Craig's RC Conversion - C&NW Low Nose GP-9

Hello Everyone,

I thought that I would just start a new post so I could put up my pictures so far of the progress of the work on my engine. I’m still waiting on quite a few parts to show up for work to start on my drive (namely being the drive itself…heheheh) so I figured that I would get started on the walkway frame, dynamic break, engine mount and brass frame work as well. I’m hoping to order the drives this week, along with a few odds and ends for detailing.

Here is the adjusted frame and engine mount. To get correct positioning of the frame and walkway I needed to remove those 5 small ‘feet’ that were originally on the mount itself. I still need to get the 2/56 screws and nuts to mount this bad boy, but we are getting close. Note the skirt has been completely removed. I will have to add a small wing around the fuel filler port, which I will start on next. I will add it on the walkway frame and I will also fill in the hole as well.

Here is the adjusted mount and Dynamic Brake housing. The Dynamic Brake housing went through quite a bit of changes. In doing a little research I found that the C&NW didn’t use the Dynamic Brakes. However when they bought more of the GP-9’s from other roads, they had the brakes installed. So instead of redoing the body itself, they just removed the dynamic brake and then patched over the vents and fan port. So that I what I have done here. I removed the grates completely and patched the hole. Now little did I know that I didn’t have any putty, so I will have to run to the hobby shop tomorrow and get some. Once I have it I will fill in the grate gaps and then patch any holes present in the top hatch area. I won’t really worry about doing a great job on the top hatch as the pictures I have seen clearly shows the plugged hole. So I want folks to realize that it was plugged.

I have done some work on the frame with Bob’s guidance and have installed the “I Beams” running the length of the frame. The next step will be to work on the adjusted fuel tank and mount it as well. Once I have the fuel tank done (with the speaker installed) I will post more pictures.

Craig -

Good job with the photos! :mrgreen:

Rick Bacon once told me that a lot of prototype modelers use orange Bondo available in lifetime-supply tubes from the auto parts place. I’ve primarily been using that on my models. Just be aware that you don’t want to have an “oops” with it as the solvent immediately attacks styrene. Leave it and sand it out later.

I’m not quite sure, but in at least one of your photos of 4511 it seemed that a metal plate had been installed over the louvers. If so, you might try a small rectangle of 0.005 styrene. It could save some filling and sanding.

There are a lot of searchable C&NW GP9 photos on that may more clearly reveal C&NW “standard practice”, if there was such a thing.

I’ll be sure to look over more pictures Bob. The photos I had looked at looked like the yanked complete the grates and then just slapped some sheet metal over the holes. Either way it’s done…it’s going to be very unique.

Working on the cab detail right now. I FINALLY got my order from Des Plaines for the GP9 Split Windshield for the Paduca (sp?) modified noses. I figured that will be a pretty close start for the cab…the I need to scratch build the light assembly.

Also got the GP-18/19 conversion for the fans, so I will be working up the front fans for replacement to the bigger shell.

I do have a question for you guys. What lift rings should I use? Do you have a Part Number for them?

Thanks and stay warm fellas.

It looks like P&D offers them: PN# PDP1027, Lift rings, EMD, Brass (14), $6.00

I am also aware lift rings by Detail Associates (hard to find, look like bent wire), Atlas (seem oversized) and Precision Scale (both plastic and brass). FWIW, the RC kit should have included plastic ones.

As for the putty that Bob mentioned, I got mine at Wal-Mart for around 5 buck back in the last century and am still using it. It’s Bondo brand “spot glazing” in a metal toothpaste type tube. I’ve had to clean out the tube end a couple times, but I keep squeezing and putty keeps coming out!

I also use an old Tenex bottle that I mixed half and half with Tenex (any plastic solvent will work, i.e. MEK, Testors liquid cement, lacquer thinner…) and styrene shavings to form a plastic paste. It works great to fill small seems and joints and helps make up for miss-fit joints. When I clean off my workbench after a styrene building project, I gather up all the tiny pieces of styrene left over and just drop them in the bottle. I apply the paste with an old paintbrush. To keep the brush clean just dip it back in straight solvent when finished.

Thanks for the info Rick.

Well…spent a good chunk of the weekend (last night and late today and tonight) working on the engine. I have the new 48" hatch installed in front of the Dynamic Break housing. I have the 5th coating of putty done on the D.B. housing grates as well have the fan port covered on the D.B housing as well.

I was able to “Judo chop” the nose and I have been filling the panel lines on the conductor side of the cab, as well as filling the number boards and other various not needed holes. I will have to re-install the class light holes, but that don’t be a big deal to do that. So all in all, she is coming along nicely. Much better then I anticipated that is for sure. Tomorrow I’ll try to post some progress pictures for your paroosing.

