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Recently, Trainworld did a run of exclusive LIRR RS3's in blue and yellow, which are great, but unfortunately they have inaccurate "long island" lettering on the hood and cab. I'd like to try and remove this, and even purchased correct "M" decals for the cab, but I'd like to hear opinions on the best way to do this. Ideally, I'd like to remove the lettering without damaging the paint underneath. Any suggestions welcome!

You can see the paint scheme on the model compared to a photo of the real thing below.

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Yes, but it is very time consuming and you will be able to notice unless you clearcoat the whole thing when you are done. I use toothpicks, polishing compound, very fine grit sandpaper and a few chemical methods with varying degrees of success.

Here are some pics of one of my C628 shells that I renumbered using the toothpick/polishing compound letter removal method. You can't see it well but the areas are shiny where I removed them. I haven't clearcoated yet. I am not sure I am happy with it.

20220101_13185920220101_13191720220101_131931

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Based on the location on the long hood, nothing can remove that without an issue, as there are vents, and door impressions, etc.  You could wet sand it with 600 grit, but you’re still going to need to repaint that area. No chemicals will remove that without a problem. If you can match the blue, it can be feathered in across the area nicely. Do not tape it off, as it will not look right.

Different people use different techniques. I’m partial to wet sanding with fine grit paper, though that may work best if one plans to lightly clear coat and re-decal. That’s what I did on this GP30 to re-number it to a new, later in life, number series:

C1FA3440-CB1F-49D5-8D45-3C18169697D3

Another renumber job, this time with weathering:

09BB839D-2FE1-48C0-9AE5-1ADABC64276E

A long hood is trickier because of hinges, panel lines, and other details. For this AC6000, I used the wet sand technique to  remove and replace the original lettering which was in an unprototypically small font:

93698A7E-02A6-490F-AB8A-3ECFCCBB834F

9BA0185D-839A-4BDF-A141-1AD4F6A48F0E

I think I may have used some Armor Yellow paint to touch up some hinges or other cast-in detail that the original lettering had covered and that weren’t easily sanded. But wet sanding removed the lettering from the flat surfaces. Then some weathering. The key is to work slowly and patiently. It might be necessary to apply a very light clear coat to the area after the lettering is removed  

I’m sure others will chime in with their techniques and tips. You might also try a search to find older posts on the topic.

New Year,

RM

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Last edited by Rich Montague
@RSJB18 posted:

Talk to @Strap Hanger. He has the same engine.

Check out this video he posted too.



Yep. I wanted to start this project today, but got hit with a DCS repair that led to replacing a couple of banana plugs, upgrading software, etc.   I now plan on hitting this project next week. I’m going to leave the yellow Long Island lettering alone (it’s just too much to remove and I’m not offended by it, even though it’s not prototypical) and only attempt removal of the LIRR under the cab window so I can apply a properly sized island model works mta “M”.  Hopefully, the technique in that video works.  

I’m by far an expert on this. Not sure as to how the lettering was applied in the above video. The Micro Sol method would work for decals applied without a clear coat. Not sure how well it will work on something pad printed or cleared over.
I model the Rutland. Lionel recently ran a 3 pack of hoppers. I wanted to add a few more. I ended up buying a Paashe Air Eraser that came with a jar of aluminum oxide grit. I masked so only one number was exposed. It removed it easily and just sort of dulled the underlying black. Not sure if you would get the same result with the yellow. A coat of clear gloss and just add decals as recommended and finished up some clear flat and weathering. This method may work on your RS 3. I would mask off just around the lettering. Maybe buff the edge with some super fine wet sandpaper when the lettering is removed. Try not to sand any edges. Hit it with some gloss and decal. If you go this route. It’s about a $65.00 dollar investment. Use about 30 lbs. of pressure and just go easy. Best to practice on a sacrificial car. Not having done what your trying to do I can’t say what your result will be. It worked for me but it was a much smaller area and the car was weathered afterwards.

There’s plenty of solvents that can remove the lettering. But I believe you will be damaging the paint underneath. I found on one wood reefer I did. Matching yellow isn’t easy.

Last edited by Dave_C

For anyone interested, I actually (mostly) completed this project earlier today. I tried using microsol to get the lettering off, but it had basically no effect on whatever bulletproof finish MTH uses. I ended up wet sanding the lettering off the yellow cab successfully without really damaging the paint underneath. I applied correct decals to the same spot.

