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"HONGZ" stands for HO scale, N scale, G scale, and Z scale.

Post your non-O scale stuff here!

GN F-8 2-8-0 by Tenshodo.

Just acquired this engine on e-bay.  Made in 1975 and, at most, just test run and, virtually, new with no visible wear on the wheels.   Factory painted by Tenshodo: some errors as domes are all green, piping not painted black and, manufacturers always like to do this (put silver on the cylinder heads) as only the S-2 had this and no black stripe along the front of the belpair fire box.  Easy fixes plus some dull coat.  Most manufacturer's were adding can motors by mid 70's but easy add for this open frame motor engine.

Very reasonably priced at $235 (delivered), and you can't beat the detail that one gets on a brass engine.

Just ordered more scalecoat paint from minuteman so I'll be painting up the seven new engines acquired since last winter.


GN F-8 Tenshodo 01GN F-8 Tenshodo 02GN F-8 Tenshodo 03GN F-8 Tenshodo 04


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Last edited by samparfitt
samparfitt posted:

GN F-8 2-8-0 by Tenshodo.

Just acquired this engine on e-bay.  Made in 1975 and, at most, just test run and, virtually, new with no visible wear on the wheels.   Factory painted by Tenshodo: some errors as domes are all green, piping not painted black and, manufacturers always like to do this (put silver on the cylinder heads) as only the S-2 had this and no black stripe along the front of the belpair fire box.  Easy fixes plus some dull coat.  Most manufacturer's were adding can motors by mid 70's but easy add for this open frame motor engine.

Very reasonably priced at $235 (delivered), and you can't beat the detail that one gets on a brass engine.

Just ordered more scalecoat paint from minuteman so I'll be painting up the seven new engines acquired since last winter.


GN F-8 Tenshodo 01GN F-8 Tenshodo 02GN F-8 Tenshodo 03GN F-8 Tenshodo 04

The first run of the locomotives had a more detailed paing job on it, I purchased one many years ago, still sitting in the box.  I'll have to get it out and post a photos of it.    The green is off on all the Tenshodo locomotives, instead of Glacier Green, it is Pullman Green, but now we are picking nits.  

Yes, these locomotives are out there for a song, they run great, and will be running great long after you and I depart this earth.  I have one on the layout now that runs every op session, and has been running on my layout since 1987.   Eventually, I want to toss a sound decoder in mine, just have a NCE D102 non-sound decoder in it now.  Put a can motor into mine also, the open frame motor was a growler.   




UP big boy 4-8-8-4 by Tenshodo.

Just arrived from purchase on ebay.

1981 run, factory painted, see through walkboards, boiler lagging clamps, can motor, detailed cab.  This model appears to have, at most, just test run and, probably, has been in the box for 25 years.  A number plate is below the cab floor indicating year and number of how many made and on the other side of the deck is a crown shield indicating a 'crown' series.  Reportedly, only 19 came into the USA.

I put it next to the Key big boy for comparison.  As usual, the Tenshodo is longer by several feet as they built the engines around the scale wheels.  The Tenshodo has additional details, ie, see through walk boards, wood grain tender deck, lagging clamps but the Tenshodo also cost me twice as much as the Key model.   Each has  their own merits so it depends on the individual on what he is willing to pay.

ps: that tilted fire box door is an easy fix.


UP big boy tenshodo 01UP big boy tenshodo 02UP big boy tenshodo 03UP big boy tenshodo 04UP big boy tenshodo 05UP big boy tenshodo 06UP big boy tenshodo 07UP big boy tenshodo 08UP big boy tenshodo 09UP big boy tenshodo 10UP big boy tenshodo 11UP big boy tenshodo 12UP big boy tenshodo 13UP big boy tenshodo 14UP big boy tenshodo 15UP big boy tenshodo 16


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Last edited by samparfitt

Winter project:
Put classification/head lights on steam engines and caboose marker lights.
I've got 8 new engines to paint so they'll get updated before painting.

