The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Saturday, April 20, 2013

On Using Pre-War Scale-Craft Decals


In the past year I obtained several examples of vintage Scale-Craft decals, introducing the topic about a year ago in this article. Even as I initially looked at them I thought some should still be usable, especially the last type that was produced by Walthers for Scale-Craft.

Also fitting into this story is I got interested to rebuild a pair of cars that are seen in this article. The story there is years ago I purchased an engine and some cars from David Sacks, and he sent along a photo of the engine in service but with some other cars on his layout. Those cars ended up in storage for many years in an unfavorable location but eventually those cars also made their way to Arizona as a donation to the OO SIG. They caught my interest, I had a connection through that photo, and they were saved. But really were not in very good shape, as the photos there show.

The Lionel boxcar I stripped and re-lettered in a PRR lettering scheme that would be an accurate one for the car (one of several) but different than the scheme Lionel used. But the gray wood boxcar would need a bit heavier rebuild. I got going on it slowly and decided to not get real heroic, just make it into a clean car.

The original decals were flaking off badly, and the car overall looked kind of terrible. In flaking off the decals I could see there was ANOTHER set of decals under the gray paint, the car had been boxcar red originally. It had no proper frame either and the roof ribs were pretty terrible in a way, as they are cut down O scale roof ribs I believe.

But again, I decided not to be too aggressive. I put on new wood doors (made from plastic) and a Nason frame on it, cleaned off the old decals and attempted to restore the sides. When painted again it came out looking rather nice in a vintage way, but I had to decide on decals.

In the first photo is seen the finished project. I found a very similar B&M paint scheme on a similar car online, and it came out pretty well.

The decals are from the set seen in the second photo. These were chosen as among the Walthers era sets I have it was in probably the worst shape. The B&M decals all worked fairly well but required a LONG soaking time of close to 15 minutes to let go. The reporting marks also required a long soaking time and half of them fell apart before I could get them on the car. They also required quite a bit of decal setting solution to get them to snuggle down, but they did, as seen in the photos, snuggle down -- mostly. Modern decals would have done better, but they came out pretty well all things considered.

I was excited that I could actually use the old set and the car, while not perfect, has a nice vintage look, and a much better vintage look than when it came to me after the years of poor storage.

Since I mentioned the PRR boxcar that was also part of this project, to close here is that car as well. That car also had a very heavy/peeling paint job and flaking decals. It had actually been painted twice by Sacks, the sides at one point were painted yellow and then he painted over the entire car with boxcar red. I stripped it off as well as I could and the car looks very nice running in a train, makes one wish that Lionel had offered a few more paint schemes on that car....

See this article for more general tips on using vintage decals. 

1 comment:

Woody said...

I remember reading that old decals can be saved by spraying them with Dullcote and then applying them as your ordinarily would.

I have never seen a OO gauge model but enjoy your blog never the less.

Cheers - Woody elmore, Bayville NY