Topics

Speaking of decals


Scott H. Haycock
 

Does anyone have any knowledge of the quality of this company's decals? I'm looking specifically at this set:   https://modernrails.com/products?keywords=georgia%2C+florida+%26+alabama .

Thanks

Scott Haycock


Tim O'Connor
 


All decals should be compared to good photos! Even a lazy vendor sometimes gets them right
or perhaps partly right. I once tried to DOCUMENT my older decals including all of the small
bits in each set and I found a few real gems, a lot of not so good, and plenty of "you've got
to be kidding me!" I gave up after a while because it was so time consuming. :-(

Tim O'Connor



On 4/15/2020 9:07 AM, Scott H. Haycock wrote:
Does anyone have any knowledge of the quality of this company's decals? I'm looking specifically at this set:   https://modernrails.com/products?keywords=georgia%2C+florida+%26+alabama .

Thanks

Scott Haycock

--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Bob Webber
 

More importantly, they should include context.

If they do a decal "as built", that should be stated.  Far too many photos have NO context.  No idea of date, location, etc. which makes lettering more of a crap shoot.  Is that a photo of a one off car?  A car repaired after collision?  A car modified for a specific service?  a car modified for a specific event?  There are many issues with taking any information from a photo - without context, you simply don't know.  It is good for that car on that date. 

Even multiple photos of multiple cars in a series.  The information is simply good for that or those cars.  Extrapolating that if it's good for 2, it must be good for 10 is not any more correct than thinking if you see 1 photo, it's good for all cars.

Even builders' photos & drawings have to be within context.  Drawings typically show exceptions or differences in specific lettering.  Some lettering on cars were added after delivery. 

This is one of the more entertaining issues with model paint discussions.   More cars had specific instructions that indicated 5-10 paint specifications than didn't.  That is to say, the instructions specifically state 5 - 10 different paint manufacturers to be used for specific ranges or quantities of cars.  The actual "color" specified was often different, though they would often state the manuf. number, they would often simply state "freight car" color. Sometimes, they'd provide a drift card or other sample.  But...anyone thinking paint is paint and color is color hasn't tried to match colors across manuf. lines.  I hear enough about the differences between Scalecoat, Floquil, Tamiya, etc. - scale that up and the differences can be just as absolute.

Lettering is often the same.  On passenger equipment, there was a LOT of hand painting, even with stencils and such.  Those little black outlines were painted by hand.  Decals can't match it exactly. 

The best you can do is state context and origin of information.  But...consider - if they didn't take it from a photo, where did they get it?  Drawing? - likely correct - for as built or modified.  Diagram - so many diagrams are so wrong that this is a crap shoot.  Other decals - propagating mistakes is very possible.  Existing models? Ditto.  Most already DO look at photos, but too many extrapolate.  FAR too many photographers take photos of unique instances.  Why take that, it's normal, and standard?  That has changed a lot in the past few years, but it is something to consider when stating "compare to photos".

At 10:05 AM 4/15/2020, Tim O'Connor wrote:

All decals should be compared to good photos!

Bob Webber


Richard Brennan
 

At 08:05 AM 4/15/2020, Tim O'Connor wrote:
All decals should be compared to good photos! Even a lazy vendor sometimes gets them right
or perhaps partly right. I once tried to DOCUMENT my older decals including all of the small
bits in each set and I found a few real gems, a lot of not so good, and plenty of "you've got
to be kidding me!" I gave up after a while because it was so time consuming.
Tim has captured the issue:
- You can make a decal set that is exactly correct for ONE car...
- You can make a set that is relatively correct for a number of cars...
- You can put together a herald and some letters/numbers and call it a decal

...and if you really want to find the 'howlers';
Get out your magnifying glass and read the re-weigh data and other fine print (if it exists) on your pad-printed RTR cars!!!