Found some good instructions online (see below) for installation.
Ordered some 0603 bright glow led's from Richmond controls company (1st picture).
The LED's are, I believe, .6 of a millimeter.  For an extra $1.50 each, I got some #36 wires already attached to them (wasn't about to try soldering those on!).
Also, got some axle wipers from them for the cabeese.

From digikey, I ordered the necessary parts to make small circuit boards to provide the proper voltage to the LED's (2nd picture)

Steam classification light installation (2 pages):

Cabeese marker light installation:    


For the cabeese, I'm using tomar's marker lamps as they are already drilled out.
For the steam, no one makes drilled out classification lights so I'll follow the below instructions on getting that done.  I bought some extra marker lights (cal scale 190-280 marker lights)

Web site for caboose marker lights: 

I use CM-63 (no lights included) but they also sell them with lights included.

LED pre-wired from Richmond controls company:

LED's  GW0603-DL06: pre-wires and want both wires coming out the same side(ditch lights wiring).  Cost any extra buck 50 for them to solder the wires on but I think it's worth it.

EZ61-WPRS: truck wipers.

They don't take credit cards and have to send them a check and list of items to order from them.





LED bright glow 01marker light circuit parts 01


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Last edited by samparfitt

part 2:

The #55 drill bit is ideal for drilling out the marker lights.
The drill worked perfectly on drilling out the marker lights from cal scale.
I also was able to drill out the original marker lights on a GN mike (see picture). The marker lights have to be removed, first, before drilling them out.  I found the small hobby drill press best for doing this.  A resistance soldering set is also, probably a must to remove/re-solder small parts to keep other parts from falling off due to too much heat via conventional soldering methods.  I also drilled a hole in the front fire box to route the wires.  I'll be using the inside hole of the marker lights (see picture) so only the front and outside will have colored lights as there really is no room to drill a hole in the back or bottom of the marker light. I'll be spraying the LED's and wires with some clear lacquer thinner to seal the wires in case they touch the brass engine components, thus preventing any shorts.  

The ready made LED's with attached wires from Richmond controls gives a nice yellow glow good for the headlights.
I also got some LED's from digikey that are a white light that I'll use for the marker lights since they will be colored, anyway. These have no wire leads. No one sells 30 gauge wire in reasonable lengths so I took apart one of my old open frame motors (they are good for something!).  The LED's are extremely small so it took some time to solder the wires to the LED's.  Flux and a very small pointed soldering iron is needed with only a split second touch to solder the wire to each side of the LED (I have ruined 2, so far but, since they were so cheap, I thought I'd try it).  Some pointed, self closing needle nose tweezers were used to hold the LED.  If I need more, I'll get more glow LED's with the wires already attached as, for only 3 bucks apiece with wires attached, it's worth it.

For the cab forward I used Tomar's caboose marker lights.  These have a brass tube access from the back and worked best for the cab forwards, eliminated have to route wires through the cab front. I cut the top and bottom off the caboose marker lights so they match modern steam marker lights.  The marker lights are too small to solder so I used thin CA to secure the marker lights to the cab front.
A hole was drilled in the boiler front to route all the wires.

In the picture, the cab forward has the yellow glow in the headlight and the white LED's in the marker lights.

I diverted from the previously attached instructions on providing the proper amount of current to the LED's.  I found just 1.5 volts bridge across two diodes sufficient to light the LED's. 


drill press 01resistance soldering 01steam marker light 01steam marker light 02steam marker light 03


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Part 2 (cont)

Finished doing the remaining engines.

I was able to use the existing marker lights that came with each engine but it was nice to have the cal scale available as 'back up'.  A couple marker lights broke free when drilling and I had to re-solder them back on.  Also, from drilling holes in thicker brass, ie head lamps, I went through 3 of the #55 bits so buy them by the 'dozen'. 

I drilled a small hole in the fire box front to route the wires.

This cab forward was done the same way as in the previous post.

