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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

News! Tichy decals available in 1/76 scale

I have decaled a lot of models over the years. Big picture, mostly I have used Champion decals, initially purchased from them directly before they went out of business, and later a good stock was obtained in a couple lot purchases. I also have some vintage Walthers and Scale-Craft decals. Of the three, Champ decals work well but the Walthers and S-C ones tend to look maybe a little better on OO cars, the lettering is a bit “heavier” and closer to OO (Walthers was the actual manufacturer of late S-C decals, more here).

But vintage decals are not easy to work with. They tend to take LONG soaking times and then be both a bit fragile and at the same time difficult to get to snuggle down well. Kind of depends on the car but generally I had taken to using Microscale HO decals. They work fine but the lettering is a little small/fine. Even making use of those, some models had me stuck, I could not find decals that would work well, especially this Picard covered hopper. It was completed more than a year and a half ago! (More here).

Then recently it was posted on the Facebook American OO Scale Railroading group that Tichy would supply their decals scaled to American OO. These are a game changer!

Their decals are applied a little differently than others I have used. I followed their directions exactly (found in the printed version of the decal catalog, included with my order) and used Solvaset as recommended. On some vintage decals Solvaset is dangerous, they break apart, so I normally use more gentle Microscale products. In this case, the Tichy decals went on beautifully with Solvaset! No bubbles to poke, on perfectly the first time. That alone is a huge time saver. I probably need to adjust my normal way of applying decals.

This second photo shows the comparison of the Tichy OO set to vintage Champion HO. I am very excited about the OO sets. The two tank cars seen in this article were both sitting around ready to decal for more than six months, I just was not enthused about the decals I had that I could use. Also noting that the Tichy decal sets came with multiple numbers, it will be easy to letter a fleet of UTLX tank cars (which I would like to do).

They have a large line of decals. The website listings seemed small at first, but do some searches and the size of the line will become apparent. They sell a lot of decals suited to OO models (especially roads in the eastern half of the USA), and print them on demand. I also purchased in my first order several sets of PFE reefer decals I will try as soon as I get some cars painted.

The way to buy them is to contact the owner via the contact page in their website. He will quote you the price (a bit higher than HO decals would be, and there is a minimum order) and I found the service to be quite quick. Website:

Again, for me, these are a game changer and do check them out. Even if you are a Lionel collector there are decals that closely match those seen on Lionel cars, you can do some very interesting (and prototypically accurate) restorations with these decals.

[Adding the note that, in spite of the April 1 date of the post, it is not April Fool's, these are a real product!]