Richard
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Richard Brennan - TT-west
----------------------------------------------------------------------------


O Fenton Wells
 

By the way has anyone used the K4 decals out of Dayton OH. I stumbled across them on eBay and ordered about 10 different sets.  They have some nice C&NJ, ACL( a surprising variety of ACL) and others including some interesting private tank cars that I needed for future projects.  I haven't use them yet but they are pretty crisply printed and look good on paper.  I'll et you know when I do the ACL or C&NJ cars coming up in my build shop. 
If anyone has used them let me know what you think
Fenton

On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 12:21 PM Richard Brennan <rbrennan@...> wrote:
At 08:05 AM 4/15/2020, Tim O'Connor wrote:
>All decals should be compared to good photos! Even a lazy vendor
>sometimes gets them right
>or perhaps partly right. I once tried to DOCUMENT my older decals
>including all of the small
>bits in each set and I found a few real gems, a lot of not so good,
>and plenty of "you've got
>to be kidding me!" I gave up after a while because it was so time consuming.

Tim has captured the issue:
- You can make a decal set that is exactly correct for ONE car...
- You can make a set that is relatively correct for a number of cars...
- You can put together a herald and some letters/numbers and call it a decal

...and if you really want to find the 'howlers';
Get out your magnifying glass and read the re-weigh data and other
fine print (if it exists) on your pad-printed RTR cars!!!


Richard
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Richard Brennan - TT-west
----------------------------------------------------------------------------






--
Fenton Wells
250 Frye Rd
Pinehurst NC 28374
910-420-8106
srrfan1401@...


Gary Bechdol
 

Fenton:  

I ordered several sets of ACL steam locomotive decals from K4.  I had twp locomotive professionally painted, but when the painter applied the white decals, the printing was so thin that the decal did not show up on the black locomotives.  Even doubling up the decals did not help.  Maybe I had an early set, but before you try decaling a car, do a test first on a piece of scrap using the paint color you are applying to the car.

Gary Bechdol
Stone Mountain, GA

On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 12:30 PM O Fenton Wells <srrfan1401@...> wrote:
By the way has anyone used the K4 decals out of Dayton OH. I stumbled across them on eBay and ordered about 10 different sets.  They have some nice C&NJ, ACL( a surprising variety of ACL) and others including some interesting private tank cars that I needed for future projects.  I haven't use them yet but they are pretty crisply printed and look good on paper.  I'll et you know when I do the ACL or C&NJ cars coming up in my build shop. 
If anyone has used them let me know what you think
Fenton

On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 12:21 PM Richard Brennan <rbrennan@...> wrote:
At 08:05 AM 4/15/2020, Tim O'Connor wrote:
>All decals should be compared to good photos! Even a lazy vendor
>sometimes gets them right
>or perhaps partly right. I once tried to DOCUMENT my older decals
>including all of the small
>bits in each set and I found a few real gems, a lot of not so good,
>and plenty of "you've got
>to be kidding me!" I gave up after a while because it was so time consuming.

Tim has captured the issue:
- You can make a decal set that is exactly correct for ONE car...
- You can make a set that is relatively correct for a number of cars...
- You can put together a herald and some letters/numbers and call it a decal

...and if you really want to find the 'howlers';
Get out your magnifying glass and read the re-weigh data and other
fine print (if it exists) on your pad-printed RTR cars!!!


Richard
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Richard Brennan - TT-west
----------------------------------------------------------------------------






--
Fenton Wells
250 Frye Rd
Pinehurst NC 28374
910-420-8106
srrfan1401@...


O Fenton Wells
 

Thanks for the heads up Gary, good to know
Fenton

On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 1:51 PM Gary Bechdol <garyeb1947@...> wrote:
Fenton:  

I ordered several sets of ACL steam locomotive decals from K4.  I had twp locomotive professionally painted, but when the painter applied the white decals, the printing was so thin that the decal did not show up on the black locomotives.  Even doubling up the decals did not help.  Maybe I had an early set, but before you try decaling a car, do a test first on a piece of scrap using the paint color you are applying to the car.

