Can you wrap it please?

So here is a bonkers thought process

  • I volunteered to do a demo at the 7mm NGA Bradford Open Day that is on the 10th November 2018 and I asked for suggestions as to what it should be. Discounting the idea of making a prawn curry (not a great fan of prawns) I was already thinking lining of models when this was suggested.
  • I have an NGG16 to paint like 138 above and its all assembled and going to be a bit of a bugger to do. It’s a while since I did any lining so some practice might be a good idea.
  • They vinyl wrap real trains. I wonder if that’ll work in model form.


So, how’s this going to work?  Well, at the moment its all just theory.

Plain Decal Sheet.

As it comes out of the packet you get two sheets of clear, see through, water slide decal paper

Decal Sheet Painted with Body colour

Using spray paint cans from Halfords the sheets have been painted with thin coats of car paint.

The top sheet has just got the body colour on it and is the bright red it shows on the can lid

The lower sheet was first sprayed with gloss black and then coated with the red. As you can see it takes it to a darker shade. The loco that is going to get painted is currently black so whilst practicing

The use of car paint which is either acrylic or cellulose based is key to the painting process. This is because the lining is going to be done in Humbrol enamel and its thinners won’t affect the body colour. This should all be revealed later.

Weapons of Choice

It’s been awhile since I did any lining on a loco as my usual fare of American Narrow Gauge engines tend to be black with a layer of filth.  Many years ago I lined locos so it’ll just be time for a bit of practice.

My first weapon and what I used to use years ago is a Bob Moore Master Lining Pen for which I have the standard head and a fine head.
The actual bit that delivers the paint is a fine tube and paint is delivered by capillary action to the surface giving a line the same size as the tube.

You are supposed to use fresh paint and thin it with lighter fuel as its thinner than the Humbrol thinners.

This is the traditional tool for the job, Sprung or Bow Pens.

Now this set is one that was prepared for me by a self confessed enthusiast for these things, Chris Meachan. He took an antique, quality set and tuned the tips and to get even and consistent flows from all the pens.

Again is capillary action drawing the paint down the pen but with the adjusting screw the user can set the width of the line.

As I have said its been awhile since I did any of this so I expect to have to do quite a bit of practice before getting the version I am happy to put on the loco. If my memory serves there is a knack to the Lining Pen which takes a bit of getting. You have to hold it at the right angle and then the end sort of floats on the paint. Get it wrong and it scratches the base coat. I don’t think I ever got the fine tip to work consistently.

The bow pens work really well but you need to do quite a lot of practice and prep to get them all drawing the same width line and flowing smoothly but this is repaid by the curved lines being consistent thickness with the straights


There are a load of little curves to join up the straight lines and whilst the compass bow pen may do these a standard pen or the the lining pen drawn around a template is another way to do this. I looked online and had one of those “How Much!” moments and then decided I could do something with the gear I have here.​

Take a sheet of 20thou Plasticard and a Olfa Cutter.

Two larger discs were cut out the same size as was a smaller one to form the centre spacer.

The holes in the middle were opened out to take an 8BA screw as a means of alignment and to get some solvent glue into the middle.

Using a punch set I bought some time ago to make headlight lenses [Cookson Gold Online, if you want one) I punched out a disc of plastic for each diameter it could do.

Basically, you slide the material in the slot between the upper and lower plates, insert the right size punch and belt it with a hammer and it punches a disk of plastic out.

This tool is a fairly recent acquisition but is already in the “how did I ever manage without” category.


The punched out discs were arranged around the edge of the large disc, arranged to overhang and then glued with some solvent.

This version of the gauge has all the sizes on it but now I know I can make them easily I may make specific ones for particular jobs.



Finally,  the top layer larger disc was glued on and a bit of faffing around in PagePlus produced a label


So, the cunning plan is to do the lining on the body colour decal sheet working on the flat with all the aids of a drawing board to set it out. Then the deal is cut right up to the lining and applied to the model.

Will it work?

Tune in for the next exciting episode….

2 thoughts on “Can you wrap it please?

  1. The radius template is a neat idea. I too have struggled with lining straight onto models, but have had more success once I started using a bow pen onto decal film to draw straight lines in various widths, and colours. The curves though were always a mess. I think you have solved my problem

    • Hold fire. After yesterdays practice at the 7mm NGA open day the radius template wasn’t the success it might have been on the smaller curves. More detail in the next thrilling blog installment

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