Adding Graffiti To Model Trains

There was a time when rail cars only had their identifying markings and patina, which was and is the result of traveling thousands of miles over rails throughout the United States, and it is quite likely that this is true of railcars which are run in other countries as well.

As modelers, we strive for the highest levels of realism when we build our model train layouts, and if there is one thing which has changed about the appearance of prototypical rail cars is almost all have been marred with graffiti.

Even if you disagree with this type of illegal vandalism and property damage, you have little choice when weathering your cars……you have to include graffiti, as this is a common part of the appearance of prototypical rail cars.

Before you can begin applying graffiti to rolling stock you may want to complete other types of weathering such as rust spots, grime, or dirt.

Rust spots can be created by applying clear varnish to the areas you want rusted, which should then be followed by dabbing rust colored powdered chalks on the wet varnish. When adding rust spots you may also want to consider adding them to the top of your car as well.

Try using Poly Scale colors for weathering. For example, L&N Gray works well for dust, as does Engine Black for road grime and soot, and Roof Brown works well for dark rust colors.

Spray L&N Gray on the running gear, ends, and roof edges, and also use this color to make streaks on the cars body. You might try Engine Black to the cars underside and any place which you think should have extra grime.

Tip: If you are new to model railroading you may want to practice a little bit on older cars or extra pieces of plastic you may have on hand.

Adding graffiti is made easy today by companies like Blair Lines who make decals which are based on real life tags. Tags are what are known as signatures made by graffiti painters and various gangs. If you are a bit of an artist you can try painting these tags on your rolling stock rather than using the decals which can be purchased by Blain Lines as mentioned, as also by other companies who sell them as well.

If you decide to try your hand at painting graffiti on your cars you’ll want to use pens which are called Gel pens. For creating graffiti you will want to buy those pens which have a fine point. Because most rolling stock has a glossy type of surface finish you should spray your car with a flat finish spray before painting on the graffiti. Try using a variety of different colors for a more eye catching effect.

You may also want to try using inks which are sold at most art and craft stores. Using inks will allow you to create much more elaborate and interesting graffiti.

How To Tag Your Trains

You should begin by cutting away as much of the clear decal film as you reasonably can. By doing so only the printed area will remain.

Next, dip the decal you are working with in a dish of water and leave the decal submerged until you can actually slide the decal off of the backing paper.

Before applying the decal to the surface of your car, apply some decal setting solution to the area which you have selected. Now, slide the decal and place it in position on the cars body. If the decal does not move easily apply a little more setting solution.

When you have the decal exactly where you want it then apply Some Solvaset on it. This product softens the decal and makes it look as though it had been painted on the body of the car.