Seattle & North Coast F7A #101: Update 3

A 3/4 view of the fireman’s side of #101 showing many of the details that have been added.

Well, I’ve finally caught up to my progress. These photo’s show what I’ve done as of Jan. 17, 2008. So far everything is going well and this model is really starting to look like the 1:1 #101.

A 3/4 view of the engineer’s side, notice the MU hatch and class light bezel ring.

Visible changes between this post and the last are the addition of the Details West snowplow pilot, rear coupler draft gear, Western-Cullen style rotary beacon, Leslie RSL-3L-R3 chime air horn, nail antenna, rooftop air cooling coils (with modifications), flag holder brackets, rear lifting lugs, rear door MU and field box, rear door bumper, and backup light. Added as well were Highliners etched fillets to the top of the rear side doors, nose MU door, class light bezels and front bumper pin. I also drilled all marked grab-iron and lift ring holes, though I still need to make or find templates to drill the holes for a number of other grabs.

The rooftop cooling coils showing how I modified the supports to better match the prototype.

Most of the parts I added went on with little or no modification. I did make some changes to the support for the rooftop air cooling coils. After reviewing photo’s from several angles, I determined that the supports should be vertical posts as opposed to the bracket design that comes with the DW part. To make this modification I drilled four small holes on the underside of the cooling coil assembly and attached small lengths of .025 styrene rod with a MEK/Barge mixed to 50/50. Once the adhesive had dried I put a small drop of black paint on each rod and carefully set it on the non-dynamic hatch. When I removed the coil assembly, the black marks left by the paint showed me clearly where to drill mounting holes. One the cooling coils were adhered into place I drilled mounting holes for the intake/output pipes and cemented them in place with CA from the inside of the shell.

Rooftop details.

The horn, nail antenna and beacon were all added per DW’s instructions. The beacon will be lit from inside the shell by a small LED attached to a flasher circuit. The base of the beacon was drilled out to accommodate the amber lens which falls through the roof and will act as a light pipe. The tiny flag brackets can barely be seen and are mounted above the front windows on either side of the cab. They have pins mounted in holes through the rood making them very durable.

Nose view, this model is finally beginning to resemble its prototype.

On the nose I drilled holes for the class lights using the handy template Highliners provides, the holes are ringed by the photo-etch class light bezel also from Highliners, once painted the class light will be inserted. I’m not sure if I’ll light these yet, as I don’t think the SNCT ever used them… we’ll see though. Next to the headlight is the MU door attached with my usual MEK/Barge mixture. The plow is installed per DW specs, though I found that it didn’t set perfectly flush with the bottom of the Highliners nose, so I laid down a bit of putty and sanded it till the profiles matched. The MEK/Barge I used worked well as it seemed to soften the putty forming it perfectly to the plow.

Rear view, the backup light will eventually be drilled and fitted with a small LED and lens.

The rear of the unit had a good deal of detail added as well. I don’t have any photo’s of #101 from the rear, so I used photo’s of other F’s and have hopefully achieved a close approximation of the prototype. The door will eventually have a photo-etched panel attached which will give it the correct round window. The lifting lugs are above the door fram, and the MU box is under the frame but above the door. The single backup light will eventualyl be drilled out for installation of a small LED.

That pretty much sums up things so far. My next step is definitely going to focus on the winterization hatch and pilot steps, however that may take some time as I need to ask some questions and get accurate dimensions.


6 Replies to “Seattle & North Coast F7A #101: Update 3”

  1. Chris,

    Ran across your blog while searching (googling) for pictures of the Seattle and North Coast. You work on #101 really looks great!

    I’ve based my freelanced Port Able and Pacific Railway on the old Snick! I have a few pictures on my Model RR blog. It has gone through some changes since I started (at one time I was thinking of electrifying it with overhead wire ala the Milwaukee Road) and I’m sure there are more changes in store.

    I have a handful of Geeps left over from previous layout and I was planning on using them on a “modern era” layout, but your F-7 looks so good, I may just have to back date everything to the early 1980s and use F-7s just like the Seattle and North Coast did! If I do, I will surely use your work on #101 as a guide for building my own fleet of Fs.

    Keep up the great modeling.


  2. Hi George,

    Nice to hear from you, and I’m glad you like the F unit. I should put the Railflyer stuff aside for a bit and do some more work on it :-).

