JLCX #101 GP7

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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
We join this project already in progress (but not by much).
I grew up in a little town called Fairbury, Nebraska. I left for the big city of Lincoln in January of 1981, so next month will be 40 years here. The population was around 5,000 at the time. It's around 3,500 now. 6 miles east of Fairbury on highway 136 is the village of Jansen, population 113 in 2018. There is a grain elevator on the south side of Jansen, right next to the highway. This grain elevator is worked by GP7 #101, owned by JLCX leasing company. I see it every time I go back to Fairbury, where my mother and brother still live. I decided a couple of years ago that I wanted to model it for my layout.
Jansen CO-OP loco.jpg


This locomotive was originally built as CNW #1589. This picture was taken in August of 1977. As you can see it originally had a high nose, which was changed to a low nose sometime after that. This picture was originally a GAF slide, and the film hasn't held up to well over time.
CNW1589 GP7 8-77.jpg


One of my former grade school classmates was at the train show here in Lincoln (back when they were still allowed) and he had for sale a Walthers Trainline GP9M. He had it marked at $45. He told me "For you, John, I'll take $35. Everybody else pays $45." So now I own it. I'm finally getting around to it!
I have the shell off and the handrails removed. The nubs on the front and rear handrails above the steps didn't want to come loose, so 3 out of 4 of them broke. :( Some CA will take care of that when the time comes. I got the windows out intact, other than where they were glued to the cab roof. Easily dealt with. The rear light lenses came out in two pieces rather than one. Fixable.
The GP9M is different in a few respects, the most noticeable is that it has dynamic brakes while the 101 does not. Oh, well. It's mind over matter: If you don't mind, it don't matter. And I don't mind! :p
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The plan is to strip the paint off the shell and prime and paint it. The frame will be black and the body will be Model Master French Blue. I like that color, and the 101 was a much brighter shade of blue when it was "new". I will try to find some images of the coop decals and print them out. I will be installing DCC and sound. I have a Digitrax SDXH166D sound decoder on the way, it should be here tomorrow. This one of the "old" style Trainline models, it has no circuit board. I have seen some YouTube videos of people installing DCC in a Walthers Trainline locomotive, and the internals on theirs don't look like the internals on mine! The weight goes up to the top of the shell, so there's no room above it for a decoder unless you mill or grind down the weight, and by the time you remove enough material for a decoder you've pretty much cut the weight in half! So the decoder will be taped to the bottom of the weight above the rear driveshaft. According to the dimensions of the decoder listed on the Digitrax website, it will fit. The stall current is within limits, so I'm good to go there.
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I'm going to use an Iphone 4 speaker, cut down like I did for my 0-6-0 project. That will be installed with double sided tape on the front of the weight. The surface mount LED's in the first GP9M pic will be used for headlights and class lights. Being as this is Walthers lower tier model, no holes or drilling dimples are provided, but I'll get 'round that.
I'll start soaking the shell in denatured alcohol tomorrow to strip the paint. I don't want to let it soak any longer than necessary, and I won't be able to keep an eye on it this evening.
So... let the fun begin!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
An hour of soaking in the denatured alcohol, some scrubbing with an old toothbrush and small brushes, and the shell is ready for priming (once the water has completely dried off).
001.JPG


It got a bit scratched in a few places. Weathering will hide that. There are still a few small spots of the original paint on the shell, mostly in the holes where the handrails go.
I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to find an image of the Coop logo. I typed 'farmer's coop' into the search bar, hit enter, clicked 'images', and the first image in the upper left corner was this one:
Farmers Coop.png

The blue isn't going to show up well against the blue paint of the shell, and while the yellow is the same the logo on the 101 has the blue and white reversed. I'm going to be spending some quality time with this in my graphics editor program. I think I'm going to make the blue areas a light to medium gray, and the white areas blue, which is how the logo on the 101 is anyway. That should give colors that will stand out against the blue of the locomotive, and still allow the inkjet printer I have to print them. Printers that ordinary people like me can afford will not print white. They assume that the paper is white and simply use the paper for white. As the image is now, it would print nicely on white decal paper, but the blue wouldn't show up well on the locomotive.
I'm probably going to use gray primer for this. I have some Model Master gray primer, and I also have white. I plan to give the model a dusting of light gray chalk during the weathering process. White primer would make the blue 'pop' more, but since I plan to dull it back down, gray just seems to make more sense.
I'm going to let this dry overnight, and I'll prime it tomorrow.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I got the shell primed with Model Master gray acrylic primer. I will let this dry overnight, and tomorrow apply the base-coat of Model Master French Blue.
001.JPG


