How to renumber and weather a locomotive

10 March 2022
For the BRM project layout, 'DHAPR wagon works', we needed a suitably scruffy locomotive. Phil Parker shows how he adapted Bachmann's Class 03.

When your model represents a fictitious private repair yard, it's not possible to buy a locomotive that's ideally suited 'off the shelf'. We need to do the same as the prototype would – take an existing locomotive, and rebrand it.

I start with a Class 03 diesel shunter from the Bachmann Military Manoeuvres train set. It's a really nice model, but someone has bulled it up with plenty of white paint and a nice nameplate. Lovely for a machine that will be on parade with the army, but a bit clean for a hard-working locomotive bought second-hand.

The first stage is to remove the nameplate and numbers from the cab sides. Using car colour restorer rubbed on with a cotton bud, the printed details are removed, leaving only a shiny cab side. Color restorer is a mild abrasive, so care needs to be taken not to rub through the bodyside colour, but it's a technique that works on all printed detail.

I don't have time to re-spray the model, so I'm assuming that my prototype didn't worry either – opting for a cheapskate rebranding by simply slapping their logo on the cab side.

Using some white printable transfer sheet, I make up suitably-sized company logos on the computer and print them on my inkjet printer. It makes sense to produce lots of logos in case the application process goes wrong. I also made some for the company van, and something larger for the building.

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Logo added to the cab sides, the next job is to paint out the white tyres on the wheels and then dry-brush the bufferbeam and chassis with track colour.

After a night spent drying, the model is given a wash of thinned track colour, making sure it gets into all the corners and on those white handrails. It's important to allow the dry-brushing time to fully dry, or you'll lift the paint off with the wash assuming both are enamels. If you are in a rush, do the wash with acrylic as it won't affect the base coat.

To finish, the model gets a light dusting of weathering powder and it's ready for the layout.


More techniques:

Weather a steam loco

Weathering a wagon by dry brushing