Saturday, April 29, 2023

An Opportunity to Improve

The model railroading hobby is full of twists and turns, and as the hobby improves so too do we have the opportunity to improve our modeling.  The recent push to get locomotives wired for auxiliary lighting allowed me time to consider a closer look at those that went out for upgrades, and I decided it was a good opportunity to improve the details where needed.  

A spotting feature of modern GE diesels is the handbrake chains, which are exposed and visible hanging from the frame down towards one of the trucks on the locomotive.  They are quite fragile in HO scale, and while nicely modeled by Atlas from the factory they are routinely broken - especially over decades of moves and operations.  I took the time as the paint cured on the step lights to reinstall the chains, thanks in part to chain from Tom Schmieder.  

Here's a pair of GE B40-8 locomotives that have operated for years (more than a decade!) on the Onondaga Cutoff.  Now they have proper lighting - and repaired details!

Now these locomotives will not only look sharper during the night with their step lights but also all the time, with the correct handbrake chains re-hung.  I used phosphor-brass wire eyelets to make hooks that will ensure this installation is more durable than the factory installation.  

Other details got a hard look, too, including the air horn o n C40-8W 6155.

The stock horns on these older Atlas models are sub-park, too small and poorly detailed.  Thankfully detail parts are available and Details West has a variety of cast-brass horns like this beautiful Leslie Inc. RS-3L - an exact scale replica of the horns favored by Conrail.  

Details matter in this hobby, and it's fun to have the ability to make improvements like this!

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