The tender lights also go drilled out.  I noticed some tenders have slots where it appears that marker lights are hung (ie, big boy, DM&IR yellowstone) so I'll have to research and see if the lights were on the back of the tenders.

A caboose got the tomar marker  lights.  A couple holes were drilled in the bottom  plate so wires can be run to the trucks.

I was thinking it would be cool to drill out the number boards but that would, probably, be difficult to do and I've never seen any hollow ones (save O gauge).

Samsteam marker light 04steam marker light 05steam marker light 06steam marker light 07steam marker light 08steam marker light 09steam marker light 10steam marker light 11steam marker light 12


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8 engines to paint.

Began disassembling the engines.  Each will be painted twice with a base coat of black.  After all engines are painted, I'll go back to each one and mask off for appropriate other colors.

GN O-8 mike open cab.

Had to drill out the tender bottom for speaker holes and cut an opening in the driver retaining plate as a cam had to be added to one of the drivers for chuffing sound.

The sand and steam domes were removed (held on by a screw on this model) to save on masking, later on, since the boiler will be painted GN green.

 After cleaning all parts with water, dish washing liquid and some white vinegar, the parts were dried in the toaster oven for an hour (save the wheels that have insulation). 

Used scalecoat #10 black to air brush the parts and then cook at 200 degrees for 2 hours while the wheels will be air dried.

The tender wheels were hand painted as it quicker than masking them off, including the axle ends and the parts are too small to notice any brush strokes, especially since the truck side frames hide the bulk of the wheel.


GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab 08 


GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab 09GN O-8 2-8-2 open cab 10




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Last edited by samparfitt

UP 4-12-2:

Nice detailing on this engine.

The cab is removable so it will be painted green along with all the gauges/valves, etc being painted white/red.

UP 4-12-2 Key 18UP 4-12-2 Key 19


See through walkboards and lots of piping:

UP 4-12-2 Key 21UP 4-12-2 Key 22

Nice motor/gear box setup with both attached to each other via brass stock to prevent racking. 

UP 4-12-2 Key 20


A functioning 3rd cylinder where piston is connected to the 2nd driver plus the offset for the cylinder cutoff has the 3rd cylinder offset mounted to it.  (going to be fun putting that back together!).

UP 4-12-2 Key 23UP 4-12-2 Key 24UP 4-12-2 Key 25

First coat added.  Black always gets 2 coats whereas the masked off, other colors only get one coat.


UP 4-12-2 Key 26


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Good day at the Div 4 (Dayton, Ohio) flea market

1.  Lights 4 models: These LED's are even smaller than my 0603's. All wired and have resistors and bridge rectifiers for 3 bucks each so this is definitely my new source.   5 per package for $15.50.  Got 3 warm light packages (UP0), 2 green (UP5), 2 packages of wire connector (master pack)  for multiple connections, wired connectors , 2 packages of wire connectors. (WC10) and some telephone wire that stretches is bumped. 


lights for models 01lights for models 02

Here's what the contents looks like for the connectors.  Left is 2 prong connectors and the right is a 'package' deal consisting of a variety of connectors: will be nice to hooking up the marker and head lights to one connector.  At $10 and $12, respectively, prices are very reasonable.

lights for models 03lights for models 04


Picked up two nice all wood buildings.  At 40 bucks apiece, I thought that was cheap!  A passenger station painted to GN colors and a lumber company.   Found some temporary space on my layout.

passenger station 01passenger station 02lumber company 01lumber company 02

Last was a Sunset SP AC-9 2-8-8-4.  Been looking for one but they are hard to find and they go for a lot of money.  I got this for less than 1/2 of what I saw one go for last week on a web site.   I prefer Key or PSC models but those are 3-4 times more than what I paid for this baby.  The front is broken off but an easy fix with some soldering.  I'll probably strip and re-paint her after drilling out the marker lights (OK, they should be called classification lights!).


SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 01SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 02


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Last edited by samparfitt

Key Big Boy.

