How to Superdetail an N Scale Bachmann Conrail GP-40

gatrhumpy Sep 8, 2019

  1. gatrhumpy

    gatrhumpy TrainBoard Member

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    So I recently picked up a Bachmann N Scale GP-40 in Conrail, #3088. It's the newer version with much better detail that is comparable to the Atlas GP-40. However, when I picked it up, it did not come up to my standards as far as detailing goes. Hence this thread.

    I researched pictures of general Conrail GP-40s, and also for Conrail GP-40 #3088. I found pictures here:

    http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/locopicture.aspx?id=86649

    FRONT:
    I started with the pilot. I added the air brake hoses on either side of the coupler using old very fine black wire, like the kind you'd see on wired DCC decoders. I found mine from the sub-micro wired LEDs you find on eBay. I drilled three holes on either side of the coupler and glue the wires to the pilot. I then painted the ends silver.

    I also added a separately-applied uncoupling lever. There are several versions out there, but the one I got was from Trainworx. You have to slightly bend the part above the coupler up. I used this version for two reasons: 1. It's what I had in my parts bin, and 2. It's easier to mount than the BLMA version, only requiring two holes to drill, slightly below the outer two vertical handrail stations above the pilot. I painted the uncoupling lever black, with the handles white.

    Next I added separately-applied grab irons on the short hood and step on the engineer's side (5 total). I shaved off the molded on handrail detail using a sharp blade. I used a very sharp pin, like a safety pin, to make an indentation in the plastic on the ends of the grab irons. I then used a #80 drill bit to drill two holes for each grab iron. I used the Trainworx drop grab irons because you don't have to adjust how deep they go into the plastic. They have molded on mounting detail that make them stand out that is better than the BLMA grab irons. Yes, you have to bend them using a very fine needle nose plier, but that's better than constantly trying to gauge the depth of the grab iron on the BLMA version once you insert them. It's foolproof on the Trainworx version. I painted the grab irons Conrail Blue.

    I also added a door handle on the front of the cab, on the conductor's side. I drilled a #80 hole and bent some 0.007 wire in an L shape, then then glued the wire to the door. If you look closely, you can see it. I did not paint this (yet), as I wanted it to show up in pictures. Eventually I will paint this Conrail Blue.

    I also replaced the slope molded plastic that is supposed to be a step on the conductor's side with an actual step, like on the Atlas GP-40. This requires cutting the plastic and using a very small Dremel bit. I cut some plastic and constantly measured it, and then added the step. I painted the step Conrail Blue once I was done.

    I also added an Electrical Cabinet Air Filter Box (ECAFB) behind the conductor's side on the long hood, as per the picture in the link above. I gauged the size by the picture, which is slightly below the bottom of the window. I painted the box Conrail Blue and mounted it using CA.

    Now, the Bachmann version of the "GP-40" is actually a hybrid GP-40 and GP40-2. Let me explain. The conductor's side (left side when looking forward) battery box is full length across the cab on the GP-40. On the GP40-2, it's shorter, and does not extend the full width of the cab. On this Bachmann version, it was shorter like on a GP40-2. That drove me nuts.

    So I sanded off the molded detail, and used a very thin piece of plastic, cut it to shape, mounted it below the conductor's side cab, and then painted it Conrail Blue. I then drilled #50 holes where the hand parts would be on it (3 of them, towards the top of the battery box). This simulated the molded on detail. Atlas has these right on their GP-40s, but Bachmann did not.

    I also added rear-view mirrors in front of each side window. I mounted them using CA after drilling two #80 holes. I left them their natural silver color.

    I also changed out the couplers with Atlas Accumates. They are closer to scale, and I like the look of them better than MT couplers. They are a direct drop in for the stock coupler box.

    I finally also painted the vertical handrails white.


    REAR:
    I started by shaving off the molded on grab irons, and drilling #80 holes, just like the front grab irons. I mounted them once again using CA, and painted them Conrail Blue. I added 7 drop grab irons.

    I also added a separately-applied rounded grab iron at the top. I drilled two #80 holes just to the rear of the radiator fan, curved the 0.007" wire around a pencil, and used a fine needle nose pliers to bend the mounting pin 90 degrees. I then mounted the rounded grab iron using CA to the holes and painted them Conrail Blue.

    I added the separately-applied uncoupling lever as well, drilled out just like the front using a #80 drill bit, mounted with CA. I painted the uncoupling lever black and white (handles).

    I also added the air brake hoses, just like in the front, painted them black and silver, and replaced the coupler with an Accumate. I painted the vertical handrails white.

