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Here's my second attempt at this thread, guys. I hope I've got it right this time and the pix show up correctly.

@Hot Water  @ADCX Rob  @GG1 4877  - Thanks for your tips and kind comments earlier.

Way back when, before MTH introduced its first scale F3s and well before Lionel even contemplated them, I was looking for something a bit more realistic than the postwar and repro units that had flooded the market. I had on hand a pair of beat Santa Fe 2353s that were still good runners and that I thought I might have professionally restored, but I decided to go all-in and reconfigure them as two New York Central (Boston & Albany) units that were built specifically for the new Lake Shore Limited of 1948.  As far as I know, these engines ( four A units and two B units) were the only F3s actually delivered in the NYC two-tone gray passenger color scheme widely popularized by Lionel in the late ‘40s and early ’50s.

Working from a set of HO drawings and prototype photos that had appeared in an issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, I did what I could. These units have all conventional post war drives under the cabs and they are slightly under scale, so nothing I was capable of doing could have made them 3RS by today's standards. At the time, however, that yet uncoined term might well have applied.  Today they pale before the extensive supply of accurately scaled, highly detailed covered wagons available from Lionel, MTH, 3rd Rail and others.

The first photo set below shows the “reincarnation” of one of these units. On top is the Warbonnet 2353 that I started with. In the middle is what it looked like after stripping and remodeling with prototypical body cutouts and roof top steam generator equipment. At the bottom is the nearly finished model with the correct high ventilators and a full complement of chicken wire grilles. Scalecoat paint and Microscale decals complete the new look -

The next photo set shows the original front end and the remodeled version with widened windshields, wipers, nose and roof grabs, class lights, solid pilot, air hoses and a Kadee coupler. Then there is a broadside showing off the finished unit. The sharp-eyed among you may be able to make out internal members visible through the chicken wire screens -

Long time Foum readers may have seen this one before, but just to wind things up here is a photo of the two units back-to-back near their completion.  Headlight lenses and rooftop horns still haven't been installed -

Sorry to say I never made the matching B unit, but this project was great fun at the time and I'm still happy with the results.

- Mike


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