The weapon of choice was my Harbor Freight single action airbrush. Notice it says "AIRBRUSH". I guess that's so you know what it is? Those familiar with airbrushing will recognize it as a Badger 350 knock-off. Forgive me, OK? I didn't know any better when I bought this! :rolleyes:
When it dies, I'll get a real Badger 350. Although lately I've been looking at he Badger 200, as well. For primers and base-coats I find a single action brush works just fine. This has a lot of nooks and crannies though, so I may use my Badger Patriot 105 to apply the base coat. It's a good idea to paint the inside corners and other small areas before doing the main shell, otherwise you may wind up with a lot of paint where you don't want it!
I have read conflicting information on the interweb (gee, what a shock!) regarding thinning or not thinning primers. Some say that if you thin a primer it destroys the adhesion promoting qualities for which you want to apply a primer in the first place. Other say that it makes no difference. I find that for me adding a few drops of thinner and a couple drops of retarder (to slow the drying process) makes the primer flow better, and I don't experience as much tip dry. Your mileage may vary.
I also got the decoder. I hooked it up to my ESU decoder tester and everything worked as it should.
 

gjohnston

Slow Learner
I like your spray rig and paint booth. I have been trying to get along with spray cans and keep getting spatters of paint on my work. Then the boss complains that the fumes from the basement are stinking up the house. Looks like a couple of upgrades are needed in the paint shop.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Thanks, Greg! I built the spray booth myself ( Building an airbrush paint booth | ModelRailroadForums.com ) and it really does a good job. I only spray acrylics, so the booth is not vented to the outside. If I were using solvent based paints, I would definitely find a way to vent it to the outside, and use a different style of fan. But for what I spray it works well. It might be time to replace the filter, though. Any time I have to spray something with a rattle can I take it outside.
Acrylics can be a bit tricky to spray. They don't always like to stick to bare plastic real well, so unless the surface is rough I use a primer. And use light coats. Trying to do it all at once is flirting with disaster! Don't ask how I know this. :oops: then :eek: then :mad:!
This video has a lot of good advice in it:

It is a bit long. Airbrushing isn't as difficult as some make it seem. Don't be afraid to give it a try!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I painted the shell. I think it turned out pretty good. Not absolutely perfect, but good enough for me. It definitely passes the 6 foot test: If it looks good from 6 feet away, it's good enough! You have to know when to say when.
Here I have given the corners a light coat. Doing these first helps prevent excess paint from building up if you try to get all the crevices later on.
001.JPG


Here's the completed shell. The camera flash makes it look a bit lighter in color than it actually is.
002.JPG


As I mentioned in a previous post I scratched the shell in a couple of spot while stripping it. If this were going to be a contest model I would fill and repair the scratches, but it's not so I didn't. Santa gave me the Badger Patriot 105 airbrush for Christmas 2 years ago, and I hate to admit it but I've been kind of neglecting it. I'm used to using siphon feed airbrushes and spraying at about 25 PSI. I sprayed this at about 15 PSI. I'm still learning how to use the Patriot. I did get a nice finish on it, but it'll look even better once it's weathered! ;)
The frame and walkways will be done in gloss black. I painted the whole thing blue just to ensure even color shading on the black areas. At the hobby shop the other day I bought some Tamiya 18 mm masking tape to mask off the areas that are to remain blue. I'll use that along the edges and painters masking tape for the rest of the shell.
Now to let this dry for 24 hours.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
The painting continues.
I masked off all the areas that were to remain blue. The bottle you see on the right side is Testors Aztek clear gloss. That was the first thing I spayed (I went back to the trusty single action brush for this job), but only along the edges of the masking tape. I gave it two light coats, using the airbrush with the needle closed after each coat to dry the paint. Doing this helps to seal the edges of the masking tape, and I find it really helps reduce the color coat from creeping under the masking tape.
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Here's the locomotive after the gloss black has been sprayed. The walkways were sprayed from directly above, while the frame was sprayed with the airbrush perpendicular to the frame. I tried as much as possible to avoid spraying directly at an edge of the masking tape. Sometimes it was unavoidable, but I tried to keep it to a minimum.
002.JPG


While the black was drying I painted the truck side frames flat grimy black. I also painted the fuel tank and air cylinders. The fuel tank probably should have been painted oily black, but I don't have that color.
Once the trucks and fuel tank were painted, I removed the masking tape. By that time it had been about an hour. I carefully removed the masking tape. For some reason some spots of blue paint lifted with the tape. All the spots were areas covered by green painters tape. That stuff doesn't have a lock of tackiness to it, so I think was an issues with adhesion of the blue paint to the model. After I had stripped the old paint, I washed it thoroughly with soap and water. I rinsed it very thoroughly and let it air dry. From that point on I handled the model only while wearing gloves. I'm not sure what happened, but I have some paint left over from painting the model blue, so I can touch everything up. It's just a bit frustrating. I've never had that happen before. :confused:
Here's the locomotive as it is right now. The masking tape and clear gloss did their jobs. I'm happy with it, except for where the blue lifted.
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I also spent some time using GIMP, my graphics editor program, and made the decal graphic for the 101.
Farmers Coop4.png

I'm undecided as to whether to use the name as it is on the decal, or buy a decal set of numbers and letters and make my own. The graphic portion will only be about 1-1/4 inches long, so the letters might not print out too well. I'll have to see what it looks like once I print it out on some decal paper.
 

gjohnston

Slow Learner
The loco looks really good. I wonder why the tape pulled up some of the blue paint. I hope you can easily fix it. Will you have to do some sanding of the edges to blend the transition of where the paint got pulled, or can you paint right over it?

