Upgrading an old model.

#101 fitted with it’s new front coupler box and desperately in need of a good cleaning.

I don’t think there’s any question that I’m a better modeler today than I was a decade ago. That’s probably true for anyone trying to be their best at something. Our “best” is a constantly moving target that changes with every new skill mastered and bit of knowledge gained. So, with that in mind, I decided that it was time to take a second look at my model of Seattle & North Coast F7A #101, which I began way back in 2007 and didn’t complete until 2014. This model has always had a few annoying issues caused both by inexperience and not having the proper tools and I figured that at this point I was ready to make a second attempt.

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UP 3773: Modernizing a Scale Trains SD40-2

slemp_UP3773_20180430_092I think it’s reasonable to argue that the SD40-2 was the defining example of 2nd generation diesel locomotives in North America. They were purchased in huge numbers by most Class 1 railroads and have developed a reputation for reliability over decades of operation.  Today they’re less common on Class 1’s, but many are being rebuilt to extend their lives and quite a few are well into second careers on regional and short lines.  It has therefore been rather unfortunate that HO scale modelers have never had a really good plastic model of the SD40-2 (I’d argue that there’s never been a really good brass model either, because, well.  Brass.)  Many companies have made an attempt at the SD40-2, but most have gotten stuff wrong (Athearn, Intermountain) and no one has made a stab at the huge amount of variations that occurred over the twelve year production run (Kato).  Athearn could and should have put an SD40-2 in their Genesis line to go along with the GP models they’ve been releasing but they never did.

Therefore, it was no small thing when I cam home from work about a year ago to find a box from Scale Trains sitting on the stoop.  Inside, I hoped, was the SD40-2 so many of us have been waiting for.

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Seattle North Coast F7A #101 – Completed

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SNCT F7A #101 is finally done!

On November 19, 2007 I wrote this post about the model of SNCT #101 that I was just starting to build.  Almost seven(!) years later it’s finally done.  Granted, most of that time I wasn’t working on it.  I got distracted by other projects and life in general, but still, there’s probably at least a good year or two worth of regular work sessions in this model and for the most part I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
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Working Ditch and Step lights for BNSF 7070 and 7072

Step and Ditch Lights

The front pilot of #7070 with the right ditch light and and step light lit via a 9v battery.

One thing that I’ve wanted to do with the BNSF SD40-2’s from the very beginning was to light them as completely as possible.  To me, that means more than just the usual ditch light, head light and reverse light.  My goal is to have working step lights; truck lights; front, rear and side walkway lights; number board lights and cab interior lighting.  This has slowed construction considerably and is going to create a mess of wiring inside the shell, but judging by this latest progress photo, I think it will be worth the effort.

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Light & Sound for SNCT F7A No. 101

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The use of small diameter magnet wire, surface mount LED’s and tiny resistors makes it easy to cram all sorts of lighting features into just about any shell.

After much hesitation, many false starts and a good deal of experimentation, I finally completed the wiring in my model of Seattle & North Coast F7A No. 101. Continue reading

Scratchbuilt SD40-2’s

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Progress so far on one of two SD40-2’s I’m scratchbuilding.

I’ve been waiting all my life (and very patiently I might add) for a high quality HO SD40-2 with the correct bolster spacing. The Kato models come close, but it’s hard to find undecs and I’ve come to discover that they aren’t terribly easy to modify. Railflyer is another option, but their models are at least another year away and I need something to keep my busy now… So, I’ve started scratchbuilding my own. Continue reading

West Springfield 2011, SNCT #101 and a new project!

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John, Myself (In the Brooklyn hat) and Tom at the NERPM display.

For something like the 6th year in a row I attended the Amherst Railway Society’s Big Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, MA. Again I was at the New England Railroad Prototype Modelers table showing off some models. As always I spent way too much money. It was a nice show though, we had a good location in a decent, somewhat quiet corner of the Mallory Complex. Continue reading to see some of the models I had on display. Continue reading

Seattle & North Coast F7A #101: Update 5

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SNCT #101 mostly completed.

Well, it has certainly been quite awhile since I last posted any updates. I do have a number of excuses though. I moved, I got a new job, I’m currently helping remodel a basement for a model railroad (not mine, unfortunately) the list actually goes on. I have been doing some modeling as well now that it’s no longer pleasant to be outside, what with the cold and the dark and all that. These photo’s are a little old, but I feel they deserve a more in depth explanation. Continue reading

An Election Day Surprise… from Canada!

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Railflyer Model Prototypes Wide cab photo-etch.

My latest shipment of Railflyer parts arrived yesterday. Included in this shipment were some really neat things I’ve been waiting on for awhile, like the Canadian wide cab photo-etch pictured above. Apart from the fact that the cab is a one-piece thin wall kit, the photo etch is whats really exciting about it. This new multi media approach lets modelers get into a level of realism and detail that hasn’t really been available before. I’ve labeled most of the parts in the photo above, though there were a few that I couldn’t identify, I’ll label them once Christopher tells me what they are. Possibly the coolest parts are the window gaskets, which are designed to fit right inside the openings on the plastic cab, not shown because it’s clear and I didn’t think it would photograph wellis a fret of laser cut clear plastic “glass” for the windows, number boards and wind deflectors. Check beyond the cut for a few other things I received Continue reading

New Hood Door Kits from Railflyer!

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One of the new Railflyer Hood Side kits mounted on styrene and posed on my BN 2154 GP38-2 walkway module.

One project I’ve been working on for awhile, but haven’t yet posted about or mentioned much, is the GP38-2/GP40-2 Hood Side kit that Railflyer is developing. I received the kit a few months back and assembled it in a few hours over a couple of weeks in August. It’s a very interesting and well thought out way to do engine room doors, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it will work with the Railflyer hood cores currently under development. Continue reading