Getting on the GO

Well, another addition for the collection! It has nothing to do with my Layout, but something I have wanted for many years, and on many occasions considered investing the time and money into the various resin kits that have been available over the years. As much as I like building things for myself, sometimes, the win is being patient and the market coming to you. This morning I picked up my GO Transit F59PH locomotive from Rapido Trains, and it is an absolute beauty.

When I first started working in Toronto in early 2003 until I moved into the city in early 2005, I commuted by GO Train from my parents house at the time in Georgetown to Toronto Union Station every day. At the time, the F59PH’s were the only power on GO, as was the case from around 1994 until the replacement MP40’s started to arrive in 2008. These are what I think of when I think of GO Trains. There are still a handful left in service, largely for the new London train as it requires 2 F59PH’s to haul it because of line weight restrictions (one to haul it, and a backup in case it breaks down so they are not stranded far from assistance).

GO Transit 528 rolls through the curve at Pottery Road in 2006, GO 528 in HO Scale rolls through Liberty Village in some kind of time warp.

They arrived a few weeks ago, and I finally had the chance to pick mine up from the Toronto Railway Museum Store. They still have them in stock, as do most stores, but as people see them, I don’t imagine they will last long on the shelves! A variety of early GO (as mine is), a single Experimental GO scheme, and modern GO, along with other operators of the locomotives are available. Of the 72 F59PH’s built, 49 were delivered to GO and 23 to Los Angeles Metrolinx. Other operators including Montreal’s AMT/EXO, Metra, North Carolina Department of Transportation and Trinity Rail Express have used ex-GO locomotives as they were supplanted on GO.

Unboxing the F59PH from Rapido Trains. Typically solid packaging protecting the locomotive within. It looks exactly like I remember GO Locomotives in the older paint scheme with the yellow striping along the base of the body.

As this doesn’t fit on my layout era, it won’t get a lot of use, for the immediate future, it is going in my display cases with other locomotives, though in the future, when the older Athearn Bilevel coaches I have are replaced with the soon to arrive ones from Rapido, it may spend some time on Canyon Road, and almost certainly I am going to be replacing the locomotive sized cabinets I have with something that can accommodate short trains on display.

I did do my usual basic testing with new locomotives of running them on the test and programming track to make sure it runs, and that the various lights and features work. A short video of the locomotive running and the sounds is below for anyone interested in hearing it.

Wrapping up a Repaint Project

I do like to finish projects. This was a relatively simple one, strip and repaint a locomotive. The only significant change I made was to add a set of Nathan K5LA horns as the cluster of horns is very prominent on the roof of the cab on GO MP-40’s. This project was a repaint for a display of GO Transit models for the Toronto Railway Museum, as we have not been able to source a modern GO loco for it. I understand our post may have brought someone forward to donate one, so now we will have a couple, which is always a good thing.

When I previously wrote about this project, it was my struggles to strip the shell, a commenter suggested another product, Super Clean, a degreaser that also will apparently strip paint. I decided for $10 it was worth a roll, my experience was that it was not effective, but that certainly doesn’t seem to align with the experiences of others online when I searched. I obviously saved the product to try again down the road the next time I need to strip something. My sense is this paint from whatever factory was doing Trueline Trains manufacturing was about the most baked on ever.

This is more of a photo gallery series post, so with that, walking through the process of prepping and painting the locomotive:

Trying a new stripping approach with a product suggested by a commentor. It did not seem to have any impact on the Trueline Trains paint that wouldn’t come off with my usual approaches. But, as you can see from the primer, eventually it was clean enough to spray.
Masking after painting the white base. Using an Athearn Bi-Level to help set the stripe location.
Masking and painting the green, then the black roof areas. Similarly masking and painting the plow.
Applying Decals and finishing touches to the GO MP40.

With that, this project is done. Its a holiday Monday here, so I delivered it to our staff at the museum. It should be installed in the display case in time for Doors Open Toronto next weekend, and the summer season. For Doors Open, while I won’t be on site, I dropped off several of my models for the Train Show the museum will be hosing. If you are in the Toronto area, check it out.

Gallery of the Finished MP40 and with my previous GO Project, the Hawker-Siddley Single Level Cab Ar. I really need to finish that sometime!

Giving a Locomotive Shell…The Dip

How my twisted mind envisions this locomotive shell reacting to my efforts to strip paint from it…

Stripping factory paint, something that sometimes you have to do when working on a project, and not one of my favourite things to do. I am working on preparing a model for the Toronto Railway Museum, and I needed to strip off a factory paint job. Normally, this is a painful and messy, but reasonably straightforward process. This locomotive, a Trueline Trains MP36 has been anything but. Normally, much like Judge Doom getting rid of troublesome toons in the dip, after a dunk in isoproyl alcohol for a day or so (often less), most of the paint normally falls right off, and the rest comes off with some scrubbing with an old toothbrush.

