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Hi All,

I've been planning this project for almost a year... finally time to start hacking up some plastic.

I want to model this very unique GP38-3 from the SMS railroad.  This engine has an extended cab for a dual control stand.  Most models of the GP38 do not have this option.

Also, at some time in this the past, this engine was in a wreck.  The rear end was repaired with a SD40 rear porch.  So, there is a noticeable gap between the rear wheels and the steps.

I am into deadrail, so all of the electronics get removed and a Blunami 4408 and battery get installed.

I disassembled much of the model and gave it a 48-hour bath in isopropyl alcohol.  That got rid of all the paint. 

I purchased this MTH engine used at York last Spring.  No need to buy something new that I'm going to hack up and put all new electronics in anyway.  I got very lucky and also found a GP38 shell I bought for $5.  The perfect parts doner for the cab and rear porch.

I cut the porch off the doner and glued it in place.  Then I glued in some Teflon paper and added some styrene plastic for strength.  This model will get Kadee couplers, so I will need the shell to be strong enough to pull a load of freight cars.

I used a baking soda/CA Glue mix to fill the large triangle gap.  I was initially going to fill in the other two gaps for the original steps but just decided to face off with styrene.  The whole deck gets covered with diamond plate brass anyway.  And I sort of need that open space because the handrails attach from underneath the shell.

I took a Dremel to the front ends of both locos.  One very carefully and one very haphazardly.  A new front window and some styrene made the extended cab.

The extra length in the rear is about one extra handrail stanchion.  So, I used the donor shell to cut off and extend the handrails also.

I'm ready to do the pilots next. 


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Ron. Great project.  Have you any more information to  add . Keep us updated if you would I learn from these presentations a bunch. One question I have is what method did you do joining  the handrails together.

Hi Bill.

The project has not been "going to plan".  I'm on my second repaint.  I am also struggling with the pilots and a problem I have to work through.

For the handrails1:49 - 2:30 sort of outlines what I have done.  I soldered the actual rod handrail into the station and then used that same fiber paper with epoxy on the base.



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Thank you very much for your interest in my project.  I'm getting there, but it's been slow for a few reasons.  The main one being winter is over.  So outdoor tasks take priority.

I did go through a second paint job which caused some delays.  I then had some delays due to the pilots.  I was originally going to use the MTH pilots and make them fixed using some of the techniques described on this forum.  But then I found a company that made scale pilots.  Not sure if I'm authorized to identify the company here because they are not a sponsor.  I also needed to add some custom details to the pilots as well.  And since the Kadee coupler is attached to the pilot and the pilot is attached to the shell, I had to make sure it was attached well.

I also had some custom decals made.  My normal go to company did not respond to email requests. I contacted three other companies (some of the usuals recommended here) and all told me they were not taking on custom work at this time.  So I found this company in Canada and this fella did a heck of a job.  He had me take dozens of measurements and then mailed me a color chart, so I could be very precise with my color selections.  Originally, I thought, how hard could this be, it's just yellow?  I never realized how many yellows there were to choose from.

It's funny, I thought the extended cab and rear porch would be the hardest part.  They were easy.  It's been the fine details that have slowed me down.

I'm doing the LED lights now.  There are 15 of them.  The hardest for me are the ditch lights.  This model did not have them, so I'm scratch building and wiring them.  It's a lovely rainy day here today, so it looks like a good basement day. 

I'm also redoing the handrails on the pilots.  The pics show the stock MTH handrails that do not attach to the pilot because normally the pilot is swinging.  So I will get some brass and make handrails that go all the way down.

I took a play out of @BOB WALKERs play book and got creative with the placement of the on/off switch and the charge port.  The fan is held in place with a magnet.

If you have any interest in the companies that did the pilots or the decals, send me an email and I'll give you the details.





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