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Transfer Sheets and Modelling Specific Eras


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Hi All,

 

I'm interested in peoples' thoughts about the content of transfer sheets. It seems to me (please say if I'm wrong) that most transfer sheets for a specific company, in my case the LMS, are supplied with transfers to cover a wide period of time, both the grey livery period and then the post 1936 bauxite/brown livery in the case of goods wagons. My layout is based on a specific year (late 1947) so that I can run some Ivatt locos. However as far as goods freight is concerned, I would imagine that the majority of it would have been painted bauxite by then with the small lettering, thus making the rest of the sheet for grey liveried vehicles difficult to use if not unuseable. They're fine if your modelling sometime around the changeover period, but otherwise you end up wasting half a sheet or so. This is also true for locomotive liveries, and I'm sure it affects other transfer sheets for different companies. I realise there would be costs involved for manufacturers to change the sheets, but I would be interested in what other people think about it.

 

Regards,

 

Mark

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I would agree. I have spent the last year repainting freight stock and engines for a late GWR set up and have lots of early decals which I would never use. I also have lots of "brown stock and "white stock" decals left over (which I will never use) , but not enough "grey stock" letters. Surely it would please customers to have slightly more "specific" decal sets, particularly for "the big four".

 

I could of course paint everything a gaudy green colour and be happy with two white letters :)

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Are transfers expensive? I would say not, given the amount of effort that has to go into researching and providing accurate artwork that will satisfy the most exacting modeller - who may have invested hundreds of hours in his/her model, and does not want to spoil it with poor lining and lettering. You don't say whose sheet it is you have, but I infer it may be HMRS. The fact is that we each have such different needs, particularly in the Big 4 and Pre-Group eras, that putting out one sheet that "fits all" is the most economical route to getting them onto the market.

 

Did you look at others' ranges? Typically some other manufacturers do indeed make smaller and cheaper sheets, but do they cover your model and period? And do you get half as many transfers for half the price? Given production and distribution costs, I doubt it.

 

One other point. We now live in an era of wonderful RTR, which is quickly nibbling away at the traditional kits and bits market, as so many prototypes get produced in China to many people's satisfaction. The day isn't far off when transfers and other such add-ons will become increasingly difficult to sell, and thus to find. Be grateful for what we have!

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I would imagine that many wagons other than new builds were still in pre 1936 livery at the end of the Grouping.

I also think we should consider us lucky we have the decals available at all , there cant be much profit in them?

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Hi olddudders,

A very valid response. All I would say is that when you have spent the hundreds of hours researching/building your models, when it comes to RTR, I'm not prepared to have a rake of coaches/wagons all sporting the same running numbers, so there is a need for transfers and I think there always will be if you're serious about your modelling. Also with RTR, they can only produce a very small amount of different diagram coaches or wagons, whereas the kit market is much more diverse, another reason why there is still a need for transfers when finishing your kits, as very few if any come with transfers, precisely because of the diversity. As far as my layout is concerned, I have only a couple of RTR coaches, the vast majority being kits and the same can be said for my goods wagons. When you are building large numbers of kits, then transfers do start to become expensive, when you can only use half a sheet. I know there is a lot of research going into transfers and it doesn't come free, but that still doesn't alter the fact that the various periods could be produced on separate sheets, if thought about in the first instance.

 

Regards,

 

Mark

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I suspect, given the intervening war, that most stock would have remained grey until 1947- repainting freight stock was fairly low down the list of priorities, in comparison with the work (and money) required to overhaul coaching stock and locos, renew track, rebuild bomb-damaged infrastructure etc.

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. Be grateful for what we have!

 

I am very grateful, not just for this, but for many many other things - this time last year I was coming to the end of 10 months in Helmand, where my friend was turned into "pink mist"... I will never regain full use of my right hand - so numbering OO wagons is out of my league. Here endeth the "I'm more grateful than you".

 

The original poster asked for opinions and he got mine, and yours too.

 

I am grateful and appreciative of the work that HMRS and many others do. Having returned to the hobby after stopping in the early 80s I am astounded at the availability of RTR and kits/transfers and "DIY" stuff. And as for the ability to sit in your home and discuss/research/etc with like-minded people all round the globe at a time that suits me - it will never cease to amaze me.

 

However, to expand/explain my answer: the Big Four have their "periods" as well as generic schemes - Why not produce one sheet with everything for that period and also sell "vanilla" sheets carrying the "common to all periods" lining or logos? For GWR for example one sheet would have the coach and loco lettering for the "shirt button" era and a second would have the items used throughout.

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I think that you need to look at the other side of the equation.

