Author Topic: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals  (Read 1885 times)

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OldEastRR

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A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« on: March 10, 2014, 06:25:40 AM »
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Not too many positive comments on this forum about MicroScale decals, mostly grumbles, but this one is a plus. I recently used set #60-501, PFE ice reefers 1950-60, and noticed some things different from the "old" sets that dated from the '70s. Most importantly, the PFE decals were spaced out enough that I could cut them apart without wrecking adjacent ones. The old sets, which had just been reduced to half size from the HO ones, also unfortunately had half the space between decals than what had been adequate for HO. Which made you sometimes choose between which decals to destroy and which to save.
Second, the data sheet included was extremely well-informed, with complete marking placements and measurements, data on car series and capacities, and a wealth of additional notes. Quite a change from the old notes with a small line drawing of the equipment and a suggestion to look at old model railroad mags for the info you needed.
Third, the lettering sizes and spacing were exactly identical to my MicroTrains factory-painted PFE R-40-10s, turning my old Atlas/RR 40' ice reefer into a clone of the MTL. (Except of course for my choice of PFE orange, which nobody can get right from car to car) Lettering matches were not always the case: my home-painted REA reefers with MS lettering don't match the MTL REA markings.
Some people say decals are an obsolete craft, but I don't feel that way. Sure there are many factory-painted road names now, but they aren't always available. However, the car type usually is, though in a different road name than you want. Sometimes you can find these as bargains. Or you may own some cars you want to convert to other road names. Instead of selling them and buying new factory-painted ones you could just repaint them, like real railroads do with stock acquired from other lines. It certainly would be cheaper, especially if you are looking for multiples of the same car.
In my case, trying to find any MTL or IMR orange PFE ice reefers is almost impossible (or very expensive), so I've decided to repaint cars I find of the type I want.

bbussey

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2014, 08:33:22 AM »
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I use Microscale to print the decals for all of the ESM kit items.  No complaints here, either with the stock items or the custom work.

Aren't you modeling New Haven specifically, or at least the New England region in general?  Most of that type of reefer traffic was in FGE equipment, of which NH and PRR were participating roads.  Much more of an FGE presence than a PFE presence in New England.
Bryan Busséy
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Scott Lupia

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2014, 08:45:44 AM »
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I have never had a problem with micro scale decals.  Had no idea that others were having problems.

Scott Lupia
"All I wanted was a Pepsi"

C855B

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2014, 09:00:12 AM »
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I wouldn't necessarily take the sudden improvement in quality of execution and support information as an overall change at Microscale. It just so happens that a incredibly well-researched and well-documented series of articles on PFE lettering and placement was published by the UP Historical Society (and possibly the SPT&HS, and others) somewhat recently. While the researcher's name escapes me at the moment, I have attended two of his seminars on PFE lettering. Maybe one of the other UP fans here can refresh my memory. The level and quality of information he gathered is nothing short of amazing.

I would strongly suspect the newer decal sets were produced in consult with the researcher, especially since his objective was researching and disseminating this wealth of knowledge for modeling purposes. What good is great lettering information for modelers without the decal support? Anyway, yes, Microscale gets a gold star for seizing the opportunity, but such opportunities depend on the quality of what is available from the field.
...mike

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craigolio1

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2014, 02:39:40 PM »
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I wish they would include a blown up diagram of what each decal says or what it is. The tiny white decals found on a lot of the sheets are visible once applied to a dark back ground colour but on the sheet I just can't see what they are. I'm having this issue right now. I have 10 BCR boxcars ready to go but I can't figure out what the white decals say.

Craig

peteski

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2014, 06:01:20 PM »
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I wish they would include a blown up diagram of what each decal says or what it is. The tiny white decals found on a lot of the sheets are visible once applied to a dark back ground colour but on the sheet I just can't see what they are. I'm having this issue right now. I have 10 BCR boxcars ready to go but I can't figure out what the white decals say.

Craig

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James Costello

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2014, 06:39:50 PM »
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...and a sharpie on the back of the decal paper.
James Costello
Espee into the 90's

mmagliaro

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 08:52:08 PM »
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Here's another vote for Microscale being excellent decals.  I didn't know anyone was complaining.
I've always found their dimensional data to mostly be better than anyone else's.   It's usually much more readable than
other brands I've tried.


Mike Madonna

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 10:27:21 PM »
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...and a sharpie on the back of the decal paper.

James,
Does this allow one to see the "white" lettering better against the light blue paper?
Mike
SOUTHERN PACIFIC Coast Division 1953
Santa Margarita Sub

bbussey

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2014, 11:24:36 PM »
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...and a sharpie on the back of the decal paper.

That's brilliant.  Never thought of doing that all of these decades.
Bryan Busséy
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James Costello

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2014, 12:47:26 AM »
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That's brilliant.  Never thought of doing that all of these decades.

I can't take credit for it - I'm sure I read it here.  :D
James Costello
Espee into the 90's

OldEastRR

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2014, 01:13:30 AM »
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Most of that type of reefer traffic was in FGE equipment, of which NH and PRR were participating roads.

True. But as the photo on page 140 of Lynch's "New Haven Passenger Trains" shows, PFE orange did appear randomly among the FGE yellow. I also have MS FGE decals to be applied to other cars.
And my layout is "New Haven-ish", so as to avoid the dreaded prototype police.

bbussey

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2014, 01:43:40 AM »
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I never said PFE equipment didn't make it to New England.  But it sounded as if you were decorating a fleet of N scale PFE equipment, and PFE wasn't nearly as prevalent as FGE, Swift and others.

There also are a handful of accurate models of FGE prototypes in N, just as there are accurate PFE models.  The InterMountain 40' wood reefer is an FGE prototype.  So is the MTL riveted mechanical reefer.  And Atlas has had the 50' boxcar for years.  The Con-Cor 40' steel reefer with plug door has FGE sides, but you have to kitbash it with the roof and ends of an InterMountain ice reefer to be fully accurate.

I also have some PFE models, but I unloaded most of what I had due to it not being accurate.  I have one of the MTL 40' steel ice reefers, but from the Prototype N Scale limited run set which featured the correct paint scheme for my era.  I also have an InterMountain 40' steel reefer.  But reefer-wise, I've focused on FGE, Swift and some of the other meat packers that appeared regularly on New England rails.
Bryan Busséy
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peteski

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2014, 05:05:35 AM »
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I can't take credit for it - I'm sure I read it here.  :D

This is like deja-vou all over again. See https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=31988.0  Craig was the same person having difficulty seeing white decals.  Sharpie, naptha, Optivisor, and bright light were already mentioned there.  Craig also left the last question unanswered.  I was only trying to gather more info.

I'm also surprised to hear that "old" (whatever that means) Microscale decals were troublesome. I have used them for decades and I never had problems, or heard of problems with them.  Does anybody (OldEastRR) have any specific on those problems?
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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garethashenden

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Re: A word about the "new" MicroScale decals
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2014, 06:05:19 AM »
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At risk of thread drift, what is a good resource for reefer modeling? Thinking more "what cars are appropriate for a region/era" rather than "how do I make this car exactly perfect"