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Thread: HO Scale Water Slide Transfers???

  1. #1
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    Default HO Scale Water Slide Transfers???

    Hi everyone,

    So I've landed a wrecked Rivarossi Bigboy I am using as a parts donor to re-assemble a model I had received damaged in the mail some time ago. The parts donor seemed to have been made into some sort of logging mallet by the previous owner. The headlight is all wrong for a Bigboy and the cab as a number of #26. Strange to say the least. I want to restore a proper set of numbers for a Bigboy. Are these correct for the model in question? http://www.microscale.com/Merchant2/...tegory_Code=UP

    I'm looking for either 4023 or 4014 numbers. I'd prefer the numbers to be one complete water slide transfer rather than fussing with individual numbers and spacing them.

    I know nothing about water slide or rub down transfers. So someone please enlighten me if you can?

    Robert

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    New England
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    Water slide decals and dry transfer (rub-down) lettering are two rather different application methods, both with their own peculiarities.

    Water slide decals are probably the easiest to apply. Trim as close as practical to the lettering/logo and dip in water until the lettering, which is on a thin sheet of clear material, starts to loosen and slide off of the paper backing. Longer decals tend to curl up at first -- keep them more or less from curling onto themselves. As they relax and flatten, that's the indication that the decal itself is getting ready to slide off the backing. Then take it to the model and completely slide it off the backing onto the surface. Using tweezers or a suitable tool, move it gently into position; the residual water will help you move it around. Then wick away the water slowly so that it settles into place. For a short time, you can add water to re-position, but there's not a lot of time once it starts to adhere.

    The trick is to get it settled carefully with no wrinkles or air bubbles. Any surface detail tends to cause air pockets to form. There are "decal set" products which will soften the decal material so that it clings to surface details and imperfections -- use carefully ore they'll "melt" the decal.

    Once it's adhered and set, you'll probably notice some sheen around the lettering because of the decal material; that can be minimized with a light clear satin/dull-coat on the model. Thinner decals leave less sheen, but they're harder to work with. Thicker decals don't wrinkle as easily, but they don't form as well around surface detail, and the sheen of the decal material is harder to hide.

    Dry transfer lettering has the advantage that once it's applied, it looks like individually painted letters. There's no decal material to try to hide. But depending on the size and the surface, it can be trickier to apply. the transfer is placed on the model, and then the letters are carefully rubbed with a burnishing tool so that they stick to the model and leave the semi-transparent backing material. Keeping the backing positioned is critical, since it's what maintains the alignment of the letters. Any surface detail has to be worked around carefully so that the lettering transfers, but the backing doesn't get torn or damaged without letting the lettering transfer in the process.

    Once the lettering is down, it's possible to carefully fill in imperfections with matching paint. Dry transfer lettering is vulnerable to damage, so it's usually best to seal it down with a light clear coating, much like with decals.

    In either case, sometimes it's hard to get the results you want with surface rivet detail and other textures in the way. Careful sanding/smoothing may be in order to get the results you want.

    Unless you can find a decal set for a particular prototypical locomotive with complete numbers, a lot of times you'll have to cut individual ones out of a "number jungle" sheet. Decals make it easier to keep spacing than dry transfer here -- because you can cut out individual numbers, and trim them to have just enough extra decal material on the sides to create the spacing. Apply one at a time, gently butt the edges up as you go, and they'll look like one continuous strip. Not too hard, once you get the hang of it.

    It's been a long time since I've done this kind of work -- I used to work in O scale, and probably will again once I get moved to a place where I can set up trains again. Even in larger scales, a magnifier of some sort really helps, especially as the eyes get older. I doubt I could do it at all without one now.


    MSTS-Roundhouse

    On hiatus and moving to a new host -- Probably in 2021
    (Because 2020 has turned out to be b0rked beyond belief...
    )

  3. #3
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    Aug 2007
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    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the detailed information.

    Just the sort of stuff I was looking for.

    My issue right now is finding a decal set with the smaller numbers seen on the Big Boy cab sides under the road number.

    Maybe I am missing something? But I've not found any decal sets with that cab detail on them.

    Eric,

    Any ideas on how to do these number details below the road number?

    https://www.hupspring.com/2014/04/vi...-big-boy-4014/

    Robert

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Metairie, Louisiana
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    Question

    Robert,

    This is the decal set you want to use.

    http://www.microscale.com/Merchant2/...tegory_Code=UP

    It includes all the numbers you need.

    What might help is some Microsol and Microset decal solutions. Both are decal setting solutions, but Microset is used for relativity flat surfaces, while Mircosol helps decals stretch to fit deep surface details.

    Regardless of the solution you use, you apply those after you've placed the decal.

    Parker B. - A Misplaced Midwesterner.
    Also known as Mr. Two Bits and Mr. Squarewheels.

  5. #5

    Default

    There might be another option... creating your own lettering with a Cricut.

    I haven't done it yet, but it's something I'm considering for a couple display cars. It would work similar to dry transfer, but admittedly the vinyl used is of a thicker gauge than most would want (0.3mm is the thinnest I've seen).

    The advantage is that you get to work out the spacing and size, and do it all at once, and the same fonts we use for our V scale models can be used on a Cricut.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD40-2 View Post
    Robert,

    This is the decal set you want to use.

    http://www.microscale.com/Merchant2/...tegory_Code=UP

    It includes all the numbers you need.

    What might help is some Microsol and Microset decal solutions. Both are decal setting solutions, but Microset is used for relativity flat surfaces, while Mircosol helps decals stretch to fit deep surface details.

    Regardless of the solution you use, you apply those after you've placed the decal.
    Hi Parker,

    Thanks for the decal reference.

    I went to order them, but the site says I need a minimum of $20 before S&H.

    I hate that!

    Gotta buy more than what I need and something else I'm pretty sure I will never use.

    The Big boy numbers are most likely good for the Challengers as well?

    What would be a good decal set to get for the UP water tenders?

    Or maybe the gas turbine locomotives of the 1950's?

    Robert

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
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    Somewhere on the NYC Water Level Route
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    Default

    Robert,

    I found this decal set for the water tenders 809 and 814.

    https://circusdecals.ecwid.com/Union...4014-p35064005

    It also has a few decals for 4014 included in the set as well.
    "After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years, throw it away and start all over." - Alfred E. Perlman

  8. #8
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    Oops,

    I should have been more clear.

    I specifically mean the water tenders in pre-rebuilt condition when they looked like Ex-turbine fuel tenders.

    Robert

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