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BQ23-7 an Atlas - Bachmann bash

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  • BQ23-7 an Atlas - Bachmann bash

    I started this topic in my Wrecker's Reef thread but I realized it should have been posted here for obvious reasons.

  • #2
    I’ve always been intrigued by the stranger than fiction Seaboard Coast Line BQ23-7. The Q stands for “Quarters Cab”, this was GE’s first attempt to get rid of the caboose and have four crew members in the locomotive cab. As the forerunner of the wide cab design it wasn’t popular because it lacked a “crumple zone”.

    Only ten were built from 1978 to 1979, all for the SCL, (originally no.5130–5139). After the mergers CSX inherited these locomotives, operating them into the late 1990s.

    When I went searching for information and pictures on bashing a BQ23-7 I came across Michael Kreiser’s March 2013 article in Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine. I’d like to give Michael a big thank you since I followed his article pretty much all the way.

    Bachmann made one around that time but it lacked the sophistication and accuracy of today’s models. Shapeways also makes an accurate version of the BQ cab. I ordered one in FUD but was unhappy with the ridges from the layers of printing. By the time I sanded the ridges off I lost a lot of detail. So I went to eBay and lo and behold there were several up for bid.

    I can’t imagine the motor was very effective; it reminds me of a squirrel cage. The handrails are quite thick and the pilots are cut out like Lionel locos to make room for the truck mounted couplers.

    The only hope for this model is to bash it with an Atlas or Athern B23-7. I went with an Atlas CSX version. Step one is to remove the cab on the Atlas model and cut off the nose. The Bachmann model is molded in one entire piece including the sides of the fuel tank. Now we’re up to Step 2, which is to chop the long hood off, the pilot and deck and the boxes under the cab.

    NOTE: the Bachmann cab is 3” too wide to fit the Atlas model. Step 3 is to cut the cab down the middle with a razor saw that’s 3” wide, or close enough.

    Too bad you purchase the B’mann loco and now you’re down to 2 halves of the cab. It might be cheaper to go with Shapeways and its accurate dimensions depending on the price you pay for the Bachmann model. YouTube has Shapeways bashes on that very subject too.

    Let the filing begin. I used small files and emery boards to get the cab to fit.

    After gluing the cab back together and filling and priming and sanding and painting I ended up with a reasonable cab. I also made a new cab front door from .020 plastic and glued it in place. I added 3 hinges on the right side and a door lever on the left.

    I stripped the CSX off both sides of the long hood leaving the warning labels on the cabinet doors. I also painted the end of the long hood gray to cover the CSX yellow.

    I decided to wash the model before applying the decals. After all the handling it was getting a little dirty. I sprayed on some Orange soap and began to lightly scrub the cab and the paint started coming off. OH NO! After all the time I spent trying to match the paint and now it’s coming off. I used Vallejo paints and was surprised to see them coming off.

    Well there’s no crying now, its back to the paint shop. I stripped all the paint off with Easy Lift Off. Now I’m back to bare plastic and decided to upgrade the model. Originally it came with triangular windows on the sides behind the windshield and a small rectangular window below the engineer’s windshield.

    As time went on those 3 windows were filled in or plated over and I decided to do the same. That’s 3 less windows I’ll have to make. As you can see above 3002 has it’s covered up.

    Once again I’m mixing paints to match the CSX gray. Well I decided to use Floquil rather than water based ones this time around. Wow, my supply of Floquil paint is rather limited. Check out the dates on the bottles, 7-12-13. I came up with two unlikely candidates, Grime and Grimy Black, best I could do. Much to my surprise it came out pretty close, in fact better than my last color match.

    The other day I decaled the pilots with the B/W stripes and today I did the number boards for CSX’s renumbered 3002. In the first photo of the real one you can just barely make out the 5132 on the battery box cover.



    • #3
      CSX 3002 had the SCL number 5132 shadow showing through the rust and grime. I replicated this with the numbers laser cut from blue tape. I picked them up with clear tape and positioned and burnished them down then brushed Burnt Sienna pan pastel over them.

