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Making Transfers

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Copyright © 2005-2012
James Makin
Wells Green TMD

Model Rail Magazine October 2004 - Ginsters Class 158

'Cornwall's local speciality'

Vinyls have become increasingly common on British trains over the last decade, particularly as liveries change so frequently and operators seek additional revenue through advertising. At over 150ft long, a two-car Class 158 provides a large and very mobile canvas on which to sell advertising space and in early-2003, one of the more notable livery changes took place on five Wales & Borders units.

The DMUs (158819/821/825/827/841) received a black and yellow vinyl livery containing two large body-side 'Ginsters' logos and one small logo, and a Cornish beach-scene, together with a different 'hand-painted' style advertising poster on each side close to the corridor connections, and even Ginsters logos on the roof!

I particularly admire some of today's brightly coloured advertising liveries, and when I first saw the livery I knew immediately I had to make a model of it!
At the time however, I was working on a number of other modelling projects, so I never got round to it until earlier this year, when a conversation with fellow club members about class 158’s reminded me of the 'Ginsters' livery I had wanted to model.



The model is a cheap second-hand Bachmann class 158, which was repainted using Humbrol colours.
Using prototype pictures from magazines such as RAIL and the internet, as a guide, I started painting the model. Originally, Railmatch Warning panel yellow was to have been used on the doors and cab-fronts, but I decided to substitute this for Humbrol Matt Lemon yellow (99), which gave a brighter look to the model. Gloss orange was used to paint the cantrail warning line, and to touch-in the orange lights above the centre bodyside window.

After masking the doors and cab fronts, the bodysides were airbrushed with Humbrol gloss black (21), thinned down to the consistency of milk using enamel thinners. The roof was then painted light grey. Doorframes were painted black to represent the rubber that surrounds the doors, and took some careful masking to try and achieve a neat finish over the yellow paint!

Making transfers

The transfers were made using 'Supercal' decal sheets, obtained from Galaxy Models & Hobbies, Ipswich. I used white-backed transfer paper for the main 'Ginsters' logos and clear transfer paper for the beach image in the centre of each carriage. To use transfer paper, you need to find your images and load them onto a PC for eventual printing out onto the paper. Although the best way to get the images would be to photograph the prototype unit, my method was nothing more technical than to buy a Cornish Pasty and digitally-photograph the logo on the side of the packet!

Once loaded onto the PC, the 'Ginsters' logo was modified to represent the prototype using Adobe PhotoShop. The 'beach scene' image and the two colourful posters proved more difficult, however.
Fortunately, I had actually got a copy of one of the 'posters' on a double-sided Ginsters advertising poster given out free with a magazine a couple of years ago. This was the blue poster with the slogan "In Cornwall, Only The Birds Get Peckish".

The other side to this was an orange poster which was not identical to the prototype unit, (which has a yellow poster) and slightly inaccurate. I felt that the overall appearance was more important, than one detail being replaced, as I might not have been able to source a poster to the same quality as the blue 'poster' image I already had.
Digital photographs were taken of these images which were then loaded onto the PC and modified using Adobe PhotoShop. Finally, the beach image was taken directly from an identical rectangular image on the Ginsters website, and then 'cut' to create a jagged look, as seen on the prototype.

Printing the transfers

The Ginsters logos and 'posters' were printed onto White Supercal paper, but the problems started when, for whatever reason, the printer's ink would not dry on the posters and the colours ran into each other. I overcame this problem by using Epson Matt Heavyweight paper for the posters, attached to the model using varnish.
The transfers were sprayed with Supercal "Last Step" decal coating to ensure that when you immerse the transfers in water the ink does not come off, and that the transfer is fully protected.
Once dry and ready to use, the red Ginsters logo transfers were cut to fit round the window frames, and Humbrol Signal Red (174) was used to touch up the transfers around the windows.

The 'beach scene' used clear transfer sheet to take advantage of the tiny 'cut' lines that had been made on the computer. You have to cut very close to the desired image in order to get a good finish, and trimming round the individual jagged 'cut' line would be very tricky. White paint was applied to the area to provide a background for the transfer and when dry the image was added. I used Gloss black to touch-up the area where the white over-ran the image.
Finally, Fox Transfers' electrification warning signs and vehicle numbers were added to the model in the appropriate places, and the whole thing 'sealed in' with two coats of Railmatch matt varnish.


The underframe was weathered using a combination of light rusty colours and darker browns, airbrushed on, and weathered black was used to represent exhaust dirt on the roof.

Overall, I believe I have created an unusual model that attracts plenty of attention when running at exhibitions.
I like to think of the model as 'my interpretation' of the livery, it has some faults which cannot now be corrected easily – the roof should be silver, (my pictures of the unit had cloudy skies in them and the roof looked grey!), but hopefully I have captured the general ‘look and feel’ of the prototype.
The project wasn't that difficult to do, just slightly time-consuming, having to combat all sorts of unexpected problems that crop up!

Supercal Transfer paper isn’t cheap, but once you have made the initial investment, the possibilities are endless – I already plan to do a model of 47355 Avocet in Fragonset’s 'freight livery' and should I get round to completing my project to scratchbuild a class 319, my thoughts are turning to how the unit might look like in Blue 'Continental Airlines' livery! 

Article reproduced courtesy of Model Rail Magazine

Text copyright © 2004 James Makin