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'Cheats' Lining & Lettering


MikeOxon

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I have mentioned before that the attractions of the pre-grouping period include the elaborate and colourful liveries. These also, however, present a challenge to the modeller in achieving these effects on a small scale.

 

Many years ago, while recuperating from a bout of pneumonia, I built a rake of Ratio 4-wheelers. Looking at these now, I am somewhat amazed to see the patience with which I tackled their painting! 30 years later, natural 'weathering' has given them a 'used' appearance, and I quite like the appearance of the dust on windows and footboards!

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The Ratio sides have good relief detail, which I exploited when applying the lining. A steady hand and fine brush were all that was needed to apply black to the raised moulding lines. These coaches, however, also had a thin gold line within the edges of the panels and realising this feature was much more difficult! Eventually, I found a technique that, I think, worked rather well.

 

After completing the main painting, using enamels, I made up a dilute water-based gold paint. (at the time, I used Rowney Poster Paint). I found that surface tension caused the water to accumulate in the recessed edges of the panels, and so deposit a fine line of gold particles in these areas. After drying, it was simply a matter of removing any stray particles with q-tips and a fine dry brush. This method laid down just enough gold to provide the necessary highlight, without being too prominent. I find some model lining is far too dominant, which does not create the right 'impression' of the prototype.

 

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Nowadays, there are many tools and materials that were not available 30 years ago. Most significant of these is the Personal Computer, which allows detailed artwork to be prepared, using programs such as Photoshop. I have used my computer to prepare lining and lettering that can then be printed onto specialist materials, such as the various decal papers distributed by Crafty Computer Paper - http://www.craftycomputerpaper.co.uk/category/Decals

 

I have been pleasantly surprised by the resolution that can be achieved by printing on these papers with an ordinary ink-jet colour printer. I use an HP Deskjet with the print quality set to 'maximum dpi'. As well as printing individual items, I also sometimes print whole panels, such as a wheel arch, complete with edge lining and emblems. These are then applied in the same way as other water-slide transfers. When viewed under a microscope, I find the detail is amazing. The maker's-plate is only about 4mm across and yet most of the lettering can be read.

 

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Similarly, the GWR garter crest on the splasher shows plenty of detail

 

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I remain, of course, seriously impressed by the skills of those who create these effects with bow pens and rigger or liner brushes, but my 'cheats' do enable good results to be achieved by those of us with lesser skills :)

 

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Mike

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