After painting several freight cars recently, it was time to decal. I want to display a few of these cars at the upcoming RPM-East prototype modeler meet. I often field questions about decal application, so let’s review some tools and processes.
A couple more long term freight car projects have progressed through the decal phase. The actual builds were straightforward but the decals were lacking in parts to use for a 1926 presentation. This is one of the larger challenges when modeling the Pre-Depression Era. Many resin freight car kits do not include decals for lettering used before 1935. It’s just another part of the adventure. I’m fortunate a product is available that was instrumental in completing these cars.
After sharing the above image with other modelers, someone asked if I would be adding rivets to the model. The box car is an HO scale Tichy Train Group USRA single sheathed box car kit and apparently the end castings were tooled without rivets on the sides of the end piece to ease the production process. In the image above, note the smooth vertical strip at the very end of the car. I had heard these kit ends lacked some detail on the end castings but I was unaware of the specific nature of the issues. I had a package of Archer Resin Rivet Head decals on hand so I thought I’d put them to use.
I see quite a few questions about applying decals on discussion lists and in private emails that arrive. There is a fear of failure for many modelers in the decal application process. I know this anxiety. It had a hold of me for awhile as I believed I would mess up the job. Let’s review techniques that helped me work towards a solid final appearance.