Gary Bechdol
Stone Mountain, GA

On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 12:30 PM O Fenton Wells <srrfan1401@...> wrote:
By the way has anyone used the K4 decals out of Dayton OH. I stumbled across them on eBay and ordered about 10 different sets.  They have some nice C&NJ, ACL( a surprising variety of ACL) and others including some interesting private tank cars that I needed for future projects.  I haven't use them yet but they are pretty crisply printed and look good on paper.  I'll et you know when I do the ACL or C&NJ cars coming up in my build shop. 
If anyone has used them let me know what you think
Fenton

On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 12:21 PM Richard Brennan <rbrennan@...> wrote:
At 08:05 AM 4/15/2020, Tim O'Connor wrote:
>All decals should be compared to good photos! Even a lazy vendor
>sometimes gets them right
>or perhaps partly right. I once tried to DOCUMENT my older decals
>including all of the small
>bits in each set and I found a few real gems, a lot of not so good,
>and plenty of "you've got
>to be kidding me!" I gave up after a while because it was so time consuming.

Tim has captured the issue:
- You can make a decal set that is exactly correct for ONE car...
- You can make a set that is relatively correct for a number of cars...
- You can put together a herald and some letters/numbers and call it a decal

...and if you really want to find the 'howlers';
Get out your magnifying glass and read the re-weigh data and other
fine print (if it exists) on your pad-printed RTR cars!!!


Richard
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Richard Brennan - TT-west
----------------------------------------------------------------------------






--
Fenton Wells
250 Frye Rd
Pinehurst NC 28374
910-420-8106
srrfan1401@...



--
Fenton Wells
250 Frye Rd
Pinehurst NC 28374
910-420-8106
srrfan1401@...


Craig Wilson
 

Fenton ... I have purchased a few of the K4 decal sets and applied a few.  I bought samples to study their accuracy to prototypes for which I have studied/collected data (specifically DT&I and Ann Arbor RR).  A lot of what I found is quite accurate with regard to sizes and specific lettering (data, reweighs, etc.) but not everything.  For example, on the Ann Arbor caboose set the compass herald is oversize making it unusable for the cabooses.  But the compass size makes it correct for using on the DT&I boxcars that were assigned to the AA (in a timeframe beyond the scope of this list) and partially repainted with AA heralds and reporting marks.

Not knowing the thought process or planning that went into the production of certain sets, I can't help but ask "what were you thinking?"  Another example:  I bought one of the Ann Arbor FA-2/RS-1 sets to see if the numbers could be used to renumber the Rapido AA FA-2 models (size, color, etc.).  They look suitable for this task BUT there is no "4" in the number jumble (the AA units were 50-50A through 56-56A).  Again ... "what were you thinking?"

On the positive side, the K4 decals are offered in an amazing range of scales (from G to Z).  So it is possible to get obtain things like heralds in different sizes needed for other freight cars.  I'm attaching a photo of a DT&I flatcar that needed a tiny compass herald with the "Connections" slogan.  The N-scale K4 set for DT&I gondolas with coil hoods provided the correct size for the HO model shown.  Need a large herald for the side of a water tank or shop building?  Look at the O-scale or G-scale version of the K4 decal.

Application:  the K4 decals are well printed and have nice thin film.  I ran into no issues applying them like any other decal.

Bottom line:  an extensive decal line that is worth looking at.  I found it best to purchase one set to examine the sizes and determine how it can best be used.  If judged useful, I go back and make a second order.  As always, YMMV.

Craig Wilson


O Fenton Wells
 

Thanks Craig, appreciate that.  The decals on your flat car look very nice as does the car.  Who's tractors did you use for the load?


On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 3:28 PM Craig Wilson <agecompanyphotog@...> wrote:
Fenton ... I have purchased a few of the K4 decal sets and applied a few.  I bought samples to study their accuracy to prototypes for which I have studied/collected data (specifically DT&I and Ann Arbor RR).  A lot of what I found is quite accurate with regard to sizes and specific lettering (data, reweighs, etc.) but not everything.  For example, on the Ann Arbor caboose set the compass herald is oversize making it unusable for the cabooses.  But the compass size makes it correct for using on the DT&I boxcars that were assigned to the AA (in a timeframe beyond the scope of this list) and partially repainted with AA heralds and reporting marks.

Not knowing the thought process or planning that went into the production of certain sets, I can't help but ask "what were you thinking?"  Another example:  I bought one of the Ann Arbor FA-2/RS-1 sets to see if the numbers could be used to renumber the Rapido AA FA-2 models (size, color, etc.).  They look suitable for this task BUT there is no "4" in the number jumble (the AA units were 50-50A through 56-56A).  Again ... "what were you thinking?"

