Was a couple a years ago I purchased a couple of the excellent Atlas O California Zephyr cars. After operating them for a while I found some smaller issues that could be improved. On the dome cars there is light leaking between the dome casting and the car body. The lighting in the domes comes from beneath? Two small diodes is providing the light. The lightning over all comes from the center of the car, leaving corridor and some compartments in the dusk. My plan is to paint the interior with as accurate colors as possible, adding figures and additional lighting. This improvement will hopefully take the cars to the next level, displaying a more "finished" look.
The dome Observation Car was quite easy to take appart. Four screws later and with some careful pulling the car came apart. Most of the parts on the car are snapped in place.
The interior is faithfully reproduced and quite accurate. The most obvious thing missing is the desk and chair beside the stairs in the observation lounge. The compartments, the small "Cocktail bar" beneath the dome and the observation lounge, all is present.
However there is some issues with the interior. The dome interior is shallow, same with the observation lounge area. The solution for the dome is to paint the floor black to get the illusion of dept. Populating the dome area will require small figures and some cutting and trimming of lower body parts of the figures to make them fit the couches.
The observation lounge is a tuffer nut to crack, Atlas didn't made it easy to add figures in this part of the car. Even the smallest figures are too big for the chairs. Cutting the legs of the figures isn't an option, they are too visible in the observation lounge. Contemplating to either take a razor saw and cut off the chairs and raise them a bit or cut out most of the area, fabricate a new floor and add interior. Has anyone else takled this interior area? Input would be most appreciated.
Concerning the interior colors there is two ways to go. Pre 1960 and after 1960. The railroad company's that operated CZ rebuilt the interiors in the trains late 1950s and early 1960s. The concern were that the late 1940's interior design were dated and needed modernising. I intend to follow the early color pattern of the interior. Finding color pictures of the early design isn't easy. After some research its obvious that the post 1960 design is well better documented.
Most of the early design is represented in the brochures and advertisements of the era. Most pictures are in black and white but there are some color renditions. As the cover above that gives some ideas how to paint the interior.
Pre 1960 Observation lounge area.
Post 1960 Observation Lounge area. The standing girl in the blue dress is one of the "Zephyrettes" crew.
The pre 1960 Cocktail lounge interior.
The post 1960 Cocktail lounge interior.
Since the devil is inte details, the small individual car number sign is missing on the Vista Dome observation Car, but present on other Atlas O CZ car types.
Early car number plate. Small sign with the number of the car in the train. Will try to add this to the Dome Observation car. HO-scale decals is well suited in the size for this.
Picture taken in Oakland from the last trip off the California Zephyr to Chicago in 1970. The car number plate on is now lighted and bigger.
Well! My first post on this forum. Since english isn't my native langue I hope there isn't some atrocious spelling or grammatical errors.