One problem is to find enough lettering to fill a sheet. I know sheets vary in size but most of the transfers that I have come across have a particular size sheet. Less lettering does not mean that the sheet will be much cheaper to produce. John of CCT produces various sheets that are, at first glance, expensive. When you look further you find that they are so easy to use and so well laid out that the cost is soon forgotten. No connection. Just using CCT as an example. We are indeed fortunate that such excellent products are available. I will mention Fox and HMRS to be fair as thay are in the same league. I think that it's a bit mean spirited to have a dig at the suppliers over the possible saving of a few pence per vehicle. It's the old old story. Put up or shut up. Sorry to be so blunt but there are bigger problems in the world than what lettering should be on a sheet of transfers.

Bernard

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Hi All,

 

I fully agree with M.I.B.'s reply, that would be an eminently suitable answer. I am certainly not ungrateful for the transfers we have at present, given as I said before, that my stock is predominantly kit built, so I for one rely a lot on the currently available transfer sheets. All I'm saying is that it would be far more economic for the modeller to be able to buy sheets of transfers, knowing that you are probably going to use the majority of the sheet. And to reply to Bernard Lamb, I don't see the problem with filling a sheet of decals - that is my point, you fill it with more of the same transfers of a certain era.

I am certainly not mean spirited, I have spent hundreds of pounds on my layout including existing transfer sheets. I also realise there are big problems in the world at the moment. However, I really don't think this forum is the place to discuss them, this being for railway modellers and judging by the posts across all the forums, there are many modellers on here, and I am sure that they also realise what is going on in the world. I raised a legitimate subject for discussion and it was not my aim to belittle the efforts of producers of transfers, nor to divert peoples' attention away from world affairs today. At the moment I am unemployed, so I'm quite aware of what's going on.

 

As an aside M I B, you have my total respect and gratitude for what you and your colleagues have done and do still in Afghanistan.

 

Regards,

 

Mark

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Guest dilbert
However, to expand/explain my answer: the Big Four have their "periods" as well as generic schemes - Why not produce one sheet with everything for that period and also sell "vanilla" sheets carrying the "common to all periods" lining or logos? For GWR for example one sheet would have the coach and loco lettering for the "shirt button" era and a second would have the items used throughout.

 

But new liveries weren't implemented on day one... if you are modelling 'late GWR' unless an older vehicle in question had not gone in for service/repair, then it would still most likely sport the original livery. So in the case of the s/b and 'brown' vehicles (1934-1938), you could justify, according to the vehicle in question, using either 16" GW lettering or s/b motifs in a post 1938 GWR scenario.

 

Photographic evidence is obviously the best justification - there is the famous photo of a 94xx (or 97xx ?) in 1962 at Old Oak Common - her panniers still displaying her last GWR schema ...dilbert

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.....I don't see the problem with filling a sheet of decals - that is my point, you fill it with more of the same transfers of a certain era.

 

Since I have been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I will respond. In fact, the debate doesn't apply to my products as they are for a relatively narrow time-frame anyway.

 

However, let's take the example of a sheet of wagon transfers covering the LMS period. (Screen printed, as is the case for most ranges of transfers, though not mine).

 

If we say that there were two styles of lettering, producing separate sheets for each period doubles the number of sheets to be stocked, but halves the number of sheets sold. Think about it!

 

When buying transfers, the true cost is the sheet price divided by the number of transfer sets that you actually use. Transfer manufacturers do not disguise this fact - it is simple logic.

 

What is perhaps needed is a little proactivity on the part of the purchaser. If you know from the outset that you will only use half the sheet content, why not neatly cut off the unwanted part and offer it for sale here in the For Sale forum? There are bound to be modellers who need the transfers that you do not.

 

Not a practice that will endear you to transfer manufacturers, but if the cost of a transfer sheet is really a significant factor for you then the answer is in your own hands.

 

Regards,

John Tsherwood,

Cambridge Custom Transfers.

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Hi All,

 

Yes Dilbert, I know new liveries weren't introduced on 'day one', although I would suggest there would have to be a 'day one' at some point or the new livery would never be applied. The whole point of my posting is that my layout is based some 11 years after the move to bauxite/brown livery, hardly 'day one' and yes, I know there was a war inbetween times which would obviously change the companies priorities, hence the reason for seeking peoples' views in the first place. But I still feel that it would be better if you were able to buy a greater preponderance of sheets of transfers for your particular era and, if there were still wagons in grey livery around, which I don't doubt there were, to buy a lesser number of sheets dedicated to them. Anyway, I have been in touch with the LMS Society, in the hope that they can give me an extremely rough ballpark figure of goods wagon liveries around 1947.

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Since I have been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I will respond. In fact, the debate doesn't apply to my products as they are for a relatively narrow time-frame anyway.

 

However, let's take the example of a sheet of wagon transfers covering the LMS period. (Screen printed, as is the case for most ranges of transfers, though not mine).

 

If we say that there were two styles of lettering, producing separate sheets for each period doubles the number of sheets to be stocked, but halves the number of sheets sold. Think about it!

