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Picking up the ball and running with it! Upgrading a basic O-Scale 3rd rail/Sunset Models to Sacramento Northern GP-7.

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  • Picking up the ball and running with it! Upgrading a basic O-Scale 3rd rail/Sunset Models to Sacramento Northern GP-7.

    Hello Modelers~,
    So I was given the opportunity to finish an uncompleted model. Remembering my first professional kitbash model was back in 1979 when I made a highly detailed Western Pacific GP-20 high nose (sorry no pics, back then I had only a polaroid one step and the film was old and didn't come out well) from a low nose GP-20 which I ended up cutting open cab doors, with most lights and lots of basic handmade details, albeit DC. The model should be out there somewhere today?

    Anyway, I digress; So when I was asked if I could finish an existing unfinished model. I was excited, but then he said when he was younger he got to operate for a few hours a particular similar engine and wanted his to reflect the prototype to some degree. Then, I was really excited to try it!

    So below is what I came up with trying to upgrade an O-Scale basic 3rd rail/sunset Models plastic/brass model to reflect the Sacramento Northern GP-7 #712.


    Pic 1) Shows the prototype and goal for this build.
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    Pic 2) Shows the model as presented to me.
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    Pic 3) Shows the non-dynamic option.
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    Pic 4) Shows the rearview.
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    Pic 5) Shows the wrong light housings for this build.
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    Pic 6) Conductor side view with Dynamic blister installed.
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    Pic 7) Engineer’s side view.
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    Pic 8) Close up of rearview. Note the speedometer is in the wrong location on the rear truck.
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    Pic 9) Front close-up view. Note the bell and horn cluster are mounted on the short hood roof.
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    Pic 10) The existing QSI sound decoder and wiring harnesses.
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    Pic 11) Ok, with the major sub-assemblies separated and ready for closer inspection.
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    Pic 12) First thing I notice is the railing mounting pins were protruding inside a bit too far and hitting parts of the frame plate.
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    Pic 13) A better top view of the pins which some were not allowing the walkway base to rest flat on the frame plate.
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    Pic 14) I removed the front headlight housings and step rungs to allow for filling in and smooth sanding of the angled short hood nose.
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    Pic 15) Once the angled noses were sanded smooth I could get a better look at filling in what wasn’t needed to match the prototype.
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    Pic 16) I sanded any parting lines and grit blasted the shell as part of the paint prep.
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    Pic 17) Next I started marking the locations of the holes on the skirts and drilled out the molded on fuel cap and installed the new fuel tube.
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    Pic 18) Next I started drilling the end holes of the oval shape access holes on each side skirt and installed the hand fabricated fuel cap which sticks out on each side a bit per the prototype.
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    Pic 19) Well a lot of hand drilling followed up by lots of hand filling. (Next time I’ll set the milling machine to be a bit more precise).
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    Pic 20) Plenty of filing on the inside as well.
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    Pic 21) Both drilled and filed side skirts (here is where I realized I’m stupid and forgot to drill one hole a bit lower from the other 3 like the prototype had.
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    Pic 22) Next I filed down the fuel tank molded filler cap ring and filled in the recessed fuel cap hole and applied the putty filler.
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    Pic 23) Shows both sides needed the same attention.
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    Pic 24) First of many sessions of putty, sanding, putty, sanding…
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    Pic 25) More putty, more sanding, more putty, more sanding. Does this ever stop?
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    Pic 26) Not wanting to see another fuel tank, I focused on adding the sanding lines for both truck's front and rear.
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    Pic 27) Sanding lines on trucks are a nice detail that gets overlooked too often by modelers.
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    Pic 28) Next I fabricated the pilot slant bracing and the toilet drain pipe on the front pilot (another nice detail that is often overlooked).
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    Pic 29) One note the coupler cut bars and step platforms are operating and made sure during the painting process they continued to operate.
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    Pic 30) The steps had nice see-through hole detailing.
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    Pic 31) One note here; the pilot footboards would have to be removed and filled in with thick sheet brass and yup, more sanding.
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    Pic 32 was left blank on purpose...


