The Bowser SD40-2

Earlier this year, Bowser released one of THE finest HO scale ready to run plastic models I have ever seen; the GMD SD40-2
The good folks at Bowser pulled out all the stops for this model, road specific details, LED lighting, ESU LOK Sound equipped, along with lots of weight for traction!. There were two BC Rail versions released, the factory painted two tone green version, and the later hockey stick scheme. I picked up five units for service on the layout, and I couldn’t leave them clean, so off to the weathering booth!

bcr-754-before-and-after-small

bcr-753-lh-side-small

bcr-753-rh-side-1-small

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Bowser has announced a second run, this time they are offering BC Rail units painted in the red white and blue scheme. I’ve got a couple on order…..

Locomotive Sound Evolution

For several years now I’ve installed or purchased locomotives with onboard sound, since I feel it adds another level of enjoyment to the hobby. I had long been a user of Soundtraxx Tsunami decoders, until I purchased a Rapido Trains Inc GMD-1 with ESU Loksound.

The ESU sound is like nothing else I have heard. Finally, distinctive prime mover sounds and bell and horn features that sound like the actual components, not something created in a computer. Add in the amazing motor control and the small size of the decoders and I was quickly sold on ESU.

So, now I fac ethe task of removing all the Soundtraxx decoders from the fleet, and replacing them with boards from Loksound. So far, I’ve got 6 models done, with many to follow. For now I’m keeping the ESU equipped units running together and the Tsunami equipped units seperate, to save me the trouble of speed matching everything.

So here’s RS18 #630 undergoing a decoder change out on the bench. I’ve also converting the units to LED lighting.

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Christmas Came a Little Early…

So it’s not quite Christmas, but I couldn’t resist a couple more locomotives for the railway! Today an Overland SD40-2 and an M630W arrived.. These two will have a future pulling road freights between Prince George,  Chetwynd and Ft St John. The models will get Soundtraxx Tsunami decoders as well as some light weathering before going into servicenew

RS-18’s: 615

Yet another RS-18, this time its the 615 in the so called “Hockey Stick” paint scheme.

For this build, I decided to use the Atlas Trainman RS-36, since it has the fuel tank style I need as well as the long hood is fairly close to the RS-18. I dipped into my stash of RS-18 CAT conversion parts for this model. Etched air intake grills, handrail stanchions, and a resin long hood end were added to the basic model. Throw in some tread plate, Kaslo nose and pilots,  and the air cooler grill left over from the 608 project and I was pretty much done:

BCR 615 LH FRONT RAW IMG_9644

BCR 615 RH REAR RAW IMG_9645

I was given 4 jars of pre production True Line Trains BC Rail paint to test out before the product hit the market, and chose to use it on he 615. The paint is excellent! Very easy to spray right out of the bottle and covers very well (especially the white, typically a hard color to shoot) My only gripe was the silver had too much paint flecks in it, and took several coats to get a smooth finish. Other than that, I’m really happy with the way the model turned out:

BCR 615 SB RH FRONT SMALL

BCR 615 SB LH REAR SMALL

BCR 615 SHADOWBOX LH FRONT SMALL

The model will eventually get weathered- lightly. Well, as light as ALCO weathering goes! This model was the last I completed in the old house, once I get my work bench set up I plan on adding some soot on the roof and road grime on the trucks.

RS-18’s: 608

Next up for the RS-18 kitbash project was the 608. This model has a different long hood configuration than the 630.

I pretty much used the stock Proto 1000 RS-18 long hood, except for the removal of the large cooling air louvers near the rear of the hood (which just pop off the model). I added 2 new square style air intakes on each side of the hood. The parts were photo etched and produced by Jeff Briggs as part of a project to produce parts for a RS-18 CAT conversion kit. The hand rail stanchions for the 608 came from this kit.

A couple hood doors were re[placed with Cannon parts, one air intake louver was removed and the hole filled with putty, and the Kaslo short hood and cab front kit were added.

608 BUILT UP LH SIDE

608 BUILT UP RH REAR

For some reason, the pilot ends on the 608 differ from other BCR units. Because of this, I was able to keep the stock Proto pilots. The bars that run along the rear radiator grills are built from strip styrene.

Model now primed:

PRIMED LH SIDE

PRIMED RH SIDEPainted and Decaled:

608 PAINT AND DECAL RH

608 PAINT AND DECAL LH

Finished model on the old layout:

BC RAIL 608 RH 2 SMALL

BC RAIL 608 LH REAR 2 SMALLjpg

This model has some running issues. There is too much side play in the truck gears. I have some washers to shim the gears, however I haven’t had a chance to tear the trucks down to install them. Maybe once I have a workbench set up…..

RS-18’s: The 630

Now that I had a good fleet of C425’s I needed to start work on some RS-18’s. The RS-18 was a common loco on the Dawson creek Sub, as well as on many local and yard jobs on the Prince George Sub. Overland Models produced 2 versions of the RS-18 in brass, however I’ve always thought the front windows on these models were over sized. The first RS-18 I decided to build was the 630, which was the last ALCO powered RS-18 on the railway.