    I also drilled out the dynamic brake fan detail, and added a separately-applied fan blade to the dynamic brake. I painted the top of the dynamic brake drill Conrail Blue.

    Next, when I get it, I will turn my attention to the hideous fuel tank and the rear radiator fans. Stay tuned!

    I then turned my attention to the small lift rings. I drilled 13 #80 holes in various places on the top of the long hood and used Trainworx lift rings. I installed them using CA, and painted them Conrail Blue.
     

    Attached Files:

    DCESharkman, SP-Wolf, rpeck and 5 others like this.
  2. gatrhumpy

    gatrhumpy TrainBoard Member

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    I should add that I also made this Conrail GP-40 DCC and sound equipped using a LokSound V5 DCC Sound decoder. I mounted the speaker in a baffle in the fuel tank.
     
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  3. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Nice! Only suggestion I would make is this work cries out for brass handrails.
     
    mtntrainman likes this.
  4. gatrhumpy

    gatrhumpy TrainBoard Member

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    Possibly. Other than being thicker, I'm satisfied with the plastic ones.
     
  5. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Very nice work.
     
  6. Martin Station

    Martin Station TrainBoard Member

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    Great job. Thanks for sharing. It was a nice write up explaining everything you did and well worth all the time and effort you put into it.
    Ralph
     
  7. gatrhumpy

    gatrhumpy TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks. I'm still not done with it. Fuel tank is coming shortly, along with the new radiator fans.
     
  8. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    I used to say the very same thing. Then, one day, I grew the balls to try the brass handrails. I used the GMM stanchions and phosphor bronze wire. It was all over for the plastic handrails for me, I haven't got all my plastic handrails replaced yet, bit I'm getting to it piece by piece.

    If you don't want to do it don't start, you'll get hooked.
     
    Kurt Moose and mtntrainman like this.
  9. gatrhumpy

    gatrhumpy TrainBoard Member

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    I do have the GMM diesel detailing set, so perhaps we'll see.
     
  10. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Contrary to what you read, I wouldn't even think about using CA on the brass pieces. Solder is mostly forever, and with a resistance solderer, really easy to use. That tool, with the tweezer, is also good for installing things like lift rings, and grabs. Grab the part with the tweezers, tap the foot pedal, and the part will be hot enough to go into the plastic, and remain stuck there. I learned that from Steve Priest.
     
  11. SD75I

    SD75I TrainBoard Member

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    Hello Bill,
    Do you have any pics of doing the handrails or completed units? Thanks

    Dave T
     
  12. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Yes and no. None I can post, all were on film, but I will look up the info and I can direct you to the articles I wrote for RMJ and MR. Tou will need to haunt the trains shows. looking for back issues. You know those things we got for fifty cents and a buck at our local hobby store before we all moved to the net and ran them out of business.
     
  13. SD75I

    SD75I TrainBoard Member

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    I apologize if I took away from your posting gatrhumpy. Your post has got me fired up again about doing metal handrails! Making that yugo look like a Cadillac! Bill I still subscribe to the 2 N mags but far from the old(great) prices!
     
  14. gatrhumpy

    gatrhumpy TrainBoard Member

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    No worries! The Bachmann shell looks awesome, and except for the battery box, looks better than the Atlas shell. It's more detailed and has better rivet detail than the Atlas shell.
     
  15. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    It's a miracle, I found my back issues. Good place to start is in the January 1996 issue of MR, Detailing N Scale Diesels for the UP, P.120, and the August 1994 issue of Railmodel Journal, P. 4.

    Also RMJ:Nov. 2001, P.23, Alco S4
    RMJ Dec. 2001, P. 56, Alco RSD 4/5
    RMJ 1999, P.53, GP 50.

    Hope this helps. ]

    Bill
     
  16. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Bill I still subscribe to the 2 N mags but far from the old(great) prices![/QUOTE]

    If I am successful in returning to model building, I will be submitting to Kirk Reddie, nice guy. But you'll never see me again in N Scale.
     
  17. SD75I

    SD75I TrainBoard Member

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  18. gatrhumpy

    gatrhumpy TrainBoard Member

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    Is that article truncated? It cut off for no reason...
     
  19. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    The answer is it is and it isn't. It is reproduced here exactly as it was published. This magazine was a one man show, so sometimes things went wrong.

    I could send you a copy of the version I submitted, but it is on a 3 inch floppy. And yes, I did buy an outboard floppy drive from Amazon, but it only works when the planets are precisely aligned. Sorry. Let this be a lesson to all of you, migrate you backups regularly.
     

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