I recently attended the AMPS show in Indiana and visited the Archer Transfers booth looking for rivet details and found that Archer has began producing a range of resin treadplate decals designed for train enthusiasts. These details will work fine on braille model kits as well and I was ecstatic at the thought of finally being able to add a tread plate pattern to my Trumpeter stug fenders.
In addition to several other details, Archer is also producing resin decal louver sets which will come in very handy on certain softskins.
The sets aren't cheap but they certainly appear to provide a quality alternative to treadplate creation.
Here are a few links to the Archer site...
Locomotive treadplate HO scale (1/87)
Locomotive treadplate O scale (1/87)
Resin louver mix HO-scale (1/87)
Surface details main page
Hope this helps.