Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Locomotive Breath

This post is Loco

Every model railroad needs a locomotive.  Over the next month or two I'm going to do a four part blog series on creating my railroads first locomotive.  Here's a look at how I'm going to outline the next four blogs.

1. PART I – Acquiring the Loco
  a. Picking a Loco/Prototype
  b. Getting Pictures
  c. Creating a Bill of Material

2. PART II – Assembling the Loco
  a. Paint Shop/Decals
  b. Adding Super Detail Parts
  c. Shell assembly

3. PART III – Doing Decoder Install
  a. Choosing the right decoder
  b. Things to watch out for on a non-dcc loco
  c. Final Install – include lighting

4. PART IV – Weathering the Loco
  a. Fading
  b. Washing
  c. Specific places to weather

PART I – Acquiring the Loco

The first part of this whole process is determining what level of detail you want to go into.  Do you want to buy a model locomotive off the shelf that is ready to put on your layout and run?  Do you want to build a project?  Customize a model?  There is no wrong answer here.  I'm choosing to buy an older locomotive, paint it up myself and do an Digital Command Control (DCC) decoder install.

Next I have to determine if I want to follow a prototype locomotive that my railroad has "acquired" or something that is a little more free style.  I'm going full crazy.  Modeling an actual prototype from pictures I found on the Internet.

Picking a Prototype

I wanted a locomotive that fit my railroad.  Factors I considered was what actually was around central and northern Wisconsin in the late 1970's and early 1980's.  Did my locomotive get bought from another railroad or 3rd party supplier?  New Locomotive or Used?  Since the Mascoutin Valley connected to the Chicago and Northwestern and bought some of its trackage from them, I thought it would be logical to buy an EMD GP7 from them.  Side note: The CNW had an expansive GP7 roster and actually sold some aging units to local short lines in the 1980's.  I chose CNW GP7 4133.

Finding Pictures of CNW 4133.

When in doubt google.  I performed a simple google search and came up with quite a few pictures of CNW 4133.  While looking for pictures of CNW 4133, I found that it had an interesting history.  This locomotive in "real life" was built as for Chicago Rock Island and Pacific (Rock Island) in 1951.  Then it was purchased by the Chicago & Northwestern in 1981 as a GP7R (the R stands for Rebuild).  Sold to the Fox River Valley Railroad (FRVR) in 1988.  Wisconsin Central absorbed the FRVR it also acquired 4133. 4133 lived the rest of its days with the WC before it succumbed to the scrappers torch.

That being said, the Mascoutin Valley bought this engine before the FRVR could get its grimy paws on it and changed history.

I like to use the images that I find on google.  It often redirects me to an archive site or someones personal photo stache that they post online.  **Note: When referencing pictures or documentation that isn't your be sure to make sure you site or give credit to the site/author!**  So with out further ado lets look at some pictures of the ol' gal.

C&NW 4133

Author:  Alan Gaines via http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/locopicture.aspx?id=37214

FRVR 4133

Author:  Marc Malnekoff http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1036601
I'm going to try and emulate and model the FRVR version of this locomotive.  The reason is its probably a little closer to what would be lumbering around the Mascoutin Valley.  Notice the neat details that you wouldn't find on every GP7.  Its has Spark Arrestors over the exhaust stacks, a pretty beefy snow plow, square style bearing caps on the trucks/wheels an "all weather window" on the engineer's side and a beacon light on top just to name a few. I analyzed these pictures and tried to come up with a bill of materials that I'm going to need to make a model of this locomotive.  I'm also going to refer back to pictures of CNW/FRVR 4133 for weathering and finish detailing.  I've been given some very good advice recently-  "When all else fails, find a picture of the prototype to use as a guide." Thanks Ralph Renzetti!

Bill of Material


Mascoutin Valley GP7 Project

ManufacturerPart NumberDescriptionQuantity
Life Like P2K
HO Scale GP7 Ph. II Kit1
Details WestRB-126Rotary Beacon Western Cullen Type1
Details WestJ-288Diesel Loco Truck Journal Square5
Cannon & CompanyTD-2156EMD Fuel Tank Details1
Details WestSA-124Spark Arrestor "Super" Non-Lifting Non Turbo C&NW1 pr.
Kadee158#158 Couplers1 pr.
Details WestPL-155Snow Plow C&NW1

So I'd say we have a pretty good start here on developing a locomotive project.  The Bill of material is not totally finished.  We'll add some finer details like speed recorders and other things as we get into this project but I think we're headed in the right direction.  

The next post we'll look at painting the model and some preliminary assembly. As always thank you for reading. Check out my Facebook page for more frequent updates!


Till next time, keep 'er in notch 8!


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