The yellow letters on the hood were another story. I couldn't sand them off without damaging the paint, so I decided to sand them off the best I could regardless of damaging the blue paint. I mixed a near perfect blue over the course of a week, fiddling around with it multiple times before deciding it was good enough. I weathered over the whole model to help blend it together and I think it came out pretty good.

Aside from some minor tweaking to the weathering I plan to do, it's finished.

rs3 1rs3 2rs3 3rs3 4

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Last edited by Billbarman

This topic keeps re-appearing and I'm really glad many members take the time to reply instead of just recommending "Do a search", because this is the first time I recall seeing Strap Hanger's MicroSol method.  While it didn't work on this MTH LIRR engine I'll definitely give it a try the next time I'm re-numbering something.

@Billbarman posted:

For anyone interested, I actually (mostly) completed this project earlier today. I tried using microsol to get the lettering off, but it had basically no effect on whatever bulletproof finish MTH uses. I ended up wet sanding the lettering off the yellow cab successfully without really damaging the paint underneath. I applied correct decals to the same spot.

The yellow letters on the hood were another story. I couldn't sand them off without damaging the paint, so I decided to sand them off the best I could regardless of damaging the blue paint. I mixed a near perfect blue over the course of a week, fiddling around with it multiple times before deciding it was good enough. I weathered over the whole model to help blend it together and I think it came out pretty good.

Aside from some minor tweaking to the weathering I plan to do, it's finished.

rs3 1rs3 2rs3 3rs3 4

Outstanding! Thanks for the heads up on the ineffectiveness of the microsol technique.  I’ll need to research wet sanding before trying the same. Hopefully my results come out close to yours.

I have had mixed results with Testors Easy Lift Off. It removes lettering OK. Sometimes it has no effect on the base paint, other times it does.

My fall back is lacquer thinner and a Q tip. Dip it in the lacquer thinner, then wave it in the air until its almost dry and wipe lightly. The lettering should come off gradually before the base paint is gone.

Pete

Last edited by Norton

I was going to suggest the ELO.  I was successful converting a MTH W&ARR 19th Century caboose into an ARR caboose by removing the W & with ELO.  It did not damage the underlying brown paint but took a little extra work because of the woodgrain.  Flat surfaces on the diesel should be an good candidate for the ELO.

Last edited by coach joe
@Billbarman posted:

Recently, Trainworld did a run of exclusive LIRR RS3's in blue and yellow, which are great, but unfortunately they have inaccurate "long island" lettering on the hood and cab. I'd like to try and remove this, and even purchased correct "M" decals for the cab, but I'd like to hear opinions on the best way to do this. Ideally, I'd like to remove the lettering without damaging the paint underneath. Any suggestions welcome!

You can see the paint scheme on the model compared to a photo of the real thing below.

The design is correct for the time period, what you are looking to do is the more modern version.

@ThatGuy posted:

The design is correct for the time period, what you are looking to do is the more modern version.

The blue and yellow LIRR Rs3's never had lettering of any sort on the hood and either had the MTA "M" on the cab (sometimes with "long island" written under it in small text) or no M at all. No version of the scheme ever resembled the MTH model.

The older orange and grey "goodfellow" scheme did have "Long Island" on the hood, MTH has actually done both this and the "World's Fair" scheme, which were both pretty accurate. The blue and yellow one however is not.

@Billbarman posted:

For anyone interested, I actually (mostly) completed this project earlier today. I tried using microsol to get the lettering off, but it had basically no effect on whatever bulletproof finish MTH uses. I ended up wet sanding the lettering off the yellow cab successfully without really damaging the paint underneath. I applied correct decals to the same spot.



Bill, any chance you can walk us through your wet sanding process? - 1000 grit sandpaper? Soapy water, rubbing compound, or just plain water? Gloss spray afterwards before decal placement? Etc.  Your results came out fantastic and I want to replicate it for removing the decals under the cab window so I can place on an MTA “M”.  Thanks in advance!

Bill, any chance you can walk us through your wet sanding process? - 1000 grit sandpaper? Soapy water, rubbing compound, or just plain water? Gloss spray afterwards before decal placement? Etc.  Your results came out fantastic and I want to replicate it for removing the decals under the cab window so I can place on an MTA “M”.  Thanks in advance!

Sure, no problem!

I used water and very fine sand paper, about 3000, 2500, and 2000 grit along with regular water and occasionally brushed some microsol onto the area while sanding. This worked well for the cab lettering but not really for the hood letters, which I had to use a heaver sandpaper for and couldn't save the blue paint underneath

After putting the decals on, I weathered the whole thing with different acrylic browns, then clear coated it with tamiya flat clear spray, then added an acrylic wash to certain areas to get dirt into the crevices.