What I expect to happen when I Dip a shell…melting away…maybe with less maniacal glee than the Judge though…maybe… (Though I love me some maniacal Christopher Lloyd in this movie)

It became clear fairly quickly that this shell was not going to be cooperative, the paint was seriously holding on to the shell, even after a long dip, the paint would barely scrub off with a toothbrush. The reason of course, that I want to remove the factory paint is to get to clean plastic to primer and have a smooth surface for painting. Not taking the factory paint off would mean the ridges from the layers would show through the new paint, and it would mean adding even more layers of paint to the model (by my count there are at least 4 layers of paint/pad printing on this from the factory. Even after several days of being dipped and scrubbed, the paint was holding tight, and in some spots, becoming goopy as the multiple layers of paint softened at different rates. Thankfully, isoproply alcohol generally doesn’t affect the plastic so the shell itself is fine, but it meant having to break out the harsher chemicals to try and get the paint off.

Disassembling and stripping paint (or at least trying to) strip a Trueline Trains MP36.

Fortunately? I had a can of Testors Easy Lift Off that I have had for years. This however, is a much stronger and harsher chemical product for removing paint. This is not a product to mess around with, good ventilation, respirator and good gloves. In my case, outside on the patio. The good side of the bad, is that very quickly, just brushing on some ELO and waiting a few minutes, it started to move paint where the Isopropyl dip was not. It didn’t move all the paint, and frankly, once I remembered why I hated this stuff, I’m glad it did enough to get probably 90% of the paint off and moving, leaving the balance for the much less caustic isopropyl.

Progress eventually, but after having to tackle it with a much harsher stripping agent.

Its been over a week, and it still hasn’t come off with serious scrubbing. I am going to do some more, I haven’t been able to sit outside and give it a good and hopefully final scrub, but I can definitely see a finish line to the cleaning part of this project so I can prepare the few minor modifications I am going to make to the shell to be more GO Transit accurate as an MP40 instead of the MBTA MP36 it started as, it won’t be a perfect model, but the museum has been unable to source a factory GO painted locomotive at a price we could afford, vs this one, so a repainted stand in it is.

Finally, I need to find my DVD of Who Framed Roger Rabbit now and give it a watch, I think its underrated and I haven’t watched it in ages!

Recent Arrivals and Project Beauty Shots

Having recently acquired some new models, and being finished or nearly finished some builds, I got my collapsible photo booth out today to document some of the projects. This is just a nice archive post of some new models and some projects for myself. Hope you enjoy!

Athearn Genesis CPR SD70ACu and RiverPoint Station pickup truck. Before I get brave and add some light weathering to the gorgeous beast.
Rails of Sheffield/Bachmann Trains Caledonian Railway 828
Yarmouth Model Works resin freight car kits. These have not been dullcoated yet, and the lighting/flash illuminated a few spots where the decals need some more settling, these were shots of convenience as the booth was out.
Sylvan Scale Models American LaFrance 700 Toronto Fire Department truck.

A crew for CPR 7000

Another quick little project, that has taken far longer than I thought it would. I decided at some point to have crew figures in my Athearn CPR SD70ACu No.7000 for the Canyon Road Diorama. So I ordered a variety of seated crew figures in HO Scale from Modelu3D in the UK. I figured from a selection of five figures, I could get three to fill the cab.

Selection of 5 crew figures being painted, and the cab before and after they were installed.

Historically, I have not enjoyed painting figures. I am however, with many things, getting better. I am learning about layering paints from light to dark, using a touch of water to further thin acrylic paints to get different tones. All five figures, even though you can’t see them in the loco have their trousers painted with the same blue paint, but I have at least 3 different blues between the amount of water I added and how heavily I applied the paint.

My one complaint, the Athearn locomotive has a genius magnetic cab roof to be able to install crew, but no cab lighting so once they are in there and the roof is on, they might as well not be there.

Getting the figures in posed some small challenges. The engineer was able to slide in as the desk in front of him was loosely glued in enough I could pry it up to slide his legs in. The conductor in the left hand seat, well, he’s short a left leg to get him to slide into place, and the third reading the paper, he got off easy! The real sad part is, for all the really nice features this locomotive has, it doesn’t have in-cab lighting, which means, the figures will never be seen unless I take the roof off. That’s fine I guess, its disappointing as while for the main layout, I don’t intend to have figures as it makes it too static if they never move, for small projects like the diorama that are static, its not so bad. At the end of the day though, its one more thing ticked off my to-do list.

Something Blue and Beautiful and completely not for the Layout!

Another week, another arrival for 2022, this is turning into a spendy year and its only 3 weeks old!

Unboxing and checking out the Rails of Sheffield/Bachmann Caledonian 0-6-0 No.828 in its “As Preserved” form on the Strathspey Railway in Scotland.

This time, it is yet another British locomotive for my collection. a Caledonian Railway 812 Class 0-6-0, painted as No.828, the sole survivor of the class. I had the pleasure of seeing her in 2011 at the Severn Valley Railway Autumn Steam Gala, and it was fantastic. This is purely and totally a “makes me happy” purchase. It was ordered in June 2018, so it’s been almost a four year wait, but so far, after some quick inspections and testing, a wait well worth it.

828 seen from the 2nd floor terrace of The Engine House in Highley on the Severn Valley Railway in 2011. Gorgeous locomotive, even at 25mph slowing to the station stop!

I need to actually get my pop up photo booth out and take some beauty shots of this and the SD70ACu (especially before I weather the latter). A task for next week. A couple of quick test videos of 828 on the programming track being operated from the ESU Lokprogrammer follow.

While not nearly as good looking as the videos of the model, I wasn’t even sure I had uploaded these, but a couple of low quality videos from the camera I had at the time in 2011 are below: