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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Bill Gill Posted - 04/30/2015 : 08:04:52 AM

The upper sign is a regular typeface from my computer. The lower one is a Letterbashed version of the same typeface that was made to fit this particular wall and to suggest a slightly older time period.

Back in March, in the Mid Scale forum, John Holt asked about finding RR fonts for printing decals:
Several members suggested sources and showed examples of decals they designed and printed.

Custom lettering on signs helps make our models unique. One option I suggested was "Letterbashing" a typeface to fit his needs. Because handpainting scale size signs is a real challenge, Letterbashing is a method I'm developing for modifying type fonts from your computer to look more like hand lettering that better fits your time and place.

On Saturday, May 30th I'll be doing a workshop on Letterbashing at the New England/Northeast Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet in Collinsville, Connecticut http://www.neprototypemeet.com/Welcome.html
There'll be some background on signpainting, comparisons of type vs handpainting, and an introduction to using GIMP and Inkscape for making model signs for all scales and time periods.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Michael Hohn Posted - 06/14/2020 : 10:16:23 AM
Very impressive and extremely recalistic. Beautiful classic old buildings, the signs especially. You’ve done an excellent job.

BurleyJim Posted - 06/14/2020 : 07:35:43 AM
Very nice Philippe in any scale!

CandPS Posted - 06/14/2020 : 04:43:17 AM
Thank you Bill and George,
In N-scale I really try to keep the dimensions correct.
For example I tend to use polystyrene strips cut from evergreen sheets with a thickness of .005in, which is about 1 inch in prototype. to avoid this standard N-scale look.

Still experimenting a lot with lettering. The transfer of the lettering on the clap board false front of the restaurant (building on the left) was not flawless. I had to repaint the H (of Lunch) and in N-scale. Not perfect, but I left it that way.

George D Posted - 06/12/2020 : 9:11:28 PM
Great job on the buildings, Philippe.

Like Bill, I'm impressed that they are N scale.

Bill Gill Posted - 06/12/2020 : 9:08:35 PM
Thanks for posting those signs, CandPS. They really fit the buildings and the time period.
They look great in any scale, but those are N scale!
CandPS Posted - 06/12/2020 : 4:40:13 PM
Thought I post my last buildings representing Seattle in 1890s here, because of teh use of leters and signs on the buildings. I try to stay close to the prototype and use photoshop elements to make the walls. Buildings are made from scribed printed paper and styrene.
The furniture factory can be seen here:


Bill Gill Posted - 01/03/2020 : 4:17:55 PM
Thanks, Karl, and everyone interested in handlettering, or at least how handlettering looks compared to contemporary computer fonts. Once you see the difference, sticking Arial and Helvetica onto 1930s-40s or earlier models suddenly will look like this:

Speedball has a little lettering guide paperback that has been around forever, and in many editions. It is great for getting a feel for how signs and posters used to be made.
Here's a link to archive.org that brings up the 16th edition of the Speedball Lettering and Poster Guide book online. If you click on the pages you can read through the entire book.

This link goes to PRINT Magazine which has the 14th edition on line here

k9wrangler Posted - 01/03/2020 : 1:35:28 PM
Great thread, a subject close to my heart for years. Not sure how I missed it the first time around but enjoyed it even ordered a couple books from Amazon to have at hand.

Odd timing, I just sent off a Corel file to Highball Graphics for some new decals for my model railroad projects. I lean heavily on Rail-Fonts New York Central lettering font Grand Central for much of my lettering.
Bill Gill Posted - 01/03/2020 : 08:58:59 AM
Hi Philippe,

Your signmaking techniques worked very well! Thanks for the information on how you did them.
You are right, there were lots of signs on old buildings. You are off to a good start with yours.
Thanks for taking a look a Letterbashing.
CandPS Posted - 01/03/2020 : 05:04:23 AM
Hi Bill,

Thank you for your answer in the December 2019 gallery on the signs in my N-scale buildings.
I model end of 19th century Seattle and both buildings are based on prototypes. To catch the spirit of that period, I need a a lot of lettering and signs on buildings.So I have been experimenting with it. I did not use decals.
I used different methods for both buildings. The brown building (Polson Implement) I jut prepared the walls in Adobe Elements and printed them. The other building (Boston House), I used a different method. The building is made of polystyrene clapboard and corrugated aluminum foil. I transferred the Owl cigar sign and the other printed text on a primed aluminum foil, cut the foil up in appropriate panels and corrugated them using two caps of bottles having the correct corrugation pattern for N scale. Then reassembled the sign on foam board, resulting in the sign now being on a corrugated wall.

Bill Gill Posted - 09/23/2017 : 5:09:14 PM
Hi Rob, I missed your reply back in August. Thank you for checking out this thread.

John, GIMP can take a bit of getting used to. It has a few quirky ways of doing things. But it also usually has several different ways of doing the same thing and some may seem more 'natural' or 'logical' depending on how you approach stuff like that.
The results you can get are worth the initial learning investment.
You are right that most GIMP info and tutorials are working with photos or creating artwork rather than doing much with type fonts, but some of the techniques used for art and photos carry over to "Letterbashing" and you can create finished art work
suitable for decal printing. If you have questions about GIMP or how to do various things with it, please feel free to contact me. I have a fair amount of experience with some techniques, but there is a lot more to the software than I've ever attempted.
john holt Posted - 09/23/2017 : 3:22:20 PM

Thanks for recalling my post on graphics. I have GIMP 2 loaded on my computer but have had little time to fool with. After reading your post, I have ordered a beginners book on using GIMP. Most books are geared towards the photo manipulation side of GIMP and not the graphics part. The book I ordered specifically mentioned graphics, so I hope it will be of help.
Unfortunately, Rail Graphics will be going out of business at the end of this year. You can still order decals from them now but have to meet their "graphics software" requirements. I am software poor now, so I am working with a sign/banner/T-shirt printing shop in town to get my order prepared for sbmitting to Rail Graphics.
In the near future, I hope to print some decals with my laser printer. Mastering GIMP will sure be a great help.
All my best to those on the forum....John
robchant Posted - 08/31/2017 : 12:32:55 PM
Hi Bill,

Very interesting thread. I really like the term "Letterbashing."

Take care,
Bill Gill Posted - 09/19/2016 : 07:29:02 AM
jbvb, it was good to meet you too at the NEB&W. Thanks for your ideas and suggestions. If you are interested in Letterbashing, contact me.

Incidentally for any forum members who did go by the RPI layout during the convention, John Nehrich invited anyone who took photos of the layout to post them on the club's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NEB&W
jbvb Posted - 09/18/2016 : 11:49:11 PM
I missed 'Letterbashing' because I was judging, but it was nice to hear background on the NEB&W.

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