Graffiti is an unfortunate but absolutely necessary aspect of modeling today’s railroads. Since The Hills Line is firmly set in the modern era, tags are ever present on buildings, bridges, and rolling stock.
Fortunately the process is made easier thanks to some readily available commercial products. Blair Line’s laser-cut decals come in a wide variety of attractive and effective patterns, and simplify the trimming process for a cleaner installation. Versions are available that work on both structures as well as freight cars.
There’s nothing ground breaking about my decaling process. Dip it in warm water, slide it in place, then apply a generous amount of Microscale Micro Set solution, and let it dry. Depending on how old I want the graffiti to appear, I’ll add some weathering powders or other materials after it’s dry and set.
Since I had everything setup for decaling, I went ahead and tagged a few of my covered hoppers, which always seem to get hit more than tank cars or other rolling stock. Blair Line includes versions that feature a straight bottom edge to help replicate the common style of railroad graffiti.
Whether you believe graffiti is vandalism or art… or even somewhere in between, it plays a key role in telling the story of our layouts.