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Senior Dish Washer
3,203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

Since purchasing my LGB 2-4-0 Santa Fe Steam Engine, I have wanted to re-letter it for the Baltimore & Ohio Rail Road. Being from Northern West Virginia, the B&O was the railroad I new. My grandfather and uncle both worked for the B&O.

The first thing I did was to determine what color and style I wanted the lettering. While some B&O tenders had gold lettering, some also used white. I choose white for the contrast and because I wanted the lettering on the tender to match the numerals on the cab and boiler.

I decided to use automotive brake fluid to remove the lettering in place of sand paper or other abrasive methods. I laid the tender on it's side on a newspaper. I then used a Q-tip to position the brake fluid just around the letters. After letting the brake fliuid set for about 30 minutes, I took the q-tip and started scrubbing the letters. It seemed like the outer surface of the white letters was harder than the rest. After scrubbing some the brake fluid would get milky and it didn't seem like the white paint was coming off. So I used a paper towel to wipe up the used brake fluid and applied new brake fluid to the area. With a new q-tip, the white paint would start coming off much quicker. Once all the white lettering was removed, I used a wet paper towl with a small amount of dish liquid to clean the brake fluid off. Then I used a clean wet paper towel to wash the soap off. Finally I used a clean dry paper towel to dry the area. I did all this without takeing the tender body off the frame. Doing so, I had to be very carefull not to let brake fluid or water get inside the tender, cab or boiler as this might damage the electronics or speaker.

After everything had dried, the black painted area was stained from the brake fluid and although the white paint of the lettering was completely gone, you could still see the imprint of the lettering. The area was smooth when you rubbed your finger over the area. I believe this is caused by the lettering being heat stamped.

In order to prepare the stained areas before applying the vinyl lettering, I went out and bought a spay can of Krylon Flat Black. None of the fancy types of Krylon, just the standard Krylon spay paint. Mine can does have the new wide mist spray nozzle, which from experience years ago when another company used these type nozzles, make sure you turn the can upside down and press the button a coupkle seconds to clear the paint out of the nozzle or else it will easily clog. As for the Krylon Flat Black paint, it was a 95% match to the paint on the LGB 2-4-0.

Original Santa Fe lettering

Relettered to the Baltimore and Ohio RailRoad

My Baltimore and Ohio Train. The hopper is a re-letterd MDC Erie 2 bay Hopper and the caboose is an Aristo Craft Bobber

I used polishing compound to remove the lettering on the hopper body as it was unpainted black plastic. But, just like the LGB loco above, you can still see the lettering of the ERIE RR even though the white paint is all gone.

My re-lettered MDC 2 Bay Coal Hopper

Before and after cars. The B&O Hopper was originally a ERIE RR Hopper.

I choose to use vinyl lettering from G-Scale Graphics in leu of decals for one big reason. You have to spray the piece with gloss paint for the decals to stick properly. Then you have to purchase a setting solution to help the decals to set properly. Then you have to spay a coat of clear over the decals to seal them. I guess I'm lazy but listening to others about the problems they had with tearing the decals and having them more after they thought they were positioned, led me to the vinyl lettering.The vinyl lettering didn't take 15 minutes to install on the Locmotive and Hopper combined. The vinyl is very thing and you can barely feel the edge. Also, If I wanted I could spray the letters with a clear sealer coat which I may or may not do.

In the end, I am very happy with the end result.

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