending stump, to be found an craft and artist supply stores.  It is tightly wound up paper that looks like a pencil.  Paper is lightly abrasive.  The nice thing is that if done well, the tortillon is just lightly abrasive enough to also polish the surface so that the next decal can be applied with having to apply glosscoat.

I'd find something to practice on first.  It takes a while to just "know" when you've gone far enough as regards removing lettering but not underlying paint.

Dave Nelson

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    December 2006
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Posted by tloc52 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 11:42 AM

Thank you Dave.

something new today and something I will buy. I have a single engine project I have been putting off.

Tom

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  • From: US
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Posted by EMDSD40 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 6:45 PM

I use 3M automotive scratch remover on a wooden Q-tip. Rub gently as it is technique sensitive.On black paint the process leaves a very smooth and polished surface that accepts decals well. I have done many diesels of various manufacturers with good success.  Follow up with Dullcote and your good to go.

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