I did also put in the order to P&D tonight. OUCH :smiley: hehehehehe Now I remember why I am in HOn3. With the cost of the detail parts and drive system I could have bought a complete HOn3 engine. (breathes into paper bag…) Seriously though, it isn’t as bad as I thought that it would be. Just need to put in an order for a few odds and ends from DCC Hobby Supply for the speaker and the LEDs for the various lighting situations. It definitely won’t be as complex as Bob’s or Jackson’s…but it should still be fun :slightly_smiling:

More to come later…

As promised…here are a few pictures for your paroosing enjoyment :slightly_smiling:

And one more…

Well…the parts have shown up. So now we should start to see some movement on the assembly.

I just finished up re-mounting the new sprockets on my truck assemblies. Looks like I am going to need to pin my upper sprocket assembly, but the lower one seemed to fit a bit more snug and should be OK without the pinning. Once the pinning on the upper assembly is complete I will be ready to re-assemble the trucks and get them ready for mounting :slightly_smiling:

The motor is mounted in the housing and will need a few screws to anchor it down.

I did mount my speaker enclosure as well. Got it all sanded and stuffed with speaker grade insulation. I’ll be very interested in hearing how this rounds.

Got a few more odds and ends on order (more LED’s from Digikey) and will need to put in a small order to P&D for a plastic number board (if they have it) and a newer set of decals.

All in all however…things are starting to move :slightly_smiling: Like I told Bob tonight, I must be getting anxious to run this engine. I’m starting to make diesel sounds while I am working on this. hehehehehe

Things have started to come to a screeching halt this week. Did a parts order to Digikey and they shipped the wrong parts. And I’m finding that I can find a decent solution for a number board setup (well…tried scratch building one and it didn’t look really good)…so I know have another shell for bashing on order :slightly_smiling: heheheheheh

I guess I’ll start to wire up some of the lights. I ended up getting a 408SR from DCCHobbySupply for my drive control and a Tsunami for my sound control, so now I can start to work on my lighting and know how many functions that I have to ‘play with’ :slightly_smiling: Looks like 7, so I will try to light and control as much as I can for this little endevor.

More to come when I actually have something to show off :slightly_smiling:

Craig -
We can’t wait to see your recent progress, especially how the new fuel tank and speaker came out.

As for planning decoder functions, a good place to start is with your handheld throttle. How many unique functions can you easily access from your throttle? You will run out of buttons before you run out of available functions! :astonished:

Next read through the Soundtraxx decoder manual (available online) and decide how many functions you want to devote to sound. Note that the Tsunami really wants 2 functions for the horn (long and short.) Some less-used features such as coupler clank may need to be retired. Since your locomotive has no dynamic brake, you can recycle that function as well.

All this may serve as motivation to power as many lights as possible from the rails. Good candidates might be number boards, ground lights and walkway lights.


Very good points Bob. I hadn’t even thought of the sounds :slightly_smiling: hehehehehe

I think your right on the lights. Probably would be a good way to configure them.

Greetings Everyone,

Well…I figured I’d get of my backside and get another update out on my engine. It looks like tomorrow I should be able to get this engine powered up with DCC for the first time. I have my 408SR installed and configured…and I have my Tsunami ready as well. My thought is that I will use two different short addresses and the same long addresses on the decoders. That way control on the engines should be OK when running normally, but then when I program I should be able to call up each decoder separately. That’s the plan anyway…we’ll see if it works. heheheheh

Anywho…here are a couple of shots of what the guts look like.

Here is my “PCBA” which houses all of my LED connections. In retrospect I should have done the board a bit different, but I was having a bit of a brain fart at the time I wired everything up so I had to do things this way. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I kept my connections right. Anyway, on the left of the board is my track power LEDs (walkway lights and number boards). In the middle will be my class lights and on the right are my head lights. I still need to do my beacon, but I will probably do that at a later date (need to find one first).

Here is my rear gear assembly and ‘tower’ that I have built to connect to my Tsunami. I am using a small IDC connector, for quick disconnect and ease of installation. So far looks like a winner for connections. I have a similar connector for my 408SR too, making it so that with those two connections I can completely remove the shell from the chassis.

Here is the chassis assembly. You can see my other ‘interconnect board’ on top of the motor. You can also note the gear towers installed ready for action. I did a power up using DC once I got the trucks installed and everything worked like a champ. The gear ratio is going to make these engines great low speed runners, great for switching.

