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July 2001 - Page 35


this Cadillac is that it was salvaged from the dead track before torches were put to it, but its documented that none of these units were sold at that time. Maybe honesty would be the best answer. The model was b uilt as Milwaukee 511 at the end of its life as an SD7; worn out, dirty and rusty. It shall remain that way as C&W 872. As with several of the ALCOs, building one SD7 in the previous owners paint scheme backdates it as going into C&W service in the early 1980s. Being able to trace the history of a locomotive to retirement or scrapping is the preferred type of prototype history that supports the C&W scenario. At that point in time it could be a possibility for the C&W to procure the unit. CB&Q SD7 303 became BN 6026, but remained in Q paint. This was one of a group of 7s that were retired and sold for scrap in 1983. By that time it was rough and needed complete rebuild, but at least it was intact. Southern Pacific SD7s went through as many as three SP rebuilds before retirement. E ach time things were changed, such as numbering series, removing lights, adding lights, removing lights again, etc.; typical SP practices. Southern Pacific always did have expensive habits it finally caught up with them in a big way! No. 1533 began life in the 5300 series, t hen 2700 series, next the 1400 series, and finally in the 1500 series. No. 1533 is from a group of seven units not equipped with a steam generator, thus only one rear mounted holding tank, for fuel. Through its SP rebuilding ventures the light groups were changed several times, class lights blanked out, lift bars changed, pilots modified, plows installed and removed, and so forth. As far as the plows are concerned there is good reason why things were done. The origi nal footboards were removed and the pilot modified to fit a plow. When the units were e ventually designated for switcher duty the plows were removed. A unique item on 1533 is that it is one of a small group of SP rebuilds to receive a newer rectangular housing for the lower sealed-beam headlight; the SP standard for the lower headlight was an oval housing. The final SP rebuild removed the upper light group leaving only the lower s ealed-beam headlight intact. The upper l ight group mounting brackets, front and rear, were left intact with cover plates. This was such a common SP practice that Details West made the exact part! Two fuel tanks were needed on this locomotive for reasons of capacity and to cover the Proto 2000 motor well. Typical of prototype rebuilding a new front section fuel tank was fabricated in the shop. This was accomplished by modifying the existing fuel-tank casting following prototype examples. On page 12 in the November/December 1995 Diesel Era are several photos of Nevada Northern 401 with a small fabricated front t ank. On page 49 of the same issue is a photo of an ex-Milwaukee/Soo Dakota, Min-

C&W 873, ex-SP 1533. Since SP had removed the upper light group the brackets were left intact as this would eliminate the removal of the bracket and relocation of the lower headlight to the normal higher position. Since this model represents a newly rebuilt unit the weathering was done with a very light touch using a double-action airbrush.

Whats this? A 100-Class switcher in a road power article? Yep. Along with CF7s NW2 134 is used on the lightweight Westcliffe Branch, so in a broad sense it could be cross-classed as light road power. As a rule it is only put into such service when there is a shortage of available lightweight shortline power. It also is a good example of discreet weathering. This model is another prime example of backdating my own prototype. Plum Red and Moldy Gray were the first official colors of the C&W RR. This switcher represents a unit rebuilt and repainted in the late 1970s, s o heavy weathering was an absolute must, but not to the degree of trashing it out and obliterating the original colors. It was weathered entirely freehand (no masks) using a double-action airbrush with an extra fine tip and needle. Using 25 psi air pressure and an enormous air-to-paint ratio with the double action, very thin paint (thinned with automotive lacquer thinner, which evaporates immediately when it hits the surface) can be applied without damaging the previously applied paint. One can paint so fine with this technique that its possible to write your name on the side of the model. (CAUTION: Practice this technique on scrap shells until very comfortable with it before trying it on a good finished model!) The lettering and numbers needed to show more wear than could be obtained with airbrush weathering alone so the decals were worn down with an eraser. Then they were coated with Microscale Liquid Decal Film before being cut from the sheet and soaked. The numbers on the sides of the cab are barely discernible. Notice the bright rust along the lower edge of the pilot plate. Frequently, home shops will torch off unwanted items and not dress down the cut with a grinder. Cuts such as this will rust very rapidly. To replicate this the footboards were cut off with flush-cutting Xuron nippers but not filed smooth; they were just painted with bright rust. nesota & Eastern 558 sporting a shop-built full-size front fuel tank. How neat, just what the C&W needs! Another unique tidbit of prototype SP detail variation is that a sister unit to 1533 had a non-SP standard horn, and it was mounted backwards, i.e., single small trumpet facing forward. The C&W Rebuild S hops replicated this on 873 by using a Nathan M-3 horn. Next month well finish up with a look at heavy C&W road power, weathering techniques and present a Bill of Materials for the engines covered.

JULY 2001

MODEL RAILROADING 35

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