      The next project was to apply the decals. The only place I could find the Family Lines decals was on eBay. [size 3] OMG [/size 3]]/b] . . . I think the decals were made the same year as the original locomotive. They were so brittle and kept breaking and shredding it’s a good thing there were enough decals for 2 locomotives. I had to cut the broken parts away and replace sections along the cabinet lines. I went on eBay and found another set just in case I’d need more.

      After I had one side done and the other about half done I remembered I read somewhere if this is a problem to spray the sheet with gloss clear. Well I only had Testor’s dullcote so I sprayed them with that. The remaining pieces held up much better and I was able to finish the job. But with the dullcote on the decals they don’t settle down as good. AHHHHHH

      As this decaling project went further and further along I wished I hadn’t removed the CSX and simply painted the nose yellow. Oh how easy this part of the project would have been. There’s something about 20/20.

      Interesting thing the number on the cab sides were in 2 different locations. Since the fireman’s side had louvers the numbers were placed above them. While the engineer’s side had the numbers centered between the stripes.

      I made a big mistake applying the long hood decals first thinking the cab stripes would be no big thing since they were small and rather insignificant. But I should have done the cab stripes first as the red stripe goes just below the sand fill caps on the nose. That sets the height location for the long hood stripes not the other way around. It came out slightly off but I can live with it since this was a nightmare application. I’ve since sprayed the decals with dull coat to seal them.

      Ughh, those itsy-bitsy individual CSXT decals were a nightmare to get lined up. You move the X and the S moves.

      I still have to set the windows, insert the number boards and headlights prior to joining the cab to the long hood.


      • #4
        That is one great looking conversion there Frank. Fantastic looking job!

        Louis L&R Western Railroad
        Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast


        • #5
          I always thought the BL-2 owned the "Ugly Locomotive" title, but this beastie is a strong contender....

          Nice conversion, Frank! :up:


          in Michigan


          • #6
            Thanks Louis.

            I'm with you Pete; the BL-2 may just edge out the BQ23-7.


            • #7
              I’ve finished my late 80’s version of the ubiquitous BQ23-7 and I’m quite pleased with the product. It’s got that great Atlas running gear and detail and now it’s complete with a few-of-a-kind look.

              It was a bash that was far more involved than I would have ever imagined. I’m not too sure I’d do a second one but I’m sure glad this one is done. I think it adds an interesting piece of motive power to my roster.

              After the decals were sealed I started weathering with almost my entire kit. I borrowed a friends pan pastels to give them a try and was pleased enough to order 4 weathering colors from Cheap Joe’s Art Supplies, and they were the cheapest I could find. Along with the pastels I used weathering powders, craft, Floquil and oil paints.

              I installed the wipers and shades from the Atlas locomotive and wire grabs from Tichy to the cab.



              • #8
                Nicely done, Frank! Very nicely done! :up: :up:


                in Michigan


                • #9
                  BRUTE-L, Frank, but in a good way. Really like all the details and weathering you did, especially the "ghost" numbers on the cab.

                  Nice to have something uncommon on the roster.


                  • #10
                    Sho be a purdy job on that there fugly ducklin'

                    CSX must have hired Earl Sheib to paint their Family lines locos on the really cheap. I have a photo somewhere in my archives of a CSX GP-38 with half of it's grey flaked off and the Family Lines markings showing through.
                    Karl Scribner-Curmudgeon

                    Cedar Swamp
                    SW of Manistique, MI

                    AVATAR Image stolen from Model Train Stuff advertisement in my e-mail


                    • #11
                      Thanks Pete.

                      Bill, when I saw the ghost numbers on the original I thought that would be a nice detail to copy.

                      Karl, here's a B23-7 with a similar look and it's one of my favorite pictures. I have a C30-7 and that might be a good way to detail it.



                      • #12
                        That is one beautiful conversion build Frank'. Looks absolutely perfect'.

                        I consider the BL-2 the sister of your BQ23. . Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'.

                        And I think there both beautiful'..Good job too, with the pastels'..first timers usually have a little trouble with them. Not in your case though'. Excellent job as usual'..




                        • #13
                          Great looking job indeed Frank! Fantastic looking conversion.

                          Louis L&R Western Railroad
                          Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast


                          • #14
                            Nicely done, Frank. You did a great job of dirtying her up. :up:

                            The sky is not my limit, it's my playground.


                            • #15
                              Frank, great job on that bash project. Nicely done!