Although I still fully endorse the "full side decal" process I started getting interested doing some models with standard decals as a painted finish is admittedly better. Well, and I became frustrated with the performance of the print-your-own decal paper and lack of white ink. The inkjet decal paper is just too thick and doesn't seem to respond to MicroSol to conform to the details.
So, perusing the web I found CMR Products who does print-on-demand decals in odd scales like O and Z.. and they were very happy to do several of their sets for me in 1:450. And good news is I am a fan of the roadnames they already make.
I had a GP40, FP7/9 and few boxcars undecorated from my shop (Shapeways "Smoothest Fine Detail Plastic") so decided to give the fine folks at CMR Products a try -- I emailed and they were very glad to make decal sets of their existing artwork re-scaled to 1:450, and for a very reasonable price!
The GP40 from Shapeways was washed in warm soapy water, with gentle scrubbing with an artists bristle brush. After drying, it got a coat of Tamiya Fine Surface Primer from a rattle can. I touched up a few spots with a sanding stick, then another coat of primer. Then a coat of Tamiya semi-gloss black.. Then a few of the rougher spots remaining from 3D printing got 2-3 brush coats of Future. When that was done, the whole model was brush painted with Future (clear acrylic). Decals were applied and some touch ups done.
As you can see, the decals were crisp, opaque and accurate. They handled extremely well, especially given the tiny size.
I added an air reservoir tank above the fuel tank, made of a piece of electric wire with the end conductor exposed a tiny bit, and painted black. I maybe should have removed the Chessie style rock plow on the pilots.. but eh. It's T. So, the GP40 is ready for trucks and couplers, and a horn to boot, plus weathering--but that's another story (stay tuned).