Renumbering Coaches


Tom Cunnington


29th December 2019

Reading Time

3 minutes

Here’s a simple project to renumber coaches to avoid having duplicates on the layout or make them specific to your region. These are Bachmann Mk1 sleepers – for the ‘next’ project, and with 3 of both types (SLSTP and SLF) in the rake I needed to renumber at least 4. They’ve been converted to EM and had Kadee couplings fitted.

Stage one is to remove the old numbers. It’s possible to use a colour patch, but in this case they are easy enough to remove using isopropyl alcohol and a cotton bud. The trick is to let the paint soften slightly before rubbing too hard, then keep a medium level of force so as not to damage the underlying blue whilst removing the white.

Having left the remaining alcohol to evaporate and paint to reharden for a couple of days, the new numbers (which in this case were from Fox Transfers) are cut out of the carrier sheet with a sharp scalpel and soaked briefly in warm water with tweezers. They are then placed into roughly the right position, and the carrier paper is moved away with a scalpel blade or a cocktail stick. If it gets sticky on the coach, just add another drop or two of water to the coach side to provide enough moisture for it to slide without creasing.


The number is lined up with the faint remains of the old number’s position, and then when confident it is in the right place use a brand new cotton bud and roll it flat and at the same time soaking up the water. I normally work from the middle to one side, then roll again from the middle to the other side.

Leave it to dry overnight and it should be ready for whatever comes next – in this case it will be some weathering.


If you’ve found this useful, why not check out other blogs – including building track, converting models to EM Gauge or about our layouts including Minories

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