Removing “decals” from RtR rolling stock

I’m currently renumbering D836 Powerful as D843 Sharpshooter. Reason? Well, if I would ever had made it as a darts player (I wasn’t bad and can still chuck), Sharpshooter by Motörhead (with the Dirty Harry “did he fire six shots or only five?” as an intro) would have been my walk-on music. 😆

A question I get asked frequently is “how do you cleanly remove numbers from RtR models?”.

A common misconception is that manufacturers use decals, they don’t. The numbering and logos are just another screen printed layer / separation and as such, is firmly and securely applied……

There are many methods but the one that works for me is Valejo Airbrush Flow Improver on a sharpened wooden earbud. Use the sharp end to gently lift the print and the fluffy end to soak up the mess. I always neutralise the chemical with clean warm water afterwards and blot dry with a paper towel.

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2 thoughts on “Removing “decals” from RtR rolling stock

  1. Good article. Hopefully there will be more and in particular re-paints or re-sprays. In particular do original colours have to be removed before re-colouring. Love that you got a Motorhead reference in there as well.

    1. Hi!
      We definitely plan lots more articles and spraying/ airbrushing will feature at some point. Regarding original colours; it depends. Some manufacturers use a thinner screen print and varnish ink layer than others. For example, Heljan can be given a very light rub down with 1500grit wet and dry paper used wet to remove logos and numbers before respraying. EFE is at the other end of the spectrum. The print on their 38 and 59 tube stock is so thick that you would lose detail if you simply sprayed over it. I will be doing an article (joint collaboration) on paint removal soon as we all have different methods. Thanks again.

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