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Applying numbers to a Minerva 8750 Pannier's buffer beam

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  • RMweb Gold

This is a job I've been putting off forever, as I don't know where to start and worried of making a hash of it!

Does anyone supply custom numbers in GWR style so that I can order single transfers for the four digits (so perfectly aligned and spaced already)?

Or is it a case of using the Fox/HMRS individual digits applied separately?

If it's the latter (as I suspect, having failed to find any suitable custom transfers), any tips?

Is it better to start with the last digit first (being closest to the buffer and therefore more difficult to get at)?

Do you apply one digit and leave it to dry thoroughly before doing the next, or just move straight on to the next?

How do you prevent the first one or two digits moving when you apply the next?

It's 50 years since my days of putting Airfix kits together, so I've forgotten anything I knew about transfers!

Sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere - I did do a search but didn't find anything about this specific issue.

Thanks for reading this far!

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  • RMweb Premium

For coach or wagon numbers, which are the same principle, i do them pretty much all together so I can adjust until happy. Keep water on the model to a minimum but don't blot completely dry and you should be able to juggle them with paint brush without them floating off.


I probably would do the least accessible/nearest something else first and line up the rest from that. A marked price of paper or card for even spacing isnt a bad idea. For long numbers I use masking tape to help get a straight bottom edge but 4 digits on a buffer beam should be pretty easy to line up.



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  • 3 weeks later...
  • RMweb Gold

Apologies if you came to this thread hoping to find an expert tutorial on the topic!

All I can offer is a demonstration of a total beginner fumbling their way through.


It appears that there isn't an option to buy a single transfer to do the job, so I've gone ahead and bought the Fox GWR buffer beam number sheet and will have to do it one digit at a time:





Here's a comparison of the Dapol 57xx, Minerva 8758 (to be) and Dapol/Lionheart 64xx:




The rivets on the Minerva buffer beam are quite a bit more pronounced than the Dapol equivalents, and intrude on the space where the numbers go. Each digit (except '1') is approx 3mm wide, and the space available is about 12mm wide, so the transfers will have to be trimmed right to the edge to avoid overlapping (which I assume would be a bad thing).

I have some Microset and Microsol, which I understand may either help or hinder the process (and which is which anyway?).


MicroSet: Setting solution for decals; Softens decals and improves adhesion; Decal remover.

MicroSol: Setting solution for decals; Softens decals to conform to irregular surfaces; For a "painted on" look.


Sounds like MicroSol is the one I need to cater for the mountainous rivets?


Or best to avoid both?





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  • RMweb Gold

Decided just to get on with it.

You're probably wondering what all the fuss is about...

First step, cut out the digits:



I thought I'd cut them quite close, but the space on the buffer beam is about 13mm max.

Step 2, trim them even closer:



Maybe I got a little too close, but it's still a tight fit.

In the end I decided for this first attempt (I expect it won't be the last!) to follow the instructions provided by Fox (I know, who on earth ever reads those) so left the Microsol & Microset on the shelf.

First digit (or last, depending on your point of view):










And were done:



Phew. It's not perfect, but if it dries like that and stays like that with a coat of varnish then I'll settle.

Off to get a stiff drink and lie down in a dark room now...



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  • RMweb Gold

A comparison with the Dapol 57xx and Lionheart 64xx:



The Fox numerals appear quite a bit larger and thicker than the Dapol ones, and certainly a lot yellower and brighter.


Time to do the bunker end:



Again I cut the numerals as close as I dared, only to find I needed to shave even more off:



This is all I'm using:



First (last) three digits on, and you can see that the next 8 has to go over those two humungous rivets:



The eight at the other end is also on to equally big rivets:



From a few different angles:





I've put some Microsol ("Softens decals to conform to irregular surfaces; For a "painted on" look") on front and back so I'll leave that overnight to see if it helps.


Overall I'm not too pleased with my efforts because apart from straight on the numbers are quite distorted, and even if they weren't they are still too big and too yellow compared to the other engines.


I checked Great Western Way and discovered that from 1940 onwards the GWR changed buffer beam numbers from gold to yellow. After 1940 the numerals were 6" high but I couldn't find an equivalent dimension for the earlier numbers.


It appears that the Fox numerals are the 1940-1947 version?


I looked at the HMRS transfers, but it's a bit galling to fork out that much for a sheet of transfers of which 95% will be useless to me, but maybe I'll have to.


Searching online I came across GS Model Supplies (Geoff Stait), who do 7mm GWR numerals, so I've ordered some of theirs to try.

If they look a better size and colour then I'll remove this attempt and re-do them.


Are there any other suppliers of 7mm GWR buffer beam numeral transfers?

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  • RMweb Gold

Maybe I should grind the offending bumps off (or just down a bit) so the transfers are flat and don't look distorted from different angles?

I'd be concerned about making a total bosh of it though...

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  • RMweb Gold

After a bit more research I think Minerva have got the buffer beam rivets spot on.

I think the font used for the Fox transfers might be a bit too heavy and possibly a fraction too large as well?


This page http://www.gwr.org.uk/liveriesloco1906.html (about half way down) appears to support Fox's use of yellow rather than dull gold (seemingly contradicting GW Way), but compare the weight of the font used by Didcot on Lode Star with those in my images above.


I'll wait until I've received the GS transfers before deciding my next step.

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