So, I started with a Proto 1000 RS-18, stripped the CN paint from it, cut out most of the long hood and added a cab and short nose kit from Kaslo Shops:

Herman and Alberta Aboriginal Achievement Awards

The middle section of the long hood on the prototype differs from the Proto model, so I used a hood section from an Atlas RS-36 body shell. I had to remove a few doors and replace them with correct sized doors which I cut down from Cannon EMD doors. The louvers came from a set of Andy W C425 air intakes.

Herman and Alberta Aboriginal Achievement Awards

Both front and rear stock pilots were removed and replaced with parts from Kaslo. A large headlight was added in between the rear number boards as well as a dual headlight above the large one.

Herman and Alberta Aboriginal Achievement Awards

At this point I hit a road block. I needed to replace the stock Proto fuel tank with a different type, however part of the stock tank was cast into the frame and hacking away the metal would weaken the frame structure. I then found a Proto 2000 RS-27 on ebay for cheap, and found the RS-18 body shell would drop right onto the RS-27 drive! As an added bonus, the RS-27 fuel tank is really close to the version found on the prototype! After that was done, I cut up some tread plate that came from a company that I don’t like to mention since he took me for $300. Anyway, here’s the model pretty much ready for the paint booth. I’ll mention that I had to raise the height of the stock Proto RS-18 long hood, since when the model was designed the engineer’s messed up on the height of the hood!

MOSTLY DONE

The model was then primed, painted and decaled. I kept it clean as shown for only a few days..

close to finish rh f

almost done lh rear

Then the model was weathered to represent several years of service

FINISHED RH SIDE

FINISHED LH2

 

 

 

 

Motive Power: the C425

Once I knew I wanted to model the Dawson Creek Sub, research began on the motive power used on the line. In my time frame of 1989, BCR used ALCO C425 MLW M420 and MLW RS-18 diesels. The branch line was built with light rail, which banned the use of 6 axle powered locomotives (although new owner CN uses big GE C40-8M’s on the line for some reason).

So let’s talk about the C425. Way, waaaay back (before I was born) on the late 1970’s BCR purchased 12 ex. Erie Lackawanna C425’s from Conrail. Numbered 801-812, these locos were (eventually) totally rebuilt by the Squamish shops and racked up many miles pulling freight in Northern BC.

Can you believe as of today (2013) no one has produced a correct BC Rail C425 in HO scale? Well, I can. After their rebuilds, the C425’s were fitted with new air intakes and modified pilots, as well as a bell mounted between the front number boards. I decided to build 4 at once (crazy huh?) using the Atlas C425. My models are 802, 804, 809, and 812

How to build a BC Rail C425 Step #1: Start with a factory painted Atlas British Columbia Railway C425 and strip all paint off the body shell.

Huh? Let me explain. Since I hate painting yellow, and the Atlas model has a removable frame deck molded in yellow, it makes the painting a little easier. Besides, if I were to add all the collect details to the Atlas model, there wouldn’t be much factory paint left!

Here’s the start: 4 factory painted Atlas models. You can see I already started a few details

BCR C425 GROUP START

After stripping the paint, I started with the cabs. The bell/horn combo was mounted, as well as a radio antenna. I used a piece of styrene for the  plate below the engineer’s window

CAB MODS

The air intakes were cut out and replaced with parts produced by Andy W. Scale Models

AIR INTAKE MODS

2 large holes were drilled into the front nose for the extra ditch lights. A piece of styrene was added behind the holes. Ditch light and front light castings were added later.

DITCH LIGHT MODS 2

Ditch lights complete. Note: the recessed ditch lights are for 812 only. The other 3 models got flush mounted ditch lights. Notice the angles corner mount lights on the pilot (lots of lights!)

812 DITCH LIGHTS COMPLETE

The front pilots were modified using styrene and freight car walkway material

PILOT MODS

And since the railway changed some stuff on the rear of the long hood I had to cut them out and replace with a piece from Andy W. Left to right: Stock Atlas, cut out complete, new Andy W part installed.

REAR END MODS

I replaced one of the long hood doors (it was too short) with a modified Cannon door. The moulded on door latches were replaced with brass wire

LONG HOOD SIDES MODS

The fleet before primer

LINEUP BEFORE PRIME

After priming

LINEUP PRIMED

Paint complete, waiting for decals

Painted

802

Herman and Alberta Aboriginal Achievement Awards

804

Herman and Alberta Aboriginal Achievement Awards

809

Herman and Alberta Aboriginal Achievement Awards

and Finally 812

Herman and Alberta Aboriginal Achievement Awards

802 and 809 have Soundtraxx Tsunami sound decoders, with 804 and 812 fitted with TCS non sound decoders. Sometime in the future I plan on replacing the TCS decoders with Tsunami’s.

I also built a model of 805, which took me about 10 years to complete! It has had the same modifications as the other 4, with the exception of keeping the stock Atlas long hood end.

805 fini1

And even though it’s not in my time frame, I took a factory Painted Atlas Erie Lackawanna unit and detailed it to represent one of the units after being placed in service by BC Rail. They ran this way for some time until the railway could cycle them through the shops for rebuild

So do I have enough C425’s for the new layout? Well I think so, however I really want to model the 811……..

BCR 803 RH