Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kitbashing Grand Trunk 719 - Part 1

Change of plan, I'm now modelling a 1907 Schenectady-nuilt Grand Trunk engine. The lure of Russian iron won me over this idea.

Ask Canadians about iconic steam locomotives of yesteryears and they will invariably list the Royal Hudson, CNR streamlined "Confederation", CNR #6060, CPR Jubilee and many other Canadian Pacific locomotives in tuscan red livery with a stainless boiler jacket.

You end up getting the feeling Canadian locomotives began to look great in the 30s, which is plainly wrong. In fact, we underestimate how much reshopping can change a Belle into a Beast.

Such is the tale of Grand Trunk #719 who started life with pure lines, high gloss paint and a planished iron boiler jacket... and ended up as a hardworking powerhouse with a gritty and industrial look thanks to a wealth of appliances.

I took the liberty to merge together two pictures gleaned from "Canadian National Steam!" volume about Consolidations. Since it is for educational purpose only, don't expect better quality pictures by respect toward the author. The books are well worth their price for the consciencious modeller.

Credit: Donald R. McQueen, "Canadian National Steam! Volume 5: Consolidation Types", DC Books, 2014


While I tried to keep a maximum of details from the original shell, it was evident stripping them all and start all over would be less frustrating and not that much more complex. You will also see the nice Walschaert valve gear is now gone. It took some courage to dismantle it, but I had no choice if I wanted to go the prototypical route.

Domes were trimmed to be the right size, in particular the original sand dome which was cut in to halves to remove excess material and glue back together to make a correct-shaped steam dome.

As the evening progressed, my interventions on the locomotive were more bold. The cab was seriously modified to fit the builder photo and CN diagram. Yes, the cab window now looks large, but that's how things were in the good old days.

The cab roof overhang will be reattached later when it will have been lengthened and modified. There's still a lot of puttying to be done, but I'll be soon able to add details.

The big challenge of this locomotive will be the painting process. It will be a real challenge because Testor Buffable Gunmetal Metallizer must be buffed to get the correct shine. It means I'll have to pre-drill the boiler and apply many details like piping and handrails later on, which isn't exactly my definition of fun. But it's for the sake of doing something unusual. Unfortunately, I can't provide the prototype builder picture, but I can assure you it will be classy.

Talking about unusual, a reader kindly provided a NMRA Achievement Program link exhibiting some work of Clare Gilbert (owner of Sylvan Scale Models) who built many nice early Grand Trunk engines.Unfortunately, the pictures are not high resolution, but nevertheless, they are enough to show the amazing level of craftmanship employed to make sure the models were prototypical.

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