Saturday, June 15, 2024

Part 9 - New Haven DEY-3 (Alco S-1) #0967: Decaling/Lettering/Gauges(?!)

Decaling is one of my favorite parts of a project - and often the most harrowing. But it's a pretty straightforward process (which I go into detail about here) and really makes your model unique.

For the 0967, I used custom-made decals from Highball Graphics (which are now available to everyone here), and builder's plate decals from Microscale.

Since decaling IS pretty straightforward, I'll just make a few special notes and give a few tips here. . .

I mentioned that I used Badger's black Stynylrez as my primer AND topcoat for the frame. Well, the only downside of that is that it dries flat - not idea for decal application. Frankly, I'd forgotten about the lettering on the end sills until I started decaling. Thankfully, there's an easy workaround: Apply Future floor polish with a brush to where you're going to apply the decal, let it dry, then decal as usual. You can see the difference in the sheen above, but the difference disappears with subsequent clear coats and weathering. Easy peasy.

The numbers on the side of the cab were relatively easy to locate since Mike used precisely the same rivet pattern as on the prototype. So, I'm literally a rivet counter - I counted the number of rivets down the side to figure the height of the number - and then I just centered the number below the split window. The "New Haven" on the side of the hood is located just ahead of the 2nd hood door and just covers the 2nd door from the right.

As for the proper height? Here's your first ProTip: Don't do as I did . . . The good news is that I was able to use enough MicroSol to finally get the decal to snug down over the door handles. The bad news is that the decal should have been placed just below the door handles - then they wouldn't have been a problem. Thankfully, it's not that noticeable. Of course, now that I told you, you'll notice it . . .%^)

The fireman's side is better, as you can see above. Since the 0967 is always pointed south on the Valley Line, you always see the fireman's side. So that's good. Of course, all the cool details (air whistle, cab signal box) are on the Engineer's side. Oh well. Pick your poison dessert. Now both sides have good & bad points. :^\

These are the number boards - and here's your next ProTip: If your number decals are clear numbers on a black background - and your numberboards aren't lit (mine aren't), you will never see the numbers(!) Thankfully, there's an easy fix: Paint the clear numberboards gloss white! "Gloss" to make decal application easy, "white" so that the numbers show up. I applied the paint with a toothpick.

The last decals I did were on the front of the hood and the back of the cab, positioned as you see here. And note the numberboards - taped to hold them in place for painting and decaling.

I'll end with something super cool - at least to me. In the pic above, you'll see that my masking of the gauges worked well. And before I go any further - NO! - the cab interior is NOT "too dark." I have it on indisputable authority (Jack Swanberg, if you must know, who literally wrote the book on "New Haven Power") that DEY-3 cab interiors (at least before the November, 1947 batch were delivered) were initially painted "dark green" (see Shoreliner Vol. 35, #1, p.5). Later deliveries were painted the gray (or light "institutional" green) we're more familiar with.

ANYway, back to the gauges . . . I wanted to paint green around the gauges themselves, and didn't want to try to do it by hand using a brush - even a teeny tiny one. Somebody on the Valley Local Facebook Group (if it's you, say so in the comments here :^) mentioned offhand using MicroMask to cover the gauges. I accepted the challenge - and in the photo above, you can barely make out the fact that the gauges are covered with a blue fluid. . . That's MicroMask, applied with a toothpick to each guage.

I shot another coat of green over the cab interior, and then used the tip of a toothpick to just start to peel off the MicroMask - and used a tweezer to peel it off. See the result above. In hindsight, I shouldn't have bothered masking that center area - which I suspect now should have an "Alco/GE" emblem. Ah well - "next time"

I've used MicroMask on headlight lenses before, but never on anything this small - and now that I've discovered it works, I think that's a pretty good tip!

Once I got the builder's plates on (you can just make them out on the lower left corner of the cab), I couldn't help dry-fitting everything together to see how it looked. Pretty good! Now we're ready for weathering - but that'll have to wait until next time . . .

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