Disassembly for painting.

After removing the boiler from the running gear, interesting in that the back lead weight was just 'snug' fit into the boiler so I was able to remove it, along with the front weight.  A couple loose wires (piping) had to be re-soldered.

UP big boy key 14UP big boy key 15

The cab was screwed on so it'll receive the green interior.

UP big boy key 09

Since these are handmade, which means all parts may not be universally interchangeable, all moving parts are kept with their respective front/back drivers as well as the drivers.

UP big boy key 10UP big boy key 11

Tomar marker lights added to the tender after the top/bottoms were 'nipped' off as they are caboose marker lights (or were!).

UP big boy key 13

Two coats were sprayed on, today with the usual 200 degrees for 2 hours in the toaster oven with all wheels air drying.


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Last edited by samparfitt

SP AC-7 by Key.

Disassembly for painting.

Removing the running gear from the boiler was a little 'tricky' due to all the 'super' detail added to this engine.  I had to bend or move 'piping' on both sides of the boiler to remove the drive gear set under the cab and the same with removing the boiler front from the boiler.

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 20SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 21SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 22

They had a wire connector to easily remove the back drivers from the front drivers.  A lot of piping on the back drivers.

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 23SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 24

I added another sound cam since the ones I use have plastic between the contacts and, thus, easier to set up the chuffing.  The original cam is smaller in diameter so I had to make a new hole in the driver retaining plate plus move the cam to another driver where a brass rod between the two frames did not interfere  with the cam.   I find drilling multiple holes is the easiest way for me to make a square hole.

 SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 25

An 'X' is placed on the end of the driver that receives the new cam: saves time not having to re-quarter the driver.

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 26 

A press is used to remove/install one wheel/cam.

 SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 27

After the cam/wheel added, side rods re-added and pushed over the track to insure no binding.


SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 28

While using a tooth brush to clean all parts before painting, I, luckily, saw that I pulled two of the springs off the functional truck frames and, fortunately, they didn't go flying off into the unknown and re-inserted them.

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 29


I figured it would be easier to first paint (and mask off for the black) the cab interior on these cab forwards so the cab was painted with burlington green.   Also, did the UP big boy and 4-12-2 cabs.

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 30SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 31

Tomar caboose lights added to the back of the tender: again, top/bottom snipped off to make 'modern' looking marker lights.

SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 32


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  • SP AC-7 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 28
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Last edited by samparfitt

Hot water,

Just noticed your comments on the Big Boy (I'm slow sometimes!).

As I mentioned in the post, the engine is built around the scale drivers so the engines length is longer, thus the Key is more accurate for scale length, but, when on the track, by itself, it's academic.  

I also mentioned at the end of the post that the boiler front will be adjusted.


SP AC-5 by Key.

Disassembly for painting.

Virtually the same as for the AC-7. 

This engine had a fine spring and wire insulation connecting piping to the articulated set of gears.  I had to use a the heat from a soldering iron to break free the glue (guessing AC cement) to remove one end of the 'hoses'.

I found no evidence of marker lights for vanderbilt tenders on cab forwards so I left them off the back of the tender.

Again, the cab was, first, painted green and then masked off for the black.

First coat for 2 hours at 200 degrees and then a second coat will be added.

The tender trucks came apart (unlike the functioning articulated 6 wheel trucks on the AC-7) so I hand painted the wheels to keep paint off the axle ends for electrical conductivity.  Some loco black dries a dull color so no dull clear will be needed to coat them.

This engine will be getting the Sacramento grey for the boiler.

SP AC-5 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 11SP AC-5 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 12SP AC-5 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 13



Images (3)
  • SP AC-5 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 11
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  • SP AC-5 4-8-8-2 cab forward key 13

All my decals are 'southern pacific' so I'll be using those. 

I've also got Key's factory painted AC-4 and AC-6, the AC-4 with 'lines' and AC-6  has just SP.

I'll, also, be painting those Sacramento grey.

