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 BNSF SD40-2’s – Latest Developments.

The progress thus far on one of the two BNSF SD40-2's that I'm scratchbuilding.

I’ve been slowly but steadily plugging away on the two scratch-built locomotives I posted about back in May.  I’m at the point now where most of the major challenges, such as gear tower clearance, coupler mounting, etc. have been solved and I can begin to focus more on the aesthetic side of the model.  The last major hurdle will involve the nano LED’s for the ditch and step lights that I need to wire up and attach to the model so that the leads will be sandwiched under the treadplate.  That process will likely begin after the holidays.  Select images and info are past the cut.  A full gallery is available on my Pbase site. 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