On the positive side, the K4 decals are offered in an amazing range of scales (from G to Z).  So it is possible to get obtain things like heralds in different sizes needed for other freight cars.  I'm attaching a photo of a DT&I flatcar that needed a tiny compass herald with the "Connections" slogan.  The N-scale K4 set for DT&I gondolas with coil hoods provided the correct size for the HO model shown.  Need a large herald for the side of a water tank or shop building?  Look at the O-scale or G-scale version of the K4 decal.

Application:  the K4 decals are well printed and have nice thin film.  I ran into no issues applying them like any other decal.

Bottom line:  an extensive decal line that is worth looking at.  I found it best to purchase one set to examine the sizes and determine how it can best be used.  If judged useful, I go back and make a second order.  As always, YMMV.

Craig Wilson



--
Fenton Wells
250 Frye Rd
Pinehurst NC 28374
910-420-8106
srrfan1401@...


Craig Wilson
 

Bob Schleicher (Model Ralroading/RailModel Journal) was very fond of a photo of the prototype DT&I car with a load of Ford tractors and used it often for his "Wish List" articles.  One day I got a Walthers flier that had a drawing of a WIKING tractor that looked an awful like those same tractors.  I went online to order them but found that they were "out of stock - backorder."  Normally I don't play that game but since I needed 10 for the load and this was my chance to save some money on them, I bit the bullet and submitted the order.  It took a few months to get them but they finally showed up.

These were undecorated gray models and easily disassembled so that I could paint them red/gray/black.  I mounted them on a 70-ton flatcar kitbashed from two Athearn models (the top car in the photo).  What I didn't know at the time, the Wiking models are actually Ferguson tractors, not Fords.  The only real difference is that the exhaust pipe on the Canadian-built Fergusons is mounted vertically, while on the Fords it runs horizontally along the frame.  Other than I knew that when I took the model to an RPM meet I'd hear "You know those are Fergusons, not Fords" the real problem was that those delicate exhaust pipes broke off every time I handled the car.  When Intermountain came out with their 70-ton flatcar I decided to redo the load.  I modified the tractors by moving the exhaust pipes along the frame thus solving both problems.

Even by getting a "sale price" on the Wiking tractors, it was a pretty expensive load (I used to refer to the original version as my "$90 load on a $10 flatcar") but I was only making one of them.

Craig Wilson



Rick Jesionowski
 

I used a set of the K4 decals, I was dissatisfied with the white decals as they were not as opaque as Microscale or others, the black decals were okay.

Rick Jesionowski


Jim King
 

I think “not opaque enough” is a common complaint about ALPS printed decals if you want to model a new(-ish) paint.  For faded and/or weathered lettering, I’ve heard (and experienced) that ALPS works OK.  Buyer beware, as usual.

 

Jim King

http://smokymountainmodelworks.com/

 


Jim Ogden
 

I hate to say this but Ford sold an aftermarket kit to modify the exhaust on 8N tractors to where it resembled the as built Ferguson. The stock exhaust interfered with some implements.

Jim Ogden

Owner of two 8N Fords


Bob Chapman
 

Re K4 decals --

I recently ordered four boxcar sets, and was amazed to see them in my mailbox in three days. They catalog a huge variety of roadnames, including some real oddballs most of us would not have on our shopping list. Very tempting to come up with projects that might use a few of them.

Based on experience so far, I'd rate them as very good. Things seem to be the right size and font. Not up to thoroughness standard of Speedwitch's (but how many are?!). The film is reasonably thin. 

When it comes time to order decals for the next round of projects, they will be high on my consider list. 

Bob Chapman


O Fenton Wells
 

Thanks Craig, I believe a few of us have that tee shirt too.


On Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 4:29 PM Craig Wilson <agecompanyphotog@...> wrote:
Bob Schleicher (Model Ralroading/RailModel Journal) was very fond of a photo of the prototype DT&I car with a load of Ford tractors and used it often for his "Wish List" articles.  One day I got a Walthers flier that had a drawing of a WIKING tractor that looked an awful like those same tractors.  I went online to order them but found that they were "out of stock - backorder."  Normally I don't play that game but since I needed 10 for the load and this was my chance to save some money on them, I bit the bullet and submitted the order.  It took a few months to get them but they finally showed up.