    The Highliners kit I’m using is very nice, and not terribly difficult to assemble. The hardest part about this project is getting modeling all the little eccentricities about the SNCT units, such as the lack of a grill on #101. There’s a lot of work left to do, The Athearn Genesis frame I’m going to mount the shell on will be highly modified so that you’ll be able to see through it where the skirting used to be.

    My goal is to build all the SNCT equipment. It was a small railroad so I think it’ll be manageable. I’ve got everything I need so far for both SW1200, the SW1, and #101. I just need two more Athearn drive units, and another Highliners shell. I’m also working out how to build one of their PS5344 boxcars using a combination of Athearns kit with the doors from the MDC/Roundhouse SNCT car (which is totally incorrect for the paint scheme they put it in.

    Anyway, I took a look at your site, your layout’s looking good. The carfloat you’re building looks reminiscent of the WP car ferry that operated around San Francisco, which I’m told SNCT was planning to purchase. Those electric locomotives are an interesting concept, I hope you’ve kept at least one of them around. Painted up it will make a pretty cool model.

    Thanks for posting that video to your site, I’d never seen it before. It’s really amazing that they could operate trains over that horrible track. I too will need to figure out how to add in all those irregularities :-).

    Keep in touch, I’ll be interested to see how you progress.


  3. Hi Chris,
    I’m also a big SNCT fan and have collected more information about them then I thought possible considering its short life span of 4 years. As you probably have figured out, each SNCT engine has unique details to it. Now regarding the F-Units, here is what I have found out,

    #101 – ex-BN 610 . nee-GN 274B. Built 11/50 (Phase 1, late)
    #102 – ex-BN 684, nee-GN 464A, Built 1/53 (Phase 2)
    #103 – ex-BN 704:2, nee-GN 364A, Built 10/50 (Phase 2, late)

    Here are two good internet references to the different F7 phases (you’ll have to copy and paste the links to you address bar):


    I have some good photos of #101 when it was in BN colors that show a great, well lit view of its starboard side. BTW, there was a grill on its port side during its entire SNCT life. I have photos of its port side while in BN and SNCT colors.

    In you lastest posting, you mentioned that you didn’t have any rear end photos of 101.

    Go to this webpage because it has an excellant view of 101s rear end:

    The rear window is correct on the GN engine at the Oregon historical website because starting in November 1950, F-units started receiving circle windows, which is the month and year that 101 was built.

    I do have a undec SW1 and 2 Intermountain F7 shells but no SNCT decals. I still have not started on building my layout in my train room because it is still in the planning phase. The layout is based in Oklahoma City but since I live in Everett, WA and my brother lives in Kingston, WA, we are always fooling around with modeling the SNCT. I guess the big push to building a SNCT layout would be to order some Herald King sets. That’s a can of worms I don’t know if I wanted to open!!!

    If you need some more help, just email me at

    – Steve

  4. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the links. I had not previously seen that photo of #101 (As 274). It will definitely come in handy. Hopefully not too much was changed on the rear of the unit once it was restored after its SNCT career.

    As an update on my model, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks drawing out plans to have the Athearn frame milled out so that I can model all the underframe detail as well as a separate fuel tank and battery boxes. I’ll post the plans once I finish them.

    Since the Sonics are moving to Oklahoma City, why don’t you even things out a bit and move your layout back to the Pacific Northwest :-).


  5. Chris,

    Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you.

    I had no idea that the Snick was trying to purchase the Las Plumas! I based my carferry on a cross between the Las Plumas and the Haida Transporter a “powered rail barge” that was the subject of a model by Doug Hole. So the resembelence was intentional.

    Sadly, the Las Plumas had her superstructure engines and rails removed and has been modified to work as an articulated tug/barge combination.


  6. George,

    Las Plumas, that was the name I couldn’t remember. Yeah, there’s an old Trains Mag article on the SNCT that mentions that management was hoping to purchase the ship, I have a feeling that considering their financial situation that ended up on the back burner.

    I checked back in on your blog, You’re making good progress on the barge slip. It looks a lot like the real ones looked originally. Good call on the MP15’s too. I’d love to be able to justify a couple of those, but there’s just no way they fit into any of my plans. Excellent models nonetheless, and I too could definitely see the SNCT using them had it survived.


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