This site is dedicated to my model railroad, the HO scale Virginia Midland Railroad. This layout comprises a 12X9 room with two levels. The upper level is complete and the lower level scenery has just begun.

I do a handful of train shows in the Virginia/Maryland region with Makin Tracks.
I also can help you find that freight car/locomotive or other hard to find item.

Email: virginiamidlandshops@gmail.com
You tube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/Virginiamidlandrr/

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Detailing late RF&P GP40's and GP40-2's Part I

RF&P HO modelers have been "spoiled" by Atlas and Athearn in them releasing most of the diesels needed for a HO layout from the late 1960's to 1980's.  We have had Atlas do the GP40 and the GP40-2.  Athearn has done the GP35's and the SW1500's.   These locomotives, especially the Atlas GP40's and GP40-2's are great looking right out box.  The Atlas one run of GP40's included #122, #124 and a no number.  the no number unit is perfect to model the other numbers.  These are tough to find these days and I am currently don't have a  #127 on my roster.   Atlas found out that not putting a number on a loco usually doesn't sell well and have not done that in a while.  So how do we detail these?
First let's start on the cab roof.   Always check pics of the locomotive you are doing.  I have seen where the beacon and antenna are opposite.  This was on the GP40-2.  We need to add the firecracker antenna and the roof beacon.  The stock horn on the Atlas GP's is fine.  The firecracker antenna for the GP40's goes on the conductors side.  Looking straight down in the horn with the horn pointing straight, it's about at 8 o'clock.  The roof beacon is about 4 o'clock.  The part I use for the beacon is the Details West lollipop antenna.  It's a good stand in.
Notice the firecracker antenna and beacon location.

The GP's did not have sunshades but holes are drilled for them.  Take and insert the sunshades and with a hobby knive, cut it off at the base of the tab.  This fills the hole nicely.  Add the wind reflectors as per the prototype.
Notice the wind deflector added.

Changing numbers is easier than you think.  Trying to match that gray color is next to impossible.  As you can see from the above photos, I prefer the last RF&P scheme with circular herald.  Take some Microscale Microsol and brush it on the number.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes.  The number should lift right of.  You may need a stiffer brush to lightly scrub it off.  The long it sits, the easier it is.  The paint is intact and your free to decal a different number or the herald.  Don't forget to add the RF&P herald to the rear hood on the GP40's!  Speaking of the rear of the loco.  Let's move to that area.  The RF&P Geeps had rear horns and a exhaust port that are pretty easy to model.  Lets start with the exhaust port:
Exhaust port is located above the rear right number board.  This is one of my 1st methods of installing the rear facing horns.  A better option is explained below.
The exhaust port is build out of styrene.  I use Evergreen Styrene strips #156.  Measure from the top of the number board to the roof line.  The port is angled at the bottom so using a hobby knife cut about about a 35 degree angle.  The Evergreen #156 bags comes with several strips, so if you don't get the angle right, keep trying.  Do the angle first, length second.  On the top, I used a [ channel piece of styrene.  I don't know what the size is but it should the same width of the #156.  I found it by accident in my scrap styrene. 
The 3 chime rear horn is a little challenging but a great add on.  I have done many options over the years but the last is the best method:
The rear facing three chime horn is a must for any RF&P Geep.
I started by using a Atlas stock horn.  It's the horn that comes on the Atlas GP40's and GP40-2's.  You can order them from Atlas.   Cut the mounting tab (discard) and the lone rear chime off.  Glue the removed chime between the 2 remaining horns.  Next take small piece of  styrene and glue it where you removed the chime.  This is the mounting pad to the rear of the loco.   After the chime and mounting pad have dried, glue it above the rear headlight.  The only downfall is that the horn is easily knock off.   I will detail Athearn's SW1500 in part two.