These were undecorated gray models and easily disassembled so that I could paint them red/gray/black.  I mounted them on a 70-ton flatcar kitbashed from two Athearn models (the top car in the photo).  What I didn't know at the time, the Wiking models are actually Ferguson tractors, not Fords.  The only real difference is that the exhaust pipe on the Canadian-built Fergusons is mounted vertically, while on the Fords it runs horizontally along the frame.  Other than I knew that when I took the model to an RPM meet I'd hear "You know those are Fergusons, not Fords" the real problem was that those delicate exhaust pipes broke off every time I handled the car.  When Intermountain came out with their 70-ton flatcar I decided to redo the load.  I modified the tractors by moving the exhaust pipes along the frame thus solving both problems.

Even by getting a "sale price" on the Wiking tractors, it was a pretty expensive load (I used to refer to the original version as my "$90 load on a $10 flatcar") but I was only making one of them.

Craig Wilson




--
Fenton Wells
250 Frye Rd
Pinehurst NC 28374
910-420-8106
srrfan1401@...


Rob & Bev Manley
 

Scott,
There is a tab of customer reviews that you can read. judging from his image as seen on my laptop the dimensional data looks quite readable. I like the custom decal option. Maybe I'll produce the C&S/CB&Q set I need for my USRA 2 Bay Hoppers through him. I like the additional new colors.

Rob Manley
"Better modeling through personal embarrassment"


On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 08:08:04 AM CDT, Scott H. Haycock <shhaycock@...> wrote:


Does anyone have any knowledge of the quality of this company's decals? I'm looking specifically at this set:   https://modernrails.com/products?keywords=georgia%2C+florida+%26+alabama .

Thanks

Scott Haycock


 

I've always liked this photo. utility tractors on one end and row crop on the other. A fair difference in height between the two versions.

Martin put this photo in the sheet for his tractor load too. But his were Farmall H row crop. It would be fun to do the H utility version.

Dan Smith


Donald B. Valentine
 

   Well, I'm not going to post a color photo of me sitting with my father on the new Ford 8N bought in the
spring of 1949 but the tractors on the DT&I flat posted earlier looked a lot more like the succeeding Ford
"Jubilee" model than an 8N. I looked for an 8N myself in late 1978 and ended up buying a Massey-Ferguson
35 Deluxe instead. Ten years newer, oversize tires and rims and, more importantly, a dual range transmission
with Multi-Drive AND a live power take-off, which was the major drawback of an 8N, all for less than any 
reasonable 8N could be found. The 8N seems to have developed a bunch of cult worshipers and I wanted 
a working tractor! Still have the Massey-Ferguson and have never regretted purchasing it even though I'd 
rather have had one with a Perkins Diesel than the Continental gas motor. IIRC the Ferguson that first 
competed with Ford after the Harry & Henry team split was a TO-30 and the paint was a bit darker gray 
than what was used on the Fords. Have just spoken with my childhood neighbor whose parents were
partners with my parents on a corn harvester and who at 83 has a few years on me and he has confirmed
my memory of the model and color difference between the Ford and the Ferguson in those early years. He 
has also reminded me that either could be had with the exhaust beneath the left-hand running board or in a 
vertical position. The only piece of farm machinery I can think of that the position beneath the running board 
might interfere with is a belly mounted mower, my preferred type of sickle bar mower.

Just an old hayshaker, Don Valentine


Tim O'Connor
 

I found this to be true of the Kadee "laser sharp" decals - The white is translucent.
It's a shame because 99.9% of their lettering is perfect.

On 4/15/2020 1:50 PM, Gary Bechdol wrote:
Fenton:

I ordered several sets of ACL steam locomotive decals from K4.  I had twp locomotive professionally painted, but when the painter applied the white decals, the printing was so thin that the decal did not show up on the black locomotives.  Even doubling up the decals did not help. Maybe I had an early set, but before you try decaling a car, do a test first on a piece of scrap using the paint color you are applying to the car.

Gary Bechdol
Stone Mountain, GA
--
*Tim O'Connor*
*Sterling, Massachusetts*