The trucks look appropriately dusty and dirty.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Thanks, Greg! I gave those spots a light sanding and put some primer on with a brush. I'll let the primer dry overnight and touch it up with blue tomorrow. I don't know why it pulled up. I've never had it do that before. Maybe the tape had some ultra sticky spots on it?
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
The shell has been touched up and given a couple light coats of clear gloss to seal the paint. The touched up areas were a bit darker than the body, so I repainted the whole cab with the touch up paint. I didn't have enough to do the whole body, but once the clear dried I think it came out OK. The two photos I have of the 1:1 scale model show some variation in the color shade, so I think it's just more prototypical.
001.JPG


I let the clear coat dry overnight, and began to apply the 'reflective' safety stripes along the upper edge of the frame. The ends of the frame do not have full stripes, just a 'block' of reflective material. There is an F on the front, I'm guessing so the train crew knows that that is the front of the locomotive? There are a total of 11 full stripes along the side. After placing the reflective blocks on the ends in the spots I though best, I put on 10 stripes of 2 scale feet each, with a space of 2 scale feet between stripes. I worked from the ends towards the middle, placing the first 2 foot stripe 3-1/2 scale feet from each end.
The center stripe is 1 scale foot long, but it is pretty well centered on the frame. Maybe not prototypical, but good enough for my railroad!
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I used Micro Set under the decals. I'll let them dry overnight, and tomorrow after work I'll puncture the holes where the handrails go and use some Micro Sol to really get the decals to snuggle down onto the frame.
I'm going to do one side of the locomotive at a time. Once one side is done, I'll give it a couple of coats of clear flat, both to hide the edges of the decals and to give the weathering chalks something to adhere to. Chalks do not adhere well to gloss surfaces, and they don't do too well with semi-gloss surfaces either. Yes, I know about Pan Pastels, but I like to use chalks.
I placed an order with MicroScale for some decals that I need. I need to wait for those before I can finish the decals.
 

gjohnston

Slow Learner
Looking good. I can't see the different blue colors in the pics, it blends in well. It is federal law that all locos have a F on the front to denote the front of the loco.
Looking forward to seeing the decals go on. 👍
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I got the safety stripes on and snuggled down as well as I think they're going to go. I used my word processor to make some text decals. The one on the right is in size 7 font, the one on the left is size 8. I also darkened the size 8 font decal. I like the look of that one better. The font itself is Georgia. That's the bets match I could reach as to what's on the 101. I printed these off on plain paper to check the size. Once I get the courage (and time) I'll print them off on clear decal paper. Time to work on this project has been scarce lately, life has gone bonkers! But that happens sometimes.
001.JPG
 

gjohnston

Slow Learner
The size and design look good. I didn't know you could get printable decal paper. That will look super when the decal is applied.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Decal paper comes in two basic varieties: white and clear. Most of the printers that the average guy can afford will not print white. They assume you are using white paper, and that is what makes the color white in your printing. If the decal you are using has white in it then you need to use the white paper or else anything that should be white will be transparent. If you want the background to show through the decal, such as the blue paint on the locomotive, then you need to use the clear paper.
In my case, the prototype has white graphics and lettering against a blue background. I can't print white on clear paper, nothing would show up. I can't use the white paper because nothing would print. So instead of white lettering and graphics I used shades of gray and printed on clear paper.
Testors makes decal paper, both white and clear. Their paper comes in a package of 6 sheets of 5.5" x 8.5". I got mine at Hobby Lobby for $11.99, so it's a bit pricey. The Bare-Metal Foil Co. makes Experts-Choice brand paper, 3 8.5 x 11 sheets in a package, also available as single sheets.
Decal paper is made in two types, one for ink-jet printers and one for laser printers, so be sure you get the correct paper the type of printer you have.
You cannot print out a decal, cut it out, and apply it straight to the model. The ink will wash right off the paper! The ink has to be sealed to the paper with a couple of coats of clear spray paint. Testors makes a special spray bomb called Decal Bonder (clever name, huh?), but I've read that ordinary clear gloss spray paint from Krylon or Rust-Oleum works just as well. You have to let the ink dry on the paper for about an hour before sealing it, though. My decals have about a half hour to go.
This is going to be a learning process for me. I hope it goes well!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Well.... I screwed it up. Yeah, I did. So I stripped it and am starting over. This time I'm using (horror of horrors :eek: ) Rust-Oleum self etching primer from a spray bomb! A couple of light coats did the trick. I'll give it a week to completely gas off and cure, and then re-spray it. I know some people say not to use that stuff on plastic, others say they use it with no problems. I've used it before and have not had problems. The key is to give it LIGHT coats! Do not try to get it all at once. I wouldn't try using it on real thin plastic, though.
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So now it's back to square one...
 

gjohnston

Slow Learner
Nothing wrong with a do over. Whatever it takes to get it the way you want. Can’t tell you how many times I have ripped stuff out of my layout until I got what I wanted.
 




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