The test hopefully will go smooth, then I will work on mounting the frame and body and will then finish up my other details. Then on to painting, where I will have a nice surprise to show you all once it is done.

Sorry these aren’t better pictures. I got lazy and didn’t setup my photo rig.

Have a great rest of your week guys.

It is looking mighty fine, Craig! The 4-pin plug is a very nice addition. Is the female epoxied to the shell, or does it float loose? Either way it’s a winner.

I see wires to the 408 but it isn’t clear where it lives. Is it under the front set of radiator fans? Where does the Tsunami go, and how do the speaker wires get to it? More photos, please!

For individual programming you might consider using the decoder lock CVs. With two decoders drawing current the decoders may not read back on the programming track, even with a Soundtraxx programming booster. If so, DecoderPro might help in keeping “track” of decoder programming.

Any chance you can show it off at this week’s NCMRC meeting?

Hey Bob,

The 408 lives under the large 48" fan just behind the cab. I figured that when I install the fan and grates this should give enough air flow to keep things cooler. The Tsunami lives under the two rear fans (and just below my lighting fixture for the back of the engine). The LED’s drop resistors are probably over kill, but I wanted to ensure that I wasn’t over driving each LED (so I won’t have to replace it. heheheheh

I did just try powering it up and I did do some simple programming in Decoder Pro on it. Right now I have the engine labeled as A&O #714. Can you and David provide me feedback as if that number is taken?

Tomorrow I will start playing with the two decoders together :slightly_smiling: (wanted to tonight, but Jamie is feeling a little under the weather so I don’t want to blast her out of the house with my killed bass. heheheheheh) Anywho I would love to hear more of the decoder lock. I did see that you can do this in Decoder Pro so I think that I will probably do that (seems a lot simpler then what I was planning on doing). How do I program with it (what CV’s do I have to set) and can I do all of the programming in Decoder Pro?

OH yea…all of the IDC connectors are mated to a free wires female connector. I didn’t mount it to the side of the chassis on this go around. I couldn’t figure out where to get all of my wiring to fit for the motor area, so I have it sitting horizontal. The Tsunami is sitting vertical (as seen on the small tower in the above pictures).

As to showing it off - if I can get my sounds setup I think that I will bring it for demo on Thursday. I had hoped to enter it in the contest this month, but I guess I"ll need to wait until next year. But as far as just showing it off…well…I always like to do that :slightly_smiling: hehehehhehe

Well…took a little ‘mental’ day today and am doing some airbrushing on my engine. Started off with a good primer coat and couched up any bad spots with CA. I also noted on those spots I can use the CA as a start for some rust spots, so I am pretty happy with the results.

So far I have around 4 coats on the yellow (not Ziti or High Vis Yellow - but the standard orangish yellow). Probably will try to shoot a few more coats tonight before I put it up for a day so that the paint will cure and harden. Then start the masking to prep for the green (which should go a lot easier vs the yellow).

All of the detail parts have been put on, aside of the windshield wipers, grabs, and MU and Air Hoses. Those will be hand painted and will go on last. Then the plan is to do a bit of weathering, from the posts here I think that I should be able to come up with a nice rust, grim balance.

Eric - any suggestions on how best to do my dullcoat layer for the C&NW Yellow and Green? Was thinking of putting a drop of white in with the dullcoat as you had suggested in your thread, as that should pop the green, but I don’t think that it will do much to the yellow.

Got the green shot last night. Still need to paint up the grabs with the green, but we are getting close.

On the weathering - I’m thinking that I will do something similar to this engine (and as well on the #712 - which I am modeling my #714 after). … id=1828102

I looks like the top will be some nice burnt umber and raw umber with a fair amount of light weathering. Just wanted to see what your suggestions may be as well on it Eric.


Craig- yes a couple of drops of white will fade the green and yellow. But if the yellow needs some more made do a thinned white mix with some ammonia and take a cosmetic sponge to dab on a little more fade in random areas.

Test this first on something else so you get an idea of how much the fade will show as it drys.


for the roof I would do a thin wash of raw umber, let it dry and then apply another if needed to get the overall basic look. Then you can go in and focus on someof the dirtier areas with dry brushing or using pigment pwoders. To get the powders to stay once applied you can airbush a very light coat of pigment fixer then aafter it dries apply dullcote to seal.

Sorry I just got around to catching up on reading the posts.


Thanks for the info Eric!! Pigment fixer? Where do I pick that up at? Any art supply store?


It could be actually mineral spirits aibrushed very lightly to not lose anything you have done with the pigments.

Mig does make a pigment fixer though and that works pretty well: … fixer.html