    Pic 33) Shows a better angle of the completed bracing and drain piping w/brackets.
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    Pic 34) Pilots get grit blasted and you can see the footboards are gone and filled in.
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    Pic 35) The custom-made truck light housings were installed along with the relocated bell w/air line added with the side skirts.
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    Pic 36 & 37) Here you can see how the pilots are bolted on for fit n finish.
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    Pic 38) The fuel tank is attached as well for part of the mock-up process.
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    Pic 39 & 40) Time to test fit everything.
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    Pic 41 & 42) Testing the truck articulation with the sanding hoses on is a good idea at this point.
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    Pic 43 & 44) The walkway base sits nice and flat on the frame plate.
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    Pic 45- 48) Show the brass sand filler hatch covers and mounts built and installed.
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    Pic 49-52) Next I had to cut up an E-unit winterization hatch into 6 pieces (which was too wide and not long enough. So after some measuring, I made the cuts needed and soldered this jigsaw puzzle together to a GP-7/9 hatch, and added the screen and mounting pins.
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    Pic 53) With the shell mocked on with the brass horn cluster repositioned to the correct location on the long hood roof.
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    Pic 54) Next I attached the dynamic blister.
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    Pic 55) Next I installed all 3 brass castings and made sure to shave to fit n finish a little better than originally done.
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    Pic 56) The fans were deburred and mocked up.
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    Pic 57) Next the fan grills with the winterization hatch cover.
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    Pic 58) After the second coat of this pearl green, I knew this model was going to need many following coats. Holy cow!
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    Pic 59) I made a couple of test sprays to see how many coats were needed. The magic number was 7-9 coats in areas. This was a see-through paint for sure.
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    Pic 60) All parts get the same coatings as well.
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    Pic 61) Slowly the right color tone starts to show.
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    Pic 62) Next I start the final assembly and fit n finish.
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    Pic 63) The model is starting to look like something.
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    Pic 64) Walkway deck is on.
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    Pic 65) Checking shell against any wires that might get pinched.
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    Pic 66-68) Model is secured on the frame and final inspection of all parts for fit n finish.
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    Pic 69) Just to give a peek at how many wires are ready inside.
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    Pic 70) Final deck wires are routed and connected.
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    Pic 71) Resistors connected to the decoder and soldered to the wire leads.
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    Pic 72) Shows the final wiring harness. Decoder CV’s adjusted and model test ran for operation.
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    Pic 73) Close-up view of the decaling of the rear long hood nose.
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    Pic 74) Close-up view of the decaling of the front short hood nose.
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    Pic 75) Conductor side lettering view.
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    Pic 76) Front angled overall view.
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    Pic 77 & 78) Show the finished front pilot views.
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    Pic 79) Engineer side view.
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    Pic 80) Overall side engineer’s side view.
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    Pic 81) Rear pilot view. Note: walkway end chain left down on purpose for conversations along with an air hose or two tucked in an up position.
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    Pic 82) Overall top view. Note fan grills are black and fan blades are silver.
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    Pic 83) Nice bright yellowish headlights/rear lights.
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    Pic 84) With number board, walkway, class lights, and cab interior lights on.
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    Pic 85) Conductor side view with all likes on. Note under frame truck lights.
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    Pic 86) Engineer’s side view with all lights on.
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    Pic 87) Rearview with all lights on.
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    Pic 88) Top view with exhaust stack light glows.
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    I hope this pictorial gives you some ideas for detailing your next Geep model.
    While this model was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun building!
    Thanx Thom…
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Very nice work all around!

    I made a couple of test sprays to see how many coats were needed. The magic number was 7-9 coats in areas. This was a see-through paint for sure.
    What paint was this???
    In a time like ours seemings and portents signify. Ours is a generation when dogs howl and the skin crawls on the skull with its beast's foreboding.

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    • #3
      Very nice work, Thom.

      Bruce

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      • #4
        Beautiful professional job'... Thanks for taking the time to lay it all out for us. Impressive work, and a fantastic looking GP-7'...


        Ted

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        • #5
          Thanks for the compliments Ted & Bruce.

          mwbpequod the paint I used was Model Master Dark Pearl Green (it's acrylic). I couldn't find the floquil Pearlman green that I used back in the late seventies. So the closest thing I could find was this color (which has been discontinued of course).
          I'm used to ScaleCoat and Floquil and other solvent-based paints. I never used this brand or acrylics before and it was not fun for me to airbrush and finding a thinner that would work properly was a nightmare and I asked about 15 modelers I knew who painted and no one knew how to thin model masters paint. (of course, now that I'm finished, I will most likely have 20 people tell me what thinner I should use. For the record, I have here some 11 different types of thinner, and only one I had a little leftover in an unmarked paint bottle that seemed to work somewhat ok.
          Well, the painting is over now and life goes on right. Thanx Thom...

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice job Thom.
            New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you Big B, glad you like brother.
              Thanx Thom...

              Comment

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