The AC-7 will remain all black.

The AC-9 was painted by someone.  I need to strip it, solder a mount for the front drivers, drill out the marker lights and re-paint it.

I also have a painted GS-4 in daylight colors.  That's it for SP.

Wouldn't there have to be brackets to support marker lights on any kind of tender used by a mainline engine? It's really hard to find photographs of the rear ends of tenders, but there are a couple of photos in "A Century of Southern Pacific Steam Locomotives" (269, 271, 272) that do seem to show markers on the Vanderbilt tenders of SP cab-aheads.

Yeah, I know this isn't a Vanderbilt tender but, to generalize from the example, doesn't it stand to reason that any locomotive in mainline service would have to be able to show markers on its tender? Otherwise it wouldn't be able to act as a pusher behind a caboose or to run light on its own, at least as I understand the rules ( I may be wrong, of course).  It's one of those questions that you'd think would be easy to answer by looking at photographs, except that photographers over the years seem to have consistently ignored the back ends of tenders. 

SP AC-4:

This engine was also factory painted with the boiler removed so it could, also, be painted in Sacramento grey.

 Initially, I was not going to try to put lights in the marker lights since it was factory painted, fearing I would 'booger' (as the Brits say) the paint but I thought I'd give it 'a go'. 

Surprisingly, the drilling of the marker lights went very well.

I used the usual #55 to drill out the sides of the marker lights using the mini drill press and supporting the marker light on some thin wood.  I put some oil on the drill bit and drilled about half way and then, cleaned off the bit, re-oiled and finished up through the marker light, giving very little pressure on the bit so as to not grab the marker light when the bit' broke through' the opposite side.

SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 11

I then used a hand drill to do the front of the marker light holding the marker light with some jeweler's nose pliers.  After drilling the sides, there's very little brass remaining on the front so the manual drilling went quickly.

SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 12

I needed some 'routing' holes in the face of the cab plus in the floor of the cab so I used a #62 drill bit and manually drilled those holes.  I was surprised at how easy it was to drill out the holes in the brass sheeting.  With #30 size wires on the LED's, these holes did not need to be very large.  I had to drill the hole above the marker light as there wasn't much room below it, not scale but it shouldn't be noticeable.

SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 13SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 14

One poppet valve was missing so I used the same #62 drill bit to manually drill the hole for the new valve that I happen to have a few spares of them.

SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 15

The engine was then masked off and painted.

SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 17SP AC-4 4-8-8-2 Key 18



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SP AC-9 by Sunset.

Disassembly and re-painting.

This engine was painted by a previous owner so it was stripped, updates made and re-painted.

Unusual with a 'twin tower' power drive system to both sets of drivers.  Motor is huge.

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 03

Not 'sound ready' so holes drilled in tender and cam added to one axle on back set of drivers.

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 04

Stripped all the paint off.  Used lacquer thinner and it brought off the paint in sheets so it must have been some other paint base.  Since I had to used a stainless steel brush to get off a lot of the paint off the boiler, I'm guessing it must of been a water base paint as neither enamel reducer nor acetone would dissolve the old paint.  I even used my ultrasonic cleaner with no luck (you can see how it made the boiler lighter than the other parts).  Interesting in what the builders use to preserve the brass as none of the 'cleaners' removed the base coat (I always assumed they used a lacquer base).   After I used the stainless brush, I was concerned that I might have scratched the brass but I 'lucked out': next time, I'll use a brass brush.

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 08SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 09

'you get what you paid for'!

There were a lot of things to fix but at half price and an 'afternoon', it was worth it.

1.  One end of tender base (end bumper) was loose: resistant soldering needed.

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 05

2.  Whistle needed soldering : same picture has new drilled out marker lights.

I had to replace them with cal scale.  Able to remove old bracket from hole and solder new marker lights in their place.  Drilled a hole below them on the boiler for the wire access.