Last edited by Billbarman
@Billbarman posted:

Sure, no problem!

I used water and very fine sand paper, about 3000, 2500, and 2000 grit along with regular water and occasionally brushed some microsol onto the area while sanding. This worked well for the cab lettering but not really for the hood letters, which I had to use a heaver sandpaper for and couldn't save the blue paint underneath

After putting the decals on, I weathered the whole thing with different acrylic browns, then clear coated it with tamiya flat clear spray, then added an acrylic wash to certain areas to get dirt into the crevices.

Thanks Bill. Looking forward to giving this a shot.

Different people use different techniques. I’m partial to wet sanding with fine grit paper, though that may work best if one plans to lightly clear coat and re-decal. That’s what I did on this GP30 to re-number it to a new, later in life, number series:

C1FA3440-CB1F-49D5-8D45-3C18169697D3

Another renumber job, this time with weathering:

09BB839D-2FE1-48C0-9AE5-1ADABC64276E

A long hood is trickier because of hinges, panel lines, and other details. For this AC6000, I used the wet sand technique to  remove and replace the original lettering which was in an unprototypically small font:

93698A7E-02A6-490F-AB8A-3ECFCCBB834F

9BA0185D-839A-4BDF-A141-1AD4F6A48F0E

I think I may have used some Armor Yellow paint to touch up some hinges or other cast-in detail that the original lettering had covered and that weren’t easily sanded. But wet sanding removed the lettering from the flat surfaces. Then some weathering. The key is to work slowly and patiently. It might be necessary to apply a very light clear coat to the area after the lettering is removed  

I’m sure others will chime in with their techniques and tips. You might also try a search to find older posts on the topic.

New Year,

Nice work, Rich. How did you do your number boards? I cheated and stuck reverse-printed (white on black) paper.

Thanks, Matt, I really appreciate the kind words. Good to hear from you. I feel like I “cheated” on the GP 35 when I painted over the old number boards and used decals. On the GP30 I too used reverse printed paper. I wet sanded off the printed design and mounted the paper on the inside. It gives the number boards a recessed look like they are inside a housing.

C19D35DA-0347-4CAC-9A53-2D0F92BD00D4

I don’t like how they look when lighted, though, so at some point I may redo them with the numbers on the outside and use clear plastic or even clear tape to simulate glass.

RM

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Last edited by Rich Montague

This morning I finally worked up the courage to attempt this project on my engine.  Like billbarmen noted above, the solvaset tape method does not work for MTH tampo lettering.  I gave it the full college effort, reapplying solvaset and tape multiple times over the course of an hour without any removal.  I then thought I would try nail polish remover as recommended in a number of videos on the internet. Fortunately, I had the good sense to try this out on an old, broken shell i found in my parts drawer before attempting it on my engine. The nail polish removed the under paint and seemed to slightly damage the underlying plastic so it was quickly ruled out for the engine.  Next, I cut some 2000 grit sandpaper, let it soak in some water with dishwashing soap, and then  rolled it over a small piece of quarter inch wood to make a little sanding tool.  Gently working this in a circular fashion over the “LIRR” letting under the cab window slowly and easily removed the lettering.  I dipped the sandpaper in the soapy water few times during the process and used a napkin to keep the water from accumulating, but other than that, this was a piece of cake and anyone who is in a similar situation should not hesitate like I did.  I noticed a slight removal of some of the surface gloss on the first side I did, but on the second side, when I had a better handle on how gently I could work my sandpaper, almost no surface gloss was removed.  In any event, I always tape and spray on some gloss spray before decaling because I notice this hides the new decal edges better. Then, when everything dries, I give a light dull coat over the decal to better seal it in.

Here is how it looked after the first 30:seconds of sanding in a circular motion -

8DF3447C-B105-4DF5-B1F1-004B7E979A25

And here it is prepped and ready for a base coat gloss spray before decaling (you can see the small sandpaper and wood piece I used) -

6AC518D4-2E19-4CF8-9E4C-1C126CFD49F4

Once everything dries, I’ll place my MTA decal -  hopefully tomorrow.  Fortunately, I kind of like the unprotypical numbering on the number board and the yellow “Long Island” on the hood, so I’m going to keep those, although it does not appear to be that difficult a job with 2000 grit sandpaper if I change my mind.  Don’t hesitate to go with the sandpaper technique and good luck to all attempting this type of removal.

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Last edited by Strap Hanger

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