I have a second K-Line o scale Mail baggage car with stripes that I want to remove.  I don't know if the stripes are painted on or decals. I suspect they are painted. I will edit this post to add a photo of the car. Thanks.

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I refined my search and found a thread, "removing letters from Lionel MoW car".  Someone mentioned using fine sand paper with wetted surface. What are your thoughts?

Any abrasive will likely dull the surface and make it look different from the surrounding areas.  I would be hesitant.  The sanded areas might always look different, even if you buff the whole car afterwards.  And the buffing would potentially risk the other lettering.

On plastic, there are few options that will remove the stripe without altering the underlying paint. You may get lucky with Testors Easy Lift off. In most cases it will lift the lettering or in this case the stripe well before it begins to attack the underlying paint. What differs from car to car is how much of the residue can be removed without leaving a stain. Its worth a try. I would try to have a good match for the underlying paint in any case as odds some touch up may be required either to fix the sanding marks or the residue.


I will be following your efforts to remove the stripes since that is what I want to do also.  Except for four re-built light weight cars, Pennsy baggage and RPO cars did not have stripes. 

Thought I read somewhere that the "Magic Eraser" cleaning sponge product was found helpful for this sort of removal.  Dunno myself.   Haven't tried it on a treasured car/loco.  But every time I use one of our Magic Erasers around the house for their 'normal' intent,  I recall the hobby's possibility. 

I suppose there'll come a day when I'll give it a try!.....

Anyone else recall this tip?.....or am I having another old phart's Tootle experience......off the track, picking daisies!  (As long as I'm not pushing them up!!)?

Cut a paper towel a bit larger than what you want to remove, saturate the paper towel with Walthers Solvaset and wait about 45 minutes. Make sure the paper towel stays wet. You may have to reapply. You can sometimes work off stripes with just a fingernail. Otherwise, I like wooden toothpicks.  Have a bunch handy because they’ll saturate and become squishy enough to no longer scrape.  I like to move the toothpick on an angle with a pencil eraser motion. Once you get it 90% off or better you can get the remainder with some paper towel soaked in solvaset and just burnish it off. 
no matter what you do, it will leave a different sheen behind. 
Rinse the whole shell. Let dry and re-clearcoat. 

That’s the “gentlest” way I know to do it. It’ll take lionel lettering off easily. If it doesn’t do anything, move on to ELO. I would sand it as a last resort, it’s too easy to burn thru the base color. 

Thank you all for your pointers. CAPPilot, I do not recommend my wet scrape method to remove the stripes. I did not use anything but soapy water and a razor blade to gently scrape the stripe. It was not terribly invasive for my project but there was defintely a color difference more noticeable in some areas. I tried some chalk and it was just ok.  No definite plan in mind yet, just some simple ideas for now. 

For what it's worth, I will post a pic of the results.  

Last edited by pennsynut

That looks great.  Nice work.  You’ve got me ready to pull mine out of storage and give it a try.  I don’t know if you weather your cars, but a little weathering might help the overall look.  The few I’ve done have been with chalk so nothing permanent.

Lettering paints are all different. I am surprised soapy water worked but if so I think Micro Sol or Solvaset woukd have made it even easier.


Norton, I think the water just helped keep my scraping less invasive.  I  agree I should have waited to try solvaset first. CAP, I agree that weathering the entire car would help disguise the minor color changes. Thanks again for the advice.

IMG_20200613_150142IMG_20200613_161146Update on removing stripes: I finally found a product that states that it removes decals. Microset. It states that it will not work on clear coated surfaces. I applied it to the stripes and there was not discernible evidence that it was lifting the stripes. I still had to back scrape the decal carefully to remove the stripes. By keeping the area wet the process left less color change. It was less tedious but working around the rivets was still time consuming. The top photo is first side in progress, and the second is obvious. 

I previously finished removing stripes from K-line Baggage car as well as my first RPO experiment.


Images (2)
Last edited by pennsynut

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