I have two Proto2000 GP-7 locomotives to re-number. What is the best
(safest) way to remove the numbers on the sides of the locomotives and
from the number boards? I need to re-number them so they will match
the GP-7's used in the area where I model - The Great Northern in
Minnesota. Thanks, George Maher
Well, do you want the best, or safest? ;-)
I have done it several ways.
1. Very carefully remove the numbers with a q-tip damp with alcohol. Do
not soak it, as it will be too strong, and likley take the base coat off
as well. It takes a long time, but you can probably get the numbers off
without removing the paint beneath it.
2. Use an xacto chisel blade, and carefully scrape off the numbers. Be
sure to have the bevelled side of the blade against the surface for
better control. This requires a very steady hand, but will allow you to
remove the letters without removing the paint.
3. Mix a small batch of paint to match the location of the numbers. Mask
around the numbers, and sand them off with a fine sandpaper. Wet sand to
smooth out the surface, and repaint the basecoat. (airbrush works best)
Wet sand again to blend the edges, and apply the new lettering.
I have used 1 and 2 to good results, but not perfect. They work well if
you only want to change 1 or 2 numbers. I have used 3 to chnage the
entire number, and cannot tell which units are not factory numbers
without looking them up.
I don't know if it works on your locomotives, but on many freight car
bodies, I've had success by taking a #1 X-acto knife with the
"straight" blade (I forget the X-acto part number for it) and lightly
"scraping" the numbers off. You just lay the edge of the straight
blade flush with the carbody, and do not apply any more pressure than
the #1 handle's own weight. Basically you just let it barely touch
the lettering as you "wiggle" the knife.
There is very little evidence of anything ever touching the car.
Occassionally you might get a minor scratch on the surface of the car,
but it's where a new number will be anyway and will be covered up.
I've never had problems with any of the old paint beneath the number
coming off, only the silkscreened numbers themselves.
I renumbered a 50 car fleet of MDC 5-bay hoppers to match actual
prototypes that I'd seen locally using this process, and they look
very good. I've also used this technique on some Walthers and Athearn
I just paint over the numbers using matching paint color, then apply new
numbers. On the numberboards I use decal set to remove the old numbers, do
some careful scraping on the part that is stubborn. Apply black paint for
plastic on the numberboard background and apply white decal numbers. All my
locomotives are considered bought used from another railroad like Southern
Pacific, re-lettered and re-numbered for Vista Railway Lines (HO Scale
Thanks for the info, I am just starting the same process on my GP 9
II. I tried using NeverDull, but it was not very successful, and
neither was alcohol. I finally resorted to the Xacto balde, and in the
right light at the right angle you can see the marks, but once the new
numbers went over it, it looks fine.
I am about to try the number boards, and was wondering what to do.
Will try the solvent to lift the numbers, and use the black paint if
The hardest thing is going to be getting the B&O off of the side to
replace it with my T&HL.