Re: decals

soolinehistory <destorzek@...>

--- In STMFC@..., "Schuyler Larrabee" <schuyler.larrabee@...> wrote:

The lettering for early motive power for the Chesapeake System (the
fictional railroad at the North Shore Model Railroad Club, which mostly
hauls freight cars, often with steam locomotives in our "Classic Era"
sessions) was lettered with Champ individual name decals. I called Champ,
and got Rich Meyer on the phone, and asked him for the name of the typeface
he used for those words. He blurted it out, and immediately said "Well,
it's BASED on that font, but it isn't it." He then went on at some extreme
length about how he didn't want me to go looking for that font and it
wouldn't do for me to spread it around, blah, blah, blah, to the degree that
I was convinced that he'd let the feline out of the reticule.

Do I remember? Of course not!

Very likely Clarendon, or perhaps Craw Modern, both of which were very useful substitutes for "Railroad Roman" back in the day.

Therein lies the problem... All the lettering had to be hand drawn, to scale but many times oversize, photo reduced, pasted up in composition, then photo reduced yet again. Most of the time there were no drawings of the lettering available (lettering diagrams don't count, because they don't accurately represent the actual letter-forms). Often times the roadname and heralds were generated from photos by projecting them on paper and tracing them. All the effort went into the roadname, numbers, and herald, and it was easy to justify just having the "little stuff" typeset with a standard typeface. Even then, the dimensional data often had to be cut apart and repositioned, because the photo compositors were designed to provide kerning for the printed page, not freightcar stenciling. I remember the first time Ken Soroos, the guy who has been the guiding light of the Soo Line Hist. & Tech Society limited run cars for over thirty years now, used dimensional data he had generated totally from photos of the actual lettering, and how good it looked, but also how much work it had been to get to that point.

And, all of this adds up to why there were no takers for the Champ Decal line... the art is very dated, and has no value if its source can't be documented.


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