Wednesday, September 12, 2018

MLW RS18 Madness - Part 16 - Last Call

Hard to believe this series of blog posts is running since December 18th, 2013. Backe then, we were modelling a more or less convincing rendition of Limoilou yard in the mid-1960s with lot of Alco and MLW power in the roster. Another one of these layouts where you need about a gazillion engines to run dozens of scheduled trains you could never have time or operators to ran... Ah, the good old days!

That said, I've never regretted kitbashing these RS18 from Atlas RS11. It was a fun process and I've learned a lot... and got myself quite decent models which I weathered to my heart content. Given RS18s have been a staple of Canadian railroading since the mid-1950s to today, having a few in a collection isn't a liability at all. No wonder Rapido picked up this great prototype and I certainly can predict a lot of people will buy then by lots. I'll be honest, I'm looking forward to their versions. While I'm satisfied with my locos, I know their obvious shortcomings in term of electronic and details and wouldn't mind acquiring a chopped nosed RS18u if it ever hit the market for our Murray Bay layout..

Not to bad for a Life-Like isn't it?

But enough about consumerism fueled by commercial propaganda. On my desk there is still a last RS18 to kitbash, which is the ubiquitous NBEC 1816 (ex-CP Rai) that ran on CFC during the mid-2000s and was a fan favorite that instantly attracted railfans. I love the old worn out Multimark CP Rail scheme but I'm well aware I'll never build a CP-themed layout. Having these RS18u in Charlevoix is quite a happy coincidence and it's why I decided to complete my kitbash once for all.

The photo etched fan grill will house the twin speakers.

Will it be perfect? No, but as close as I can without loosing my mind. This locomotive will be a stand in for a while, but it's not an excuse to be sloppy and I'm trying to make the best I can out of this heavily bashed Life-Like shell. Among the CFC locomotives I can put in operation, it's the fastest project to complete. Also, I want to do some extreme weathering on this particular locomotive and this kitbash will be a good opportunity to try the military approach once again on a worthy subject. NBEC 1816 was quite worn out when it ran on CFC and will be a fertile ground to experimentation.

Hinges, door handles, extra flag holders and window sills add life to the model.

And I won't skim on electronics either. I'm planning to equip this engine with a Loksound Select decoder (Full Throttle), a keep alive and two speakers. Working ditchlights will also be featured to fully recreate the experience.

As far as things are, I glued the shell back together, a looking at higher resolution pictures of the prototype, I found out small details that I didn't notice when I started the build. Theses tiny details were added as much as possible to recreate a good rendition of the real locomotive. They give personality and they are fun to build.

Some wire and Atlas parts can create surprising results.

Another thing I did which I never in the past was rebuilding handrails. Using Atlas RS18 stanchions, I removed the piping and replaced it with 0.0125" wire. Not only it looks better, but now the handrail configuration is matching the prototype. I was surprised how the process went smoothly though it required some time. By the way, all delrin parts have been soda blasted to improve paint adhesion. I certainly hope to reduce paint flaking as much as possible.

So at this point of the day, the shell is almost ready for primer and paint once I add the train line hoses and dropping steps on the pilots. As you can see many grabirons, headlights, end endrails and brake wheel are missing. It is intentional as I plan to paint them separately and apply them when the stripping decals are set in place. Adding stripes to a detailed model is always an excruciating experience and I prefer to take an easier path that leads to more consistent results.

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