How to make decals for model trains

Peter’s been in touch with a great post: How to make decals for model trains.

Just scroll down to if you want to jump straight to it because I’m going to start with something odd(ish).

Then some train stuff (obviously).

So let’s start with the odd.

I have no idea whether the following is a prank, or Bert is indeed flying around in space.

Not long ago Ben posted a wonderful video on his layout (it’s at the bottom of this post).

Now some of you would have missed it, but one of the comments left was from:


To be brutally honest, I didn’t take it too seriously.

But then Ben got in touch – he wanted to see know if Bert was indeed an astronaut, before he told his grandson.

So I mailed Bert.

Here’s his reply:

“Re: You really on the space station, Bert?

Yes, got pretty busy up here the last 18 hours.

We had a change of arriving Russian crew members that were changed at the last minute as the both of them had been in a different kind of quarantine for a later mission but worldwide situation it was decided to send them instead of the 2 scheduled cosmonauts who were in a shorter duration quarantine.

I have received further information yesterday on a possible extension of my time on the station due to the fact that I am a military M. D. & Having an M. D. On the station is a needed safety decision that was made in good judgement.

My military flight nickname is Bert aka BULLDAWG 1 Another nickname is DREW THAT my family and close friends call me most of the time.

One of the cosmonauts here is fasinated with the train video and in fact is viewing it at this very moment.

We are in one of our dark night cycles and will be back in daytime here in less than an hour, as we see a sunrise and sunset every 90 minutes

Wishing you the best and stay healthy &,Safe.

Andrew (DREW ) Morgan

Bert aka BULLDAWG 1”

Well – the first thing that struck me was that it didn’t read like the reply of a prankster.

So then I asked for a pic and have not heard from Bert since. Then again, he’s probably got better things to do with his time.

What do you think folks?

I know Bert’s wiki page says he is in space right now – but whether that really is from Bert, we’ll never know.

Leave a comment below and let me know. Have I been had?

Now on to some train stuff – Peter and his step by step: How to make decals for model trains

You may remember Peter from his last post, which is here.


Further to the last article on transfers for locomotives etc..

When I used transparent A4 vinyl self adhesive paper…printed on the ink jet printer..

But this paper was too thick to follow the ribbed contours on the loco side…and just went across them.

There were a couple of people in Germany who were using proper decal paper..

And their results were exceptional…

I made contact with them and managed to get some information on how to do these transfers..–

I had to obtain the decal paper from a source in Germany who gave the thickness of the paper [12 microns] [7 micron paper is too thin and not easily manageable]..

No one I approached in the UK was able to give this information, out of dozens of companies I approached..

This decal paper follows the ribbed lines on the side of the loco..[Swiss re 460/465 loco’s]

The decal paper I purchased was for laser jet printing…hence the inks do not run when placed in water…

It takes a lot of practice and I am still on a learning curve..

The original logo’s on the loco’s have to be air brushed out, first with a grey primer and then white..

All the art work was done in Coral Draw..

Attached some pictures along with the real live loco’s



How to make decals for model trains

How to make decals for model trains

How to make decals for model trains

model train decals

model train decals

model train decals

model train decals

model train decals

A big thanks to Peter for sharing his model train decals.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

15 Responses to How to make decals for model trains

  1. Dan Hulitt says:

    That is wonderful news Al, and it speaks to the dedication of you and this community that would share with you the ups and downs of their lives with the knowledge that it would be important to you and your readers.
    As to Bert, I never doubted his authenticity and stand by my comment then, that this site is out of this world.


    Mn Dan

  2. Terry Miller says:

    I guess the next question in the Bert file would be: Can you send E-Mails from space? We must have a reader somewhere in Florida or Texas that would know the answer to that question


  3. Ramsey Arnold says:

    Thanks, SO MUCH, Al – for ALL your efforts, afford us weebles out here a glimpse of sanity 🤠 . 🚂 …

  4. Colin Bentley says:

    Just copied this from the NASA website about the current crew on the ISS:

    Dr. Andrew “Drew” Morgan was selected by NASA in 2013. Dr. Morgan is an emergency physician in the U.S. Army with sub-speciality certification in primary care sports medicine. He is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. Prior to his selection to NASA’s 21st group of astronauts, Dr. Morgan served in elite special operations units worldwide. He is married with four children and considers New Castle, PA his hometown. He is currently serving aboard the International Space Station as a flight engineer for Expedition 60, 61 and 62.

    The question is whether Bert is the same person, or if he is just lifting information from the NASA website?

    Colin from Somerset, England

  5. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Peter- great looking transfers!
    Great to hear about Tony!
    And BULLDAWG 1rings true to me!

  6. CARL ANGDAHL says:

    Who really cares if the astronaut is real? It’s a great story either way. A liitle laughter can go a long way in today’s world.

  7. Mason Dirickson says:


    I guess it’s an unfortunate sign of the times to have to question just about everything you see and read due to the incredible amount of fakery out there. I agree with Tony, “Bert/Drew/Bulldawg 1” certainly sounds legit and I hope so as well as wish him safe travel..

    Al, thanks for all you do for out hobby and interest.


  8. Thanks for 2 e-mails in one day. Really made my day. Not a very good HO lay out but 4 X 8. DCC with a train going in both directions. Some DC in the middle for switching. Man in space——I`m in space a lot but being 92 helps a lot.

  9. Pete Evangel says:

    I have a Samsung Note 10 smart phone. One of the apps I use is called ISS LIVE NOW, from NASA TV. This morning 4-9-2020 at 0400 Calif. time, the Russian space craft did dock with the space station. Several hours later, there was a video feed with all the astronauts on camera. I dont know what Bert looks like, but if you download the app you can track them.

  10. Gary Manganiello says:

    Why not the real Bert……….as long as he doesn’t ask for any personal information Or money. HA HA!,


  11. Ben Olson says:

    Hello, “Ben From Chicago” here and I want to thank Al for sharing the info from “Bert”. I believe both communications were from the real astronaut, Dr. Andrew Morgan, but if by some chance it’s not real….well, as Carl said, it’s a great story either way! My grandson Travis is getting a huge kick out of all of this, so for now, our money is on Bulldawg 1….
    Everyone stay safe out there!

  12. Keith says:

    Hello, “Keith from greater Chicagoland area” here. Just wanted to add to the astronaut thread. Watched the Soyuz launch and then dock with the ISS today on NASA’s live feed from their website. Brought 3 new crew members up today. You might try tweeting to him for a confirmation – his twitter handle is @AstroDrewMorgan.

  13. DJfromNJ says:

    BULLDAWG 1 – Recently (Feb.) saw the nighttime launch from Canaveral to ISS (I was in Pompano Beach, South of Canaveral). Could easily see the exhaust as it made it’s way up toward it’s rendezvous. Thrilling sight! BTW, have taken a renewed interest in NASA ever since our son began working at Greenbelt, MD.
    Al – thanks for permitting my digressing from RR modeling.
    Everyone – please stay home and stay safe.

  14. Jim says:

    BULLDAWG 1 We got ya 5 by 5. …God’s Speed, Doc!!!

  15. Cecil Sandige says:

    Andrew Morgan is a US spaceman currently on the space station. I follow his tweets but don’t know how/can’t reply so I cant confirm he is the one posting on Alstair’s site. I hope so! It would be cool to have a spaceman on the site!

    Keep up the cool posts everyone, I hope to have a short video of my homemade coal car (black marbles) dumping system soon.

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