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What does everyone use for number plates and builder's plates on scratchbuilt and kitbashed locomotives?

I've thought of using decorative brass pins (lapel pins, I believe, but miniature replicas of EBT number plates), making a bare plate out of styrene and using a decal number, or carefully cutting the numeral (#1, in my case, thankfully) out of styrene, and hand painting the background around it. If I have decals made, I thought about using decals for both plates. I also thought about trying to do an etching, but that leaves me having to design the artwork, which I am utterly incapable of doing. Now, if I could find the right software, etc....


So, I thought it would be wise to tap the collective wisdom on here. Let the ideas fly!
 

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Craft stores (Micheals) sell plastic numbers for homemade clocks. I am not sure if any are small enough for your number plate but they would save the trouble of cutting them out. Or... Vinyl number stickers could be stacked to produce more depth than just one layer.


As for painting the background behind the number... I have a model of "The General" (4-4-0 of Civil War fame) and the number plate is a shiny gold plastic. The instructions said to paint the background of the plate green and red, leaving the raised letters the gold plastic. I tried small paint brushes, and smaller paint brushes, I cut the bristles down to 1/16inch and cut all but one or two off, trying to get the drop of paint small enough to fit between the letters and to fill the middle of the letter "A" and such. NO LUCK. I was getting quite disturbed
by the tedium and total failure of the whole exercise!
I finally just painted the whole thing red and before the paint had completely dried I placed a cloth on the table with a few drops of paint thinner on it and rubbed the number plate flat on the cloth. This removed the paint from the raised letters and left the paint in the background intact with nice crisp edges between them.
 

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Hmm. Hadn't thought to look there. Haven't found anything useful in scrapbooking. Want a "12" for my annie's number plate.
 

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For number plates, I used the ones I bought from FEBT. I think they were meant to be tie tacks, but since I don't wear ties...




The only problem is that the pins aren't centered on the plate, but that's a minor detail.


The locomotives already had builder's plates so I didn't worry about that.
 

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Ken, you should also check out Trackside Details and Ozark Miniatures for their number plates.
 

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I like etching my own, and since most of the plates I need are star plates, I need too.
 
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