Old Muley’s Roundhouse

Life, photography and philosophy at 1:87 scale…

An Online Model Challenge

A few years ago, Atlas announced the “Trainman” line of locomotives. These engines had somewhat simpler tooling on the body than the usual Atlas engines. Things like grab-irons, walkway treads, and pilot details were omitted, but they had the same high-quality driveline we've come to expect. A few guys on the now defunct Atlas Forum decided to set up a contest to see who could take a Trainman engine and add enough details to make these a real winner. My choice for the challenge was a GP38-2 that I decided to “Canadianize” into a former Algoma Central engine that now wears the Wisconsin Central scheme. While I was at it, I decided to add a sound decoder- my very first.

The undecorated Atlas model already in progress. Most of the work was done on the cab such as classification lights, high mounted bell, all weather windows and relocation of the headlight.

Since these were ex-Algoma Central units, I needed to add snow shields over the air intakes as well as a winterization hatch. The F150 in the foreground is a custom model I made as well.

A clear shot of the detail work. The walkway treads are from Cannon and were a near perfect fit. I did need to make some modifications around the front steps though.

Without the body, it is impossible to tell the difference between a Trainman and an Atlas Silver/Gold locomotive. The decoder I installed was a Soundtraxx LC-100.

I had to do some machining of the rear weight to get the speaker to fit. You can get an idea here as to just how much had to be removed.

To improve sound from the tiny speaker, build an enclosure out of plastic. The two strips hold the speaker up off the weight and allow the sound to be directed downward.

Fresh out of the paint shop with a coat of WC maroon.

An initial set of decals to get things started. Applying decals is probably my lease favorite part of the process since I don’t feel I’m really good at it. Future floor wax is my seal-coat of choice.

The model is nearly finished. There are no side decals yet since no one seems to make the correct ones for this unit. I have toyed around with the idea of printing my own on a color laser printer.

Even though it’s not done, I couldn’t resist taking this engine out for a spin. Here it is heading up a consist with another GP38-2. The sound is good and it’s a strong puller.

As with many of my projects, the time from start to finish was unusually long. When our last computer printer died, we bought a color laser just so I would have the options of printing decals. These were custom made and printed by me.