 

When buying transfers, the true cost is the sheet price divided by the number of transfer sets that you actually use. Transfer manufacturers do not disguise this fact - it is simple logic.

 

What is perhaps needed is a little proactivity on the part of the purchaser. If you know from the outset that you will only use half the sheet content, why not neatly cut off the unwanted part and offer it for sale here in the For Sale forum? There are bound to be modellers who need the transfers that you do not.

 

Not a practice that will endear you to transfer manufacturers, but if the cost of a transfer sheet is really a significant factor for you then the answer is in your own hands.

 

Regards,

John Tsherwood,

Cambridge Custom Transfers.

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John,

 

Thank you for the input from the manufacturers' point of view. I had already realised that your scenario would be the case, however, I didn't feel it my place to make the comment about sales figures etc. My point is, I have some 50-60 wagons to be built and transfers applied and when talking about these sorts of numbers, then the cost of transfer sheets starts to mount as does the amount of transfers you can't use. I admire your honesty and straightforwardness in suggesting selling the 'leftovers', maybe that is one way forward. Any other views?

 

Regards,

 

Mark

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Marky - Thank you and good luck with the job situation.

 

I agree about "Day One" logos - they were not so brand intensive as the world is now, and I have seen the Old Oak Common GWR logo photo mentioned. There is bound to be a degree of overlap.

 

We all have different measures of "modellers licience" - for some with patience, space, skill and time, this is likely to be nil, for others the priorities are very different and are pleased with table top trainsets. (Nothing wrong with that). I sit somewhere inbetween.

 

In my late GWR case, shirtbutton was a memory in 1946 - wartime unlined or black repaints covered up sb logos, and then became green again - too many steps in brand evolution to believe that there were any still around. Hence my point as to why I'd rather see period specific decals.

 

Until then, I'll just have to graciously put up with the excellent quality items on the market. Thank you to those who produce them.

 

And if anyone wants my OO pre '39 GWR logos etc, let me know - all I need is an SAE and a photo proving your era interest. (UPDATE - Spares have now been passed on)

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Hi All,

 

Yes Dilbert, I know new liveries weren't introduced on 'day one', although I would suggest there would have to be a 'day one' at some point or the new livery would never be applied. The whole point of my posting is that my layout is based some 11 years after the move to bauxite/brown livery, hardly 'day one' and yes, I know there was a war inbetween times which would obviously change the companies priorities, hence the reason for seeking peoples' views in the first place. But I still feel that it would be better if you were able to buy a greater preponderance of sheets of transfers for your particular era and, if there were still wagons in grey livery around, which I don't doubt there were, to buy a lesser number of sheets dedicated to them. Anyway, I have been in touch with the LMS Society, in the hope that they can give me an extremely rough ballpark figure of goods wagon liveries around 1947.

 

Can't answer re. the LMS, but my previous post was to address a point made by MIB re. the GWR...

 

I'm not sure how you can have too many transfers (or any other bits 'n bobs) for that matter - from a transfer range perspective, I have several sheets from different sources and these tend to complement each other, from the general thru to vehicle specific ...dilbert

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Marky, I think the comments about offering your surplus items on the classified section of the forum is perfectly valid. You would at least recover some of the initial costs, thereby enabling you to purchase more items from our beleagured manufacturers. That may keep everybody happy, a very difficult task. :blink:

 

I do get the impression that this hobby does require a certain hoarding mentality, as we will never know when we will need 'all' these surplus parts. I think most of these 'bits' end up getting junked at some point, when either memory or reason no longer apply.

 

Handyman

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Markyb208.

 

From what I'm picking up on here, what you are looking for, is a sheet of transfers / decals, dedicated to one company's (LMS) fleet of wagons ?, and, maybe ?, out of that fleet, just a handful of wagons ?.

That ain't gonna happen in the mainstream of things.

In your OP, you don't mention what scale you're working in ?, so, I guess, by the wording, you are asking for a general concensus, regarding all scales ?

.

These guys, here, have been producing wagon decals, (apart from a load of other stuff, again, including specific eras) in both 4mm. & 2mm.scales, for the last 1/4 century. (No connection)

 

http://www.modelmast...s.com/index.php

 

Scroll down, and see freight wagons

 

If they haven't got anything to suit your needs, then Cambridge Custom Transfers is your best bet.

 

Regards

 

P.S. These days, If you were to buy a model aircraft kit ?, you get given a choice of insignia on the decal sheet, but, you can only apply one set to the finish. What do you do with the rest ??

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  • 2 months later...
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What is perhaps needed is a little proactivity on the part of the purchaser. If you know from the outset that you will only use half the sheet content, why not neatly cut off the unwanted part and offer it for sale here in the For Sale forum? There are bound to be modellers who need the transfers that you do not.

 

Or the approach I would have thought to be obvious - find someone else who models the other period and swap your unused half-sheet with theirs?

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