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These are the supplies I used to finish my equipment.

Future Floor Finish
Micro Set
Champ Decal-Set
Floquil Clear Flat
Polly-S Flat finish
Deft Satin Wood Finish
Foam Rubber for the Micro Sol

My previous experience with decaling was with Microscale decals in N-scale. I just used their system and they worked great.  They were thin-filmed decals. I now make my own with an ALPS printer on Walthers paper. They are given a coat of Flat Clear Floquil to maintain their integrity. This is my current method of decaling.
I use Future Floor Finish to give the decaling area a smooth glossy surface. I now coat the whole car side to maintain an even finish on the side. It is brushed on. The future is self leveling.
The decal is cut from the sheet and the position is determined before placing the decal in water. Use distilled or filtered water.
The decal is placed on the car body while still wet. A straight edge is used to align the decal with the horizontal. It is best to make up a template for locating the lettering in the horizontal. The caboose had the window tops as a reference.
Pat the decal dry with a tissue. Apply the first application of Champ Decal-Set. Decal-Set works best with my decals on this surface. After the initial application of decal solvent DO NOT TOUCH the decal until the decal surface has dried.
Apply the Champ Decal-Set until the decal settles down. It will get a crinkled appearance. This is the second application.
After the second Decal-Set application run a dull single edge razor blade down the siding board grooves. The decal should almost be dry but still pliable. The dull blade will push the soft decal into the grooves but not cut the decal. Apply more solvent.
The third solvent application should have the decal taking the contour of the siding. I apply a coat of Polly S Flat Clear with a brush to the whole car side.
This will make the decal edges disappear under most lighting situations.

Using a spray can of Floquil Flat Clear, a light coat is applied to the car side to tie all the surfaces together.  Here I have masked the windows with masking tape.
The finished caboose. It still needs a wash of dark brown to weather the body and the underframe weathered
The Bachmann 2-8-0 required a different approach. The model already has a semi-gloss finish. I cleaned the surface with ammonia cleaner. The decals were applied with Micro Scale Micro Set. I found that the Champ Decal Set dissolved the decal and distorted them on the gloss surface. It also removed the white pinstriping on the cab. The decals on the cab were painted with Future Floor Finish to give a glossy sheet metal look.
The tender was sprayed with satin Deft spray after the decals were settled over the rivets. This gives a 1905 era glossy look to the tender body. 1905 era locomotives are also black and wiped clean.
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The Champ Decal-Set distorted the decal on the Bachmann semi-gloss paint.
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We are trying out new crewmen.

The gondolas/flat cars are easy and a good first attempt. Just paint the decal areas with Future, set the decal with Decal-Set and paint with Polly S Clear Flat. The cars aren't painted but are bare plastic.
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A box car decaled and lightly weathered with a dark brown wash.
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I am sure there a other ways of decaling but this method works reasonably well.