HO scale decals model trains

HO scale decals model trains – Peter’s step-by-step for loco liveries works for all scales:

“Locomotive Liveries:

Having tried for many years to find a suitable method…

Firstly trying transfers that one dipped in water and slid on…(Like the old ‘AIrfix’ kits)

Using A4 transfer paper and printing out the logo on the computer (using Corel Draw)

Then using 2/3 coats of waterproof varnish to keep the colours from running (Epson photo printer)

Not very successful as the varnish destroyed the integrity of the transfer paper…

Recently, I came across some A4 transparent self adhesive glossy vinyl printing paper (E-Bay)

Again making the logo’s in Corel Draw and printing out on the paper…peeling the backing paper off and sticking to the loco…..This was by far more successful..

A coat of matt water based varnish took the gloss shine off the gloss vinyl..(Air brushed on)

Some of my recent work…

A search on the internet, soon finds the company logo’s that I can use…

The text is done with the text tool in Corel in most cases and produces a much better result..

Some pictures:

(All images are clickable.)

ho scale decals model trains

ho scale decals model trains

ho scale decals model trains

engine livery

engine livery

locomotive livery

locomotive livery

loco livery

ho scale decals model trains

ho scale decals model trains

ho scale decals model trains

ho scale decals model trains


A big thanks to Peter for his HO scale decals model trains step-by-step. Clever stuff indeed.

It reminded me of Charle’s post, which isn’t about decals, but it’s a great post on painting your model trains:

How to paint a model train.

There’s quite a few posts on the blog now about painting and decals – it’s such a small detail really in the bif scheme of things, but you’v only got to look at some of the layout posts to see they do make such a difference.

That’s all for today folks. Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if want to make your day dreams spring to life.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

23 Responses to HO scale decals model trains

  1. Robert Mize says:

    I really like your site. It has given me a lot of ideas.

  2. Robert Brady says:

    well Peter you’ve go my attention.I’m thinking of doing on some of my box cars and maybe buying undecorated diesel or two..Thank yo sir.

  3. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    Look very good – potentially useful tip

  4. Phillip says:

    Very nice idea, thanks for posting.

  5. Hi Peter, thank you for this marvelous tip. Buying generic commercial decals is a waste of money, in most cases. You can never seem to find the exact look that you want. Now with your system, it’s only a matter of searching the internet for what you desire and printing it on the self=adhesive sheet ~ no fuss; no muss.

  6. Rob says:

    Those locos look to have corrugated sides. How did you get the decals to sit in the grooves and did your computer generated masters take account of the extra ‘signage’ for the grooves.

  7. Minnesota Dan says:

    Very nice look, like right from the paint booth. Thanks for the tip.
    If anyone has access to a Brother Scan and Cut, vinyl letters can be cut with that machine, and for kit bashers, the new machine may be able to cut balsa wood sheets.

    D&H Dan

  8. Joe Wright says:

    Thank you Peter for sharing that useful information.

  9. Appookta says:

    Very impressive!

  10. Appookta says:

    Very impressive! (Didn’t show usual statement saying post required moderation before appearing, so I’m entering it again – please don’t include this parenthetical comment.)

  11. Peter Evangel says:

    Looks outstanding. But I have a question of Peter. If this is a stick on sort of vinyl type “paper”, isnt it a little thicker than regular water applied decals? Wouldnt you see the raised paper on the loco (or any other unit you use it on)? Could you possibly take a sharp close up photo to show us how this this stuff is? If it ends up being the same as water applied decals, then this would be fantastic!!!!

    Pete in Sunny Silicon Valley CA.

  12. Peter Evangel says:

    Have never heard of this stuff. Thank you to Peter for the wonderful find. I found it on Amazon also. According to the advert it works only on InkJet printers and only with DYE ink, not pigment ink.

    Pete in Silicon Valley CA.

  13. David Bielawski says:

    These are really well done!
    As an FYI, the Marklin (and Roco or Fleischman) european models are very similar… if you want to see some others that are of this quality, check out ebay and you will get more ideas… you will see a range of models, including some baseline chasses as well as other “commercials” that are painted on the loco’s…

    (go to ebay, and search for “marklin sbb 4/4 460”)

    This is the first time I have seen professional quality done on a one-of a kind basis. Very nice, and very well done.

    Dave in Stafford VA.

  14. Malcolm Hodgson says:

    That has come out really awesome!

    Found the sheets on a popular auction site for less than 2 quid.

    Thanks for the info. Professional results.


  15. Keith Bowman says:

    Testers Dullcote seals the water based inks used in most printers.Once dry they can be glossed over if needed.

  16. Cary Price says:

    Excellent method Peter! Decals are so difficult to get right, storing your post for future reference. Your models look really awesome! Cary in KY

  17. Peter Clare says:

    The pictures I attached are actually water decals.. I found a company in Germany that sells good quality A4 decal paper about 13/15um thick..anything less does not work very well.. [and most UK/E-Bay sellers do not know the thickness of their paper] [www.druckeronkel.de]
    The printing was done with an ink jet printer and the inks do not run when placed in water.
    Yes, the sides of the loco’s are ribbed. and the decal paper follows the contours [the adhesive paper is too thick and goes over the ribbing…not very good.

  18. Peter Clare says:

    I have to get the decals printed by a local shop that has an ink jet printer..
    But unfortunately their printers do not print white..
    So I have to air brush the bodies white first [celeroise paints]..
    There is someone in Germany who does these applications..and to be honest one cannot see the difference between a loco manufactures paint job..
    I still have to get more practice to completing them to this standard..

  19. Peter Clare says:

    Answer to Rob’s question:
    See U-Tube video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih972DFYgas]
    The vinyl they apply to real loco’s do not need to have any additional work on the livery for the contours..The same with the transfers..
    There is no deterioration with the livery picture/letters when applied..
    They appear like they were done with the manufactures printing process.

  20. Peter Clare says:

    Peter Evangel question.
    Yes, the adhesive backed A4 paper is too thick and does not follow the contours..not too bad for flat surfaces, but is noticeable.
    The A4 decal paper 13/15um thick is ideal and fits into the contours..
    With practice it looks like the decal was printed by the manufactures printing process..
    I have a couple of purchased re460’s and I cannot tell these are decals..
    They were done by a person in Germany, who has a lot of experience..

  21. Mike Balog says:

    Great Job with the Signage… Another use for this paper is to create signs for buildings or advertising billboards along the train track routes, roads or bridges.

    ~ Mike, New Hampshire USA.

  22. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Nice job Pete

  23. Arthur Romano says:

    The Swiss Air livery. My favorite airline for travel
    to Europe.

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