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I restore old tinplate, primarily for my own use, as one of my favorite aspects of train collecting is finding old, neglected and beat up cars and locomotives and bringing them back to life to run again.  I have yet to find a real quality source for rubber stamps and decals.  Restoring items with metal tabs such 800 series freight cars is quite easy but getting into items that originally had rubber stamped identification is another story.  Bad stampings or bad decals007008 can ruin an otherwise nice job.

The attached pictures are of a 153 locomotive I am bringing back to life.  When I got it, it was a dented rusty hulk.  I am getting close to needing a NYC/153 decal or rubber stamp for it.  I have several passenger cars awaiting decals.  There are many decals on the bay but the few I have purchased have been lousy.

Any help in finding a good source would be appreciated.  Thanks,

Jim Lawson


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Last edited by O Gauge Jim
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Just want to say that the JML rubber stamps/ink and the starter kit are great.
Purchased lots of rubber stamps and still buying stamps for my prewar car as my collection grows.
I practiced stamping paper plates to learn how to apply the pressure in stamping for that crisped look.
If you make a mistake on a car or engine with the stamping this could be corrected with wiping off the mistake with mineral spirits.
Best part of the stamping is that there are no decal lines or sticker lines to worry about and it looks original, the investment is worth it.

I fully endorse the use of the rubber stamps as offered by JLM Trains, as mentioned in a previous post. The stamps are of superior quality, being carefully made using photographs taken of original examples.  The inks are proven, and the instructions are clear. And if needed, Joe will talk you through any rough spots.

Using rubber stamps is the only process that will recreate the appearance of the original trains.

I am a greatly satisfied user of stamps provided by of JLM Trains, with no financial interest in the business - other than having purchased many dozens of them over the years!

Last edited by win86
O Gauge Jim posted:

I am leaning toward Joe's rubber stamps but here is a question.  The 153 locomotive is probably the only one I will do in that series.  So i purchase the NYC oval stamp, the 153 number stamp and use it on one locomotive.  Is there a market on the Forum for used stamps so a small amount of the original investment could be recovered???


I Have many stamps and will not let them go.
The prewar items come up occasionally and you will never know when you will see a deal on a 153 or anything else that you have stamps for that you can not pass up.
If you found another 153 that needs a repaint (severely paint loss or a bad repaint), you could always paint it in a different color that you have or to paint it in a special paint scheme (example: Lionel's blue and orange paint scheme).
If you decide to sell the 153 rubber stamp (I would not do) save my name and I will purchase it from you as you stated "small amount of the original investment".

Here is a before and after picture of a Lionel 158 that I did about a year ago (used rubber stamps).
The Dummy headlights are new/old stock and not repros (repros are different).


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I print my decals on my printer, sometimes they are good and sometimes they print to light depending on the color. You can take your own decal paper to Staples and have them printed on their best printer for some good quality decals.  I also use a sign shop to make vinyl letters for me. They can copy anything but some times it's hard to get small details. Also press type works well. Enclosed are some examples. New York Central and Hood's Milk are decals from my printer. Merry Christmas,  Ryder freight car and Ryder Express are vinyl from a sign shop. All the cars are restored, the Milk car is a Lionel Tin Plate Tender.





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