Friday, July 22, 2016

Kitbashing Grand Trunk 719 - Part 3

The work continue on GTR 719.

Among many things, the firebox was slighlty enlarged with putty to make it sloped just like the prototype. A new ashpan was build from styrene sheet to conform to the real prototype. I still need to file the plastic shell that exceed the ashpan.

Magic Sculpt putty was used to fill boiler slots. Since the running board will be lowered, I need the boiler to be extended down. I used paper strips to keep putty in place until it dried hard. If the loco was painted black, that shouldn't be a big problem, but a Russian iron boiler won't forget such details.

The domes were reattached to the body using screws. Since the domes are black and the boiler in Russian iron, I prefer to paint them separatly and attach them later.

The only exception was the steam turret which is permanently attached to the boiler.

Correct cab windows were also added. I feel the frame are a little bit large even if I carefully measured them on scaled pictures. I'm afraid one painted bright read, they will look odd. Maybe redoing it could be a very good idea.

You will see I cut then reattached the cab roof overhang. At some point, I got sidetracked while measuring the cab for modification. I was convinced I had to lower the roof and proceeded to remove it... until I found out the Bachmann cab, while not a 100% perfect match, was far better than I thought... Fortunately, I didn't butcher the overhang... unfortunately, I made my life harder and the roof is now much more brittle than anticipated. I'll cover it with a .25mm styrene sheet, hoping it it be enough to hide the problem and strenghten the parts together.

There's still a lot of prep work to do, but just adding the boiler straps is a good indication I'm in the more rewarding part of the work.

By the way, I've redrawn Grand Trunk lettering in AutoCAD using several pictures. The process was tedious as I had to draw each letter and each number individually to make sure they matched the prototype. Each character was reverse engineered to fit out the geometric rules used by the typograph to make them.

I was just not interested in using an "almost similar" commercial font, I want the real thing. While doing this, I found out GT had at least two variations on this classic paint scheme: one with bold numbers and stripes and one, more common, with regular numbers and thin stripes. I've drawn both.

Now I'm looking forward to recreate at least two CNoR paint scheme commonly seen in the early 20th century.

It should be noted I discovered Grand Trunk, Intercolonial and Canadian Northern shared the same number font on several locomotives. Also, the regular cab font was also the same for the three railroad. Temiscouata seems also to have used a  variation of the same font and I have photographic evidence QRL&PCo jumped in the bandwagon too. Well, it seems Canadian railways lacked imagination or hired the same designers or just copied available fonts from graphic standard books. The good thing is that reproducing many paint scheme shouldn't be too hard.


  1. Wow, great progress in just a couple of weeks!

    1. In a couple of days! I'm actually in vacation!

  2. Enjoying following this along, as I'm thinking about a similar project for a CV locomotive (like the no. 408 in this blog post -
    I think a similar approach to the one you're taking would work.
    Can you offer more details on how you removed the various valve gear components? Any issues? Thanks, - Marty

    1. Marty, CV 408 is definitely a great prototype to model (well, almost a clone of GTR class D2). If it wasn't for the drive, CV 218 would be equally interesting. The big headache about the conversion is definitely the boiler because the lowered running boards expose areas that were definitely not designed to be shown on the Bachmann model.

      I unfortunately didn't document the valve gear removal. It's quite easy and the "hardest" step was to remove a riveted tab located on the crosshead. Using a Dremel cutoff wheel was more than enough for the task. The other members are all assembled together and can be removed in one step. They are barely glued to the plastic parts and the crescent plastic part can be pryied with a small screw driver.

      Since there is interest in the process, I'll document how I rebuilt the cylinders as compound.

      BTW, I'm actually working on a custom decal set. It matches CV 208 sans serif lettering style.

    2. Matthieu,

      Thanks for the tips. I know Iain and I have both filled in the notch in the Bachmann boiler when lowering the walkways - a process Iain described in his Bachmann to CV N-5-a conversion article. We cemented a strip of styrene - slightly oversized - into the "notch" and then sanded to fit and puttied smooth.

      I'd be very interested in a set of CV decals.....

    3. Marty, where the article was published? I'd be be curious to see how it was done.

      If you have a high resolution side view of a CV locomotive, I wouldn't mind making the artwork.

  3. November 1999 MR - it was also reprinted in a Kalmbach book on detailing steam engines.

    I will work on getting a higher-res scen!

  4. If you don't mind the observation, prototype boiler straps are quite thin, and barely visible, being defined as much by the way the edges catch the light.
    On metal I used thin copper foil, tinned on one side and tacked into place: this was for a simple black all over colour scheme. On a different model, bought from a friend, he had painted the boiler the base colour, and then added strips of cellulose based tape, which was first stuck onto glass and the painted, before being cut into narrow strips with a single edge razor blade, and then stuck on. Those straps are still in place a quarter of a century later.

    1. Simon, I used the tape trick on a previous kitbash. It did work quite nicely. Once stuck on and painted, they indeed are very durable. On this project, I'm using 0.25 mm thick styrene.But at this point, I'll have to replace them since I'm extending the boiler shell.

    2. Having seen the new straps, I think the white of the previous unpainted straps was accentuating them. New ones look good.

    3. It was definitely a good improvement to replace the boiler straps.