Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Locomotive CNR #2500

This project was first supposed to be an easy and straightforward renumbering operation with no modification to the shell. I bought the model - a Bachmann Spectrum Rock Island #2119 - for a few bucks on Ebay from a chinese seller based in Hong Kong. I would have prefered an undecorated version, but this one was dirt cheap and was worth the investment.

Rock Island locomotive #2119 prior to its conversion.

I first thought about converting it into CNR #2191 since the model shared many similarities with CNR M-5-c locomotive class. I stripped the Rock Island numbers and heralds with a screwdriver and started to apply new CNR decals by Microscale.

At some point, I needed more data to complete the tender (which was slightly altered to reflect the prototype). On Model Railroader forum, I asked about tender capacity (water and coal). At this point, Doctorwayne, a gentleman from Ontario, pointed me out that locomotives from N-2-b class were much more closer to the model. Our dicussion can be followed here.
Tender as modified and repainted to match CNR locomotive #2191.

After a few thoughts, I finally decided to kitbash the model into locomotive #2500, a N-2-b class engine. This implied major modifications to the tender, redoing almost all the piping on the boiler and scratchbuilding an Elesco feedwater with its water pump.

Locomotive #2500 as seen in 1959, cnrphotos.com, (2010).
On the positive side, this allowed me to get iconic CNR features such the Elesco feedwater, the cab and front handrails and a notched tender, all from my favorite favorite locomotive builder: Montreal Locomotive Works. What a feast!

Filling holes left by stripped details.
Most new details were done with styrene sheet, ball point pen parts, paintbrush handle, sprues, electric wire, brass wire, basswood and things I dug out from my junk box. Valves from the original model were also heavily altered to fit other needs.

Elesco feedwater and handrails added according to CNR practices.
I first started by building a new Elesco feedwater from scratch, using a Papermate ballpoint pen tube and a paintbrush handle. Rivets were scribbed into a .5mm styrene sheet. Insulated electric wire of different gauges was used for the new pipes. New handrails formed with soldered brass wire were installed according to the prototype. I really love the look of the front handrails, they really give the CNR look!

Steam locomotive #2500 is ready to compete with my repainted C424.
Tender modified according to the prototype.
All the modifications previously done to the tender to match locomotive #2191 were stripped! Doctorwayne is a exigent fellow! I took about half a day to makes to the change. The coal bunker and handrails were redone. Old steps were cut and replaced by new ones made out of styrene. Square notches were also made to the upper front of the tender to match my prototype.

The new water pump made from scratches.
Here's an exemple of parts I had to scratchbuild from parts and bits found in the junk box. Even infamous Accurail truck pins and Athearn diesel engine brakes were converted into pistons and pumps.

Locomotive #2500 photographed with the staff for Christmas Eve.
Completed locomotive seen from the engineer side.
Completed locomotive seen from the fireman side.
On the firemen side pictures, you can see fuzzy spots on the tender. When I painted it with a Krylon spray can, the paint started to crack and peel!!!! Horror! I've just messed up all my work. It was the secnd time I encountered this issue. Firsttime, on my 250-ton crae, I thought is was a reaction with an other brand of paint. It turns out this paint must cure throughly before recoating. I'm a little bit skeptical because I did this may times, waiting about 12 minutes before recoating and never had troube. Instead of stripping all the paint, I decided to be patient and pragmatic.

Using Q-tips and 95% rubbing alcohol, I gently smeared the cracked areas until the paint thinned and flattened. The tender top was a real mess and nothing could be done... paint was stripped.

Final paint and varnish applied.
Locomotive and tender were airbrushed with Polly Scale Steam Power Black. Firebox, smokebox, drivers, rods and trucks were given a mist of Steam Power Black variously altered with Citadel Skull White and Blood Red. A coat of Model Master Gloss Clear Acryl heavily thinned with 70% isopropyl alcohol to tone done the gloss was applied to the boiler, cab and tender sides to get a well-maintained look.

Painted locomotive seen from the engineer side.
Painted locomotive seen from the fireman side.
Weathering was done using grinded pastel chalks and applied to specific locations seen on the prototype. I didn't want a dusty or oily engine since locomotive #2500 was a well-maintained engine that kept its shiny boiler and tender. Modification took exactly 10 days with a break of 2 days to visit some family in Ottawa.

Engine #2500 exiting MLW shops and ready to work on the layout.
Locomotive #2500 seen from the tender.

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