Super Detailed Locomotives

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by SeriousSam, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. SeriousSam

    SeriousSam Member

    Howdy. What kind of locomotive details have you guys applied? Im talking about details that were not included in little plastic bags with your locomotives. BLMA grab irons and such. And other manufacturers' details. If you have pictures, please share.

    Also, does anyone know where I can find the MU hose that Atlas is using on their newer GE locomotives? Im talking about that big orange or yellow hose that hangs on top of the snowplow. Atlas has them but Im wondering if anyone else makes them.
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    If you are handy with a pair of needlenose pliers, you can bend your own MU Cable out of .012" brass wire, and paint it red.
  3. KCS

    KCS Member

    Here are some links to makers that I gt part's from. Just about anything you can imagine all to way from the the white GPS dome on top of a AC4400 all th way to over flowand filler pipes on the fuel tanks evn fuel tank hangers. You name it. Look at some of the pictures on this site. Should give you an idea. Then there's also these others. If one company doesn't have it then another one will. . Then there's Detail Associates but I can't seem to find their site. Maybe someone else here knows the link. Hope this helps.
  4. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Unfortunately, I don't think those will help SeriousSam... Companies like DW, DA, etc. usually make HO details.. Sam there needs N-scale stuff. hamr
  5. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    BLMA is your best bet. You can see what all they have by doing a search on
  6. engineshop

    engineshop Member

    I am using BLMA cut lever, mirrors, sun shades, lift rings, hoses and newer projects the fan sets;
    Sunrise Enterprise windshild wipers, plows, lift rings;
    On my newest projects Atlas MU hoses since the bend better than the Sunrise ones.

    I bend my own grab irons from .008 brass wires since I just lose too many that I could afford the BLMAs.
    For the E and F units (Southern Pacific) I use .008 stainless steel wires since I don't have to paint them.



    Those grab irons are still the old .012 wires that I need to replace.
  7. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    And I thought detailing HO was tough:thumb: :thumb:
  8. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Nice Work!!!
  9. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

  10. skipgear

    skipgear Member

    As mentioned above, the best collection of diesel detail items are available from BLMA. Detail Associates has some items. A good source for both steam and diesel part is also Gold Medal Models. GMM has an excellent steam detail set available, they also have generic items like handrail stanchions, stirrups, and steps.


    The B&O herald, stanchions, and pilot steps are all from the Gold Medal steam detail set.


    There are a few various stanchions from the GMM set and some other random parts from other photo etch sets used to detail the end rails. The grabs are all Tichy phosphor bronze wire in various sizes.

    I'm doing steam era stuff so sometimes you just have to get creative and look at the various products out there to find something that will work. I have some photo etch sets from Detail Master for 1/24 plastic car models that have items that I plan on using. One being a speaker grille set which is going to work good for generic foot plates and small walkways.

  11. Shooter

    Shooter New Member

    Here two in-progress shots, which show the details themselves more clearly:


    I use GMM's diesel detail set for windshield wipers and cab sunshades, BLMA grab irons and lift rings, JnJ MU hoses, Sunrise Enterprises horns, antennae, bells, and speed recorders, MT Z/Nn3 couplers, and GMM's GP18 detail set for louvres. And I bend .008" wire for handrails, using GMM stanchions.

    But unfortunately, N-scalers don't have as many items available to them, so depending on how detailed/accurate you want to get (ESPECIALLY with horns), you have to do some modifying and scratchbuilding of your own. For example, on the GP38, I had to cut down the GMM cab sunshade to match Southern's more closely, I had to cut up and rearrange Atlas horns, and I had to cut up and modify BLMA walkway lights for the Southern on-hood version. On the GP-16, I had to cut up GMM GP18 side skirts. And then I bent some wires for piping, used styrene rod for air reservoirs, and cut and shaped other styrene pieces to represent filters and other under-frame items.

  12. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Great detail work guys!

  13. SeriousSam

    SeriousSam Member

    Those are all awesome. Hey Engineshop, is that an SD80 or 90?
  14. oldshutterbug

    oldshutterbug New Member

    Some folks may consider me to be abnormal but I cant see the sense in super detailing N Scale locos, I find them very fragile as they are without fixing other bits and pieces to them so they can break off, I also think they are to small for fine detail, once on the tracks and running these 63 yr old eyes would not see superfine detail, personal opinion of course.
  15. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Great Looking Locomotives.:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  16. engineshop

    engineshop Member

    It is an SD90 since the SD80 has a unique (strange) rear line.

    I don't think it is abnormal not to detail engines. I do it because it is fun and gives me something to do while watching a football game or NASCAR. I even started buying only undecorated models even if Southern Pacific engines are available because I like to airbrush as well.
    Some people spend weeks and weeks to figure out a switching list while I don't even have or will have a industry on my layout.
    Others spend their time to find out what engines and rolling stocks were used at their railroad of choice sub-division on October 9, 1956, 10.12 am while I own engines from all over the country plus one from Brazil and three from Switzerland.
    I think that is why we chose this hobby, because we like one or more aspect of model railroading.
    Enjoy what ever you like about our hobby and never listen to anybody that tells you what is considered normal in this hobby.
  17. Shooter

    Shooter New Member

    Actually, it seems to me that the majority of N-scalers are appreciative of the work that goes into such projects, but don't see or feel a need to get to that level of detail. These engines certainly are fragile, and you have to keep in mind the fact that you will need to occasionally take the engine apart for whatever reason. You can't grab the engines in all the places you did before. About the only place I can grab my engines is with a thumb under the fuel tank, and a finger on the DB fan (careful not to crush the lift rings around the DB fan).

    Of course, it depends on each modelers situation and approach. Many detailers go by the "3 foot rule", which basically states "If you can't see the difference from 3 feet, it's not worth doing.". For example, if you are setting up some engines that will primarily run on N-track layouts, where the viewers are roped off a few feet from the tables, then lift rings (for example) won't be visible to the viewers. And forget adding grab irons on a black engine for that distance, they'll never show. So those detailers merely add things like those big red MU cables and A/C units, to give the engines a little uniqueness so that they could be identified with their prototype, and it works. Don't forget, weathering goes a LOOONG way in a realistic feel of a model.

    My personal goal is to try and replicate as much of the sense of mass that the real trains have when you are standing near them. Due to its size, this is