Being a Southern Railway modeller of the period 1946 to 1949 it is not unusual for me to need to re-livery Ready-to-Run models that come on the market as generally they cater for either pre-war or post Nationalisation eras. This is currently the case with the delightful Beattie Well Tanks that have been produced by Dapol for Kernow Models. I have therefore modeled one side as 3329 in its 1946 condition and the other side as 30586 in the early transition style with ‘British Railways’ and the number in Southern ‘Sunshine’ style lettering. I have a number of my locomotive fleet treated in a similar way with differing styles of letting / eras on each side, at the end of the day you can only see one side at once!
I start by soaking the original printing to be removed with some good quality enamel thinners applied by a brush or a cotton bud. Once allowed to soak to for a few minutes I rub off the printing with a cotton bud soaked in the thinners. I have found that usually Bachmann printing comes off much easier than the Hornby or Dapol printing which generally requires some quite hard rubbing with the cotton bud, it works in the end but do not be tempted to apply too much pressure too quickly. Some people also use very fine wet and dry emery paper or cocktail sticks to remove the decals, but for simple renumbering thinners, a cotton bud and some patience works fine for me.
Even if I am only changing one digit, I always remove the whole number as no matter which supplier of new decals I am using, they are rarely a perfect match for the manufacturer’s original printing. In the case of 3329 / 30586 I used 2mm scale transfers from Fox Transfers for the Southern and British Railways lettering, As on the original prototype they were much smaller than the standard sizes of letting used! The numbers for 30586 again from Fox Tranfers but for the 3329 I used Pressfix transfers from the Historical Model Railway Society (HMRS). When applying the decals I always start from the middle number / letter and work outwards in both directions as this makes it easier to keep things on the level.
Rubbing off of the original decals usually leaves a shiny finish on the cab side that on one hand provides a good surface for the application of new decals, especially if waterslide are being used; but means that additional work is needed to rectify the finish. I therefore mask off the area using existing lining or changes in profile as edges and lightly spray the area with satin varnish which nicely restores the finish pretty much matching the standard manufacturer’s factory finish. This also serves the purpose to seal the decals.
3329 / 30856 now awaits a little bit of light weathering and squeezing some crew on board to complete the look…