Re: Chalk marks

Richard Hendrickson

On Feb 22, 2007, at 8:21 AM, Barry Roth wrote:

And also, what is a source for decals/dry transfers of them? (I presume dry transfers are preferable because they can be applied over weathering.)
For many years I've applied chalk markings on freight car models in what I believe is the quickest, easiest, and most realistic fashion by using a very sharp white Prismacolor artist's pencil, readily available at any art supply store. Look at photos of steam era freight cars to see what kind of markings were put on them and then just copy them. I supplied the data for the Clover House transfers, which are all based on photos. However, the problem I have with dry transfers, decals, and pens is that the chalk marks are too opaque and sharp-edged; the real ones were softer and a bit fuzzy, which is exactly the effect produced by a white pencil.

Also, don't forget destination cards, which were stapled onto the destination card boards (or, on wood sheathed cars, just about anywhere the car clerks chose to put them, though usually on the doors). These were small white cardboard tags with destinations either printed or written on them. The printing doesn't have to be there in HO scale; in photos, it's hardly ever visible. But the cards were on every car in a train, showing where it was going (even on empties). Old cards were often on cars in yards, as well, and sometimes on cars enroute though they were supposed to be removed when a new card was attached. These cards are easily modeled with small square bits of white decal.

Cars ready for loading often had cleaning cards indicating that they had been cleaned and what kind of cargo they were suitable for. Microscale decal set 87-975 includes a variety of these cleaning cards, as well as a full range of steam era warning placards for dangerous loads and various special instruction placards (DO NOT HUMP, UNLOAD THIS SIDE, FRAGILE, etc.) Most cars didn't have warning or special instruction placards, but having them on a few of your models adds realism.

Richard Hendrickson

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