Author Topic: Black numberboards with white numbers  (Read 663 times)

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garethashenden

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Black numberboards with white numbers
« on: January 12, 2018, 01:35:54 AM »
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I'm approaching the painting stage of my GP18 project and I've been trying to plan everything out in my head before I get to it. One area that has me puzzled is what to do about the numberboards. On the prototype they're black with white numbers. On the model they're clear plastic. The decal sheet includes white numbers. One option is to paint the numberboards black, then decal them and leave it alone. That may be the thing to do, but is it the right thing to do? How will that look when they're illuminated? The numberboards and the same molding as the headlights, so they're light up to some extent.

I feel like I'm missing something obvious. Any help would be appreciated.

peteski

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Re: Black numberboards with white numbers
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 02:10:12 AM »
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If you paint them black, then the light will not pass through the paint, so this would work only for non-illuminated number boards.  Actually this is how the Scale Trains "Big Blow's" number boards are done at the factory (and they are supposed to be illuminated).  Oops!  :facepalm:

Microscale number board decals I have are black ink printed on transparent decal film. Those are to be applied over white colored surface. Either a piece of white styrene, or clear styrene painted white.  Since white styrene and white paint does not fully block the light, illuminating them from behind will yield the desired result.

I suppose that if you had a laser printer you could print your own decal the same way Micro-scale does theirs.  Or you could print them on white decal film which will give you nice white-on-black number boards which can be back-lit.
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garethashenden

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Re: Black numberboards with white numbers
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 12:55:32 PM »
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Thanks Peteski. I hadn't thought about separate numberboard decals. I've ordered a set of the Microscale ones. It sounds like it will work.

amato1969

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Re: Black numberboards with white numbers
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 01:40:29 PM »
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Excel is your friend for locomotive numberboards - individual numbers are extremely tedious to work with!  Here's an example of where I modeled white letters on black :

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=36505.msg476087#msg476087

  Frank

sixpakpop

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Re: Black numberboards with white numbers
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 03:21:19 PM »
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John Sing's technique allows black background with lights that shine through.

https://web.archive.org/web/20151002184854/http://home.comcast.net/%7Eatsf_arizona_2/Easy_N_Scale_Locomotive_Numberboards.html


Here's his "wayback machine" website:

https://web.archive.org/web/20151002184727/home.comcast.net/%7Ej.sing/

And if you aren't worried about light shining through, there's Shellscale decals.

http://shellscale.com/
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craigolio1

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Re: Black numberboards with white numbers
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2018, 03:17:05 PM »
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I use the excel method on white decal paper. I find that MS clear backed numbers look terrible unless you paint the surface white. That's great for locos with clear inserts, but I have made my own on resin models or older non lit models with inserts (like original Kato SD40-2).

Paint the inside surface black, then fill the space with Krystal Klear, paint a tiny bit around the edges black so there is no light bleed, then apply the decal.

Turns out great and you never have to apply 16 tiny numbers in perfect alignment again!!!

Craig

Edit:

And when the decal is dry apply a bit of Kristal Klear on top as smoothly as you can. Once it sets but is not fully cured, use the shiny side of a flat piece of styrene to stamp it so it's perfectly flat. Gives you a bit of the effect of the glass panel on the front.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 03:20:27 PM by craigolio1 »

peteski

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Re: Black numberboards with white numbers
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 04:18:38 PM »
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Or buy an Alps MicroDry printer which can print black and white ink, and design and print your own number board decals. Any size, any typeface. Problem solved.  :D
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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