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By Stathis Tsolis on

LMS Steam Weekend: applying LMS varnish fix transfers

Take a look behind the scenes with our conservation team as they prepare for LMS Steam Weekend.

Over the past 15 months, we’ve been restoring the 5987 LMS 3rd Class Corridor Brake.

Our original plans for a Period III livery scheme (1940-49) were changed when Adrian Ashby, painter and leader of the Duchess support crew, had the idea of recreating the Coronation Scot livery to match the Streamlined 6229. This is what we did – and the carriage will now be coupled behind Duchess of Hamilton for the LMS Shuttle Weekend this weekend. The carriage will then be on display in Great Hall.

The 5987 LMS 3rd Brake in 2001 in Standard LMS Livery
The 5987LMS 3rd Brake in 2001 in Standard LMS livery.

The repainting of the 5987 gave us the opportunity for an application of varnish fix transfers: it was and still is common practice to apply the Company Crest, and frequently numbers and letters, using special transfers. If you’re familiar with railway or airfix models, the method has similarities with the application of water-based transfers, only in full scale rather than on a 00-gauge model.

"Publicity That Sticks". Application instructions on the back of a historical tansfer dated 1957
“Publicity That Sticks”. Application instructions on the back of a historical tansfer dated 1957

The transfers are produced using screen-printing methods from companies specialised in railway transfer insignia. Although transfers come with instructions, the LMS Carriage Association has produced a technical sheet with a detailed description of the method.

Taking no risks. We tried several different varnish/solvent mixes and drying times before the actual application.

The application of the transfers took place in two stages. We used a test panel to try different mixes of varnish and drying times. Once we found the ideal formula, we applied two LMS crests to the centre of the vehicle’s sides.

LMS Crest
The LMS Crest transfer on the side of the carriage. The final coat of gloss is yet to be applied.

Instead of boring you with how we did it, we shot a quick video that we hope will be self-explanatory.

A future post will be dedicated to the conservation work carried out on the LMS 3rd Brake.

4 comments on “LMS Steam Weekend: applying LMS varnish fix transfers

  1. I have been studying the NRM for my business AS level coursework and this has been a fab example to use in my coursework!

  2. I have suitable artwork for the numbering of a 1924 teak carriage and would like to try varnish transfers. Who makes the transfers from the artwork?

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