On my last update on my layout progress, I had just started on adding markings to my streets. For the most part, this project is done, although I still have a few touch ups to make.
I've been preparing for this project for quite some time, so fortunately I was prepared to get in and get this job done! Part of this preparation has been the collection of various street marking products, and I thought it would be interesting to share some of my observations about these products and what other things I've learned.
The primary 'stuff' I planned on using for my street markings comes from Faller (#272451):
There is one small sheet inside each of these Faller boxes, and a plastic tool to help with decal application. The sheet of decals is only about 3 1/2 by 5 inches, so you don't get a lot in each box. Unfortunately, each sheet only includes one complete full street crosswalk section, so I needed quite a few of these for my city streets:
I began with the Faller product as that was all I was aware of at first, but then I discovered that Busch also makes some street markings (# 7197). Pretty much the same markings, and another plastic tool to apply the decals:
TGW from Japan was the other supplier I came across. Not surprisingly, being Japanese rather than German, their markings are quite different, but some of them are 'generic' enough to work well with the German markings.
In addition to rub-on decals, I also decided to use 1/32 Chartpak graphic tape which comes in 1/32 width which seems about right for road markings.
Laid out side by side, the differences between the two German brands was pretty remarkable. Either the Faller stuff is more appropriate for Z scale, or the Busch stuff is closer to TT. Either way, the Faller is noticeably smaller than the Busch decals. Annoying, so now I had to plan to use both in areas where a comparison of the two would not be obvious.
The TGW decals are shown on the left, with the Busch decals on the right with the Faller decals behind them. You can get a sense from looking at these three sets of the disproportionate scales involved.
The obvious Japanese style crosswalks were modified to fit in with the Faller and Busch versions by simply trimming off the long lines on the ends. This works pretty well and nearly matches the look of the Faller crosswalks except for the width.
After some initial / test applications of the decals, I found the arrows, crosswalks, and similar markings to be easy to add. The lane markings and parking stalls were much more difficult to get to apply consistently or correctly. For this reason I had the Chartpak tape.
The tape works okay, but it is a noticeable 'lump' on the street, and I was a bit concerned about how well the thin adhesive of this tape would hold up over time (even with an application of a clear coat to seal everything in).
For this reason I ultimately decided to mask out the majority of the lane markings and parking stalls and use an airbrush to get the markings applied. This was a method I first heard of from Don at Akihabara Station and turned out to be easier and more succesful than I expected! Note that the masking tape WILL remove any decals you've already applied, so if you use both, do the airbrush first, then apply decals!
Below is post-airbrush photo of the city: