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A few years ago, I acquired an unpainted Lionel Legacy Southern Railway PS4. It was missing a few appliances; reverse lever, sand domes, water pumps, air tank, and some piping.

I had thoughts of modifying it the engine to represent a CB&Q (Burlington) class S4 4-6-4. I've be a Q modeler for over 60 years. The overall design of the Southern PS4 was so close in appearance to the Q's Hudson, that only a new trailing truck and a few modifications to the boiler and tender would turn this gem into a very close model of the prototype engine. Back in the late '60, someone took an HO brass PS4 by United Models and modified it to the Q's S4.

After toying with the idea for the last 2 years, the one area that I would have to make a major modification to would be the cab. The Q's Hudson had a slanted cab whereas the PS4 was straight. In order to make this change would require a lot of work, and at this stage it was more than I wanted to tackle.

Although I am not a Southern Railway fan, I always thought the PS4 was a beautiful engine. So rather than modify it, I decided to bring it back to life in the original paint scheme that this engine deserves.

I was lucky to find that Lionel had most all the missing parts I needed. The missing air tank was available from Precision Scale and the additional piping was added using brass rods.

Once I attached the various parts, I started the process of painting the engine. Disassembled the entire engine and removed all the major appliances and electronics. After a thorough cleaning, I primed everything. The inside of the cab is painted a light green. Then I painted the smoke box and fire box with a mix of Floquil silver and graffiti. This was followed with Scale Coat II black for the frame and boiler below the running boards.

I used Scale Coat II Southern Railway green for the boiler and tender, which is where I am now.

I still have a lot to do, hand paint all the piping green and touch up some black and silver. The cab roof and the top of the tender need to be painted an oxide red.

Decals need to be added and then final assemble. I figure I'm still about 2 weeks away from completion. When I paint my models, I like to let the paint set for 2 to 3 days before I handle the model again.

I'll post more photos as I go along.



Images (12)
  • PS4 unpinted
  • PS4 unpainted
  • Phase 1 painted smoke box
  • Phase 1 painted smoke box
  • Phase 1 cab interior
  • Phase 2 masked ready for green paint
  • Phase 2 masked ready for green paint
  • Phase 2 tender ready for green paint
  • Phase 3 Boiler painted green
  • Phase 3 Boiler painted green
  • Phase 3 cab interior
  • Phase 3 tender painted green
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Yes, I plan to do the Crescent version. As for K4, below is the link to his web page. Lionel did do a very nice job on this engine. At times I though about just leaving it as is, but giving it a coat of semi-gloss enamel to show off all the brass appliances and fittings. But once I found decals, it was a no brainer to bring it back to life in the green livery that this engine so well deserves.


Spent a little time this week working on hand painting the piping and doing some touch up. Yesterday I mixed several different colors of Folquil paint to match the red/orange used on the cab roof and top of the tender. After several tries, I got what I think is a very close match. Going to spray it on Monday.

I'm in the process of reassembling the frame and reattaching the driving rods. More photos next week.



Images (2)
  • Phase 4 a (2)
  • Phase 4 a (4)

Very nice work. "K4" is a great source for stuff. 👍

Back in the late '70s/ early '80s, David P Morgan wrote a piece in "TRAINS" magazine about the PS4. I don't remember the title, but I was so impressed that I wrote a letter to him, then forgot about it. A few weeks later I received a letter back, from him, thanking me for my note!

I still have that letter someplace...🙂

Mark in Oregon

Last 2 days spent doing a lot of fine hand detailing and touch up. The boiler, cab and tender are ready for a gloss coat of clear and then I can start on the decals.

I still need to paint the smoke stack and boiler front. Install glass windows and figures. Then final cleanup and touch up before final testing and assemble.

Will keep you posted.



Images (5)
  • Phase 5 (1)
  • Phase 5 (2)
  • Phase 5 (3)
  • Phase 5 (4)
  • Phase 5 (5)


I applied Testors GlossCote Top Coat with the blue label. The new blue label Testors is all that my hobby shop carries now. I think that when Rust-Oleum took over Testors, they changed the labeling. I called Rust-Oleum and was assured that thinning with Lacquer Thinner is still recommended.

I've also been side tracked these last few days so I have not yet applied decals. Hope to get back to it later this week.


Yes, I have done several diesels as well, not Southern. Here are a couple of photos of completed paint projects. Other project diesels for some friends of mine were a Conrail SD40, UP switcher, Milwaukee Road F3, and a few others. As for steam, I've done a lot of CB&Q, UP, NYC, and PRR.

I enjoy painting and have been at it for 50 plus years. When I modeled in HO, I did a lot of CB&Q, Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Colorado Midland, Virginia & Truckee, and even some special custom paint schemes.



Images (4)
  • IMG_4906
  • CB&Q E7 9921 (2)
  • CB&Q S2 9309 (3)
  • CP SD90 MAC (8)

Ray that is one sharp engine, outstanding!! I just bought a junker PW 2020 on line and striped the paint I used Krylon satin blk, then added the numbers and keystone, After that I used valspar int/ext satin clear top coat, Looks good, bought the number from radtrains (ebay) and did look at k4decals, Have a GG-1 pw would like to strip and do burnswick greeen, HAGD again very nice. Mark


Images (2)
  • mceclip0
  • mceclip1


I use several different brands of paints, depends on what I am painting the the paint scheme. For the Southern 4-6-2 I'm doing now, I use Scalecoat II.

For finish coats, either gloss or dull, I use Testors which is a lacquer based finish.

It doesn't matter if I paint plastic or metal. I always spray a coat of primer on the model before spraying any colors.

Sitka, nice job. Although I don't use the rattle can paints, I do know that they can produce a nice finish. Keep up the good work.


Ray you do absolutely gorgeous work. I am looking to a custom paint on a Alcohol S2 for the MCRR in Pittsburgh, my grandfather worked for that railroad and my dad worked for J&L Steel which owned the railroad. Hope that decal shop has them for the MC. I want to paint it the way it was delivered to the railroad in 1939/40 when he worked for them. Hope mine is half as good as yours.

Last edited by RJT

Very nice! The Southern PS-4's are among my favorite steamers. I just bought a Broadway Limited early Southern PS-4 in N scale that I had been waiting for someone to produce for a long time. I have been debating buying one in O scale myself one day. I am glad to see you restore it to it's original condition. Very good work.

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