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 10

3.  One of the steam pipes going to the back piston cylinders had a broken solder joint.  Used the back cylinder heads to align all the pipes  before resistance soldering it.

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 11

4.  Tender missing part of plate used to screw base to top. 

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 12

5.  Piping on both sides needed soldering. Soldering iron fixed this.

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 13SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 14

6.  One mounting stud broken off that holds the back of the rear drivers to the boiler: resistance soldered.

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 15

7.  Front drivers a little too wide.  Used wheel puller and NMRA gauge to correct it.

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 17

Trimmed Tomar caboose marker lights added to rear of tender.

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 16

Two coats of scalecoat # 10 added:

SP AC-9 2-8-8-4 18


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Last edited by samparfitt

Milwaukee EP-2 bipolar electric by custom brass.

Compared to a steam engine, the electric is a pretty simple 'break down'.

I checked which wheels are ground versus hot and made a label so I assemble it correctly versus a steam engine is standard on ground/hot.

milwaukee EP-2 bi polar 07milwaukee EP-2 bi polar 08milwaukee EP-2 bi polar 09

Of the two that I have, this one will be yellow/grey paint scheme.

I always paint the yellow first but, this time, with a red separation line, I should have done the red, first.  Hope I can put the stripe on 2nd or 3rd, before/after the grey: will decide on that, later.

With today  being 76 and tomorrow's high of 46, and painting in the detached shop, I'm been 'humping' to get as much painted as possible before I have to use my kerosene heater.  First time that I've painted 4 different colors at once.  Besides the EP-2, I did the DM&IR caboose and put the GN green on the GN O-8 mike's boiler.

milwaukee EP-2 bi polar 10


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Last edited by samparfitt

DM&IR M-4 yellowstone by Westside.

Masked off the boiler for the grey.  Unusual boiler in that the boiler lagging covers the smoke box, thus the front also gets the grey. 

Taping around the sand domes usually requires about 1/16" wide masking tape to get accurate positioning.  Lately, I've been also masking any large piping and the steps along the boiler to save having to touch paint those parts black. Takes a couple hours to mask off the area. 

The masking tape is immediately removed after painting and cleanup of air brush:

1.  Any over spray, like on a sand dome, can be easily removed with a toothpick and some water (saliva works well) and some gentle rubbing.

2.  removing tape after the paint has cured will likely result in tearing off paint from the boiler.

3.  the longer the tape is on, the more likely it may remove some of the paint underneath it.  Tape is removed at a sharp angle to reduce stress on the previous applied paint (in this case, black).

DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 17DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 18DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 19

Milwaukee EP-2:

Bad news, good new, bad new, good new!

There was no way that I was going to be able to mask off for the red stripe but it was easy to add the red since little time was lost since no masking was involved.

After adding the red paint and cleaning up, I noticed that the center section has no removable base that gets a red stripe versus the two ends that have removable bases for the red stripe so I had to add red to the bottom of the center section.  Glad I caught it now.

 milwaukee EP-2 bi polar 11


Images (5)
  • DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 17
  • DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 18
  • DM&IR M4 2-8-8-4 19
  • paint schemes 18
  • milwaukee EP-2 bi polar 11
Last edited by samparfitt

Painting the smoke boxes.

Prevent 'over spray'  around piping.

First, about an 1/8" wide masking tape is aligned with the back of the smoke box over the boiler jacket.  Then a 1/4" wide is put over the previous tape for additional protection. 

UP 4-12-2 Key 27

Then a 3rd layer is wrapped around the two 'running rails' to 'close up' the area.

UP 4-12-2 Key 28

The rest of the smoke box is taped off.  A  lot of work for such a small area!

UP 4-12-2 Key 29UP 4-12-2 Key 30

The results are worth it, though!

UP 4-12-2 Key 31



Images (5)
  • UP 4-12-2 Key 27
  • UP 4-12-2 Key 28
  • UP 4-12-2 Key 29
  • UP 4-12-2 Key 30
  • UP 4-12-2 Key 31

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OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

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