HO LIRR #614 FA Modeling
When the LIRR started picking up FA’s,
they combed the country for all available units.
SP&S FA1 units got sidelined by the Burlington Northern,
A last comment regarding the preservation of these units; It was sad to
learn of several locomotives being destroyed by fires or collisions.
I will never understand the logic behind ravaging the ex-WM #304
into a truly ugly monstrosity! We
can be grateful for the efforts of a small group of imaginative men who
purchased the remaining retired fleet brokering them out to collectors,
museums, and preservation groups. I
know of at least four units being rebuilt for operation as traditional
ALCO freight locomotives, while others remain untouched, rusting away with
little interest from the preservationists who acquired them.
A last comment regarding the preservation of these units; It was sad to learn of several locomotives being destroyed by fires or collisions. I will never understand the logic behind ravaging the ex-WM #304 into a truly ugly monstrosity! We can be grateful for the efforts of a small group of imaginative men who purchased the remaining retired fleet brokering them out to collectors, museums, and preservation groups. I know of at least four units being rebuilt for operation as traditional ALCO freight locomotives, while others remain untouched, rusting away with little interest from the preservationists who acquired them.
I built two of these units for my Long Island-New England model railroad. The first was a Proto unit, complete with motor. While the Power Cars never actually pulled a train, I wasn’t about to remove the motor! Of course, I could keep the motor and disengage the drive gearing, which would be pointless but prototypical! The second unit I modeled was a Bachman dummy unit. Not all FA’s were created equal, and roof details were modified after their original owners pressed them into service. In comparison, the two units are more like “cousins” rather than “sisters”.
1. I first ground off the plastic railings and grab irons. I made replacements from brass, drilling set holes and gluing them with ACC (“Superglue”). Next, I brushed Floquil engine black paint across all the grating and louvers. If the coming paint job missed crevices, I didn’t want Union Pacific yellow showing through!
2. I got ahead of myself here, in that I sprayed the unit with its first coat of platinum paint. This was acrylic military light grey. Acrylics are so much easier to clean up! I may never go back to distillate solvent paints again. A second view of the locomotive after the first air brushing of platinum. The remaining horn on the hood was later removed and replaced with something far more authentic.
|3. I fabricated MU receptacle from brass strips and bits of tubing. I soldered wire behind these for mounting into holes above the pilot anti-climber.|
|4. A second close up of the MU receptacles glued in place.|
|5. Ready for next painting; the blue stripe.|
|6. After the platinum had dried for two days, I used painters tape to line up the borders for the blue stripe. This takes patience, since getting both locomotive sides the same height and straight is a bit of an art form! The really difficult part is getting the tape snug around the railings and raised plastic edges. Inevitably, you are going to get some under-spray, but that can be touched up later with a fine brush.|
|7. I used Tamiya acrylics flat blue to add the MTA blue stripe that matched the window stripe of the converted MP72 trailers. And a piece of advice; use lots of tape to cover everything you don’t want to be blue! At this point, the unit looks more like one of the later paint schemes|
|8. Tape removed and Tamiya flat yellow acrylic paint applied to the pilot using a brush. While other guys might want to try re-taping the car body, I didn’t have the patience. A small brush can be effective in getting paint into restrictive spaces.|
|9. I waited another two days before decaling the locomotive. I wanted the various paint layers to harden and settle onto the units surface, but I also needed some time to do this job without interruption. Decaling can be a difficult process at best, and a disaster at the worst. I cleared an area on the kitchen table, had plenty of overhead light, some tweezers, a clean brush, and some good scissors. I cut the decals with a small margin around the images, then place them in tepid water. I removed the decal sheet before the film slips off of it’s own accord and gently slide them into place. Once satisfied with the placement, I soak up excess water with a torn edge of a paper towel. When they have begun to dry, I use a clean brush to apply Solva-Set over the decal. Solva-Set causes the image to settle down over any bumps or raised surface features. I let this dry entirely on its own, not soaking up any excess liquid. Once Solva-Set is applied you should avoid touching the decal further.|
|10. Reassembled with most of the work done. I have to added some details at this stage and fix a few under-sprays near the cab windows.|
11. I sprayed the unit with flat overcoat for several reasons. The overcoat dulls decal film and makes it fairly invisible to the viewer. The flat finish darkens the intensity of the bright colors. Another layer of clear flat coat adds a hard shield to prevent chipping, which is essential if your H-O layout track work, like mine, is second to collect rolling stock. Lastly, I want to weather this unit so it has some soot and road dirt apparent. My other unit is heavily weathered, looking so much like I really remember them, but I also wanted a comparison unit, since not all locomotives wear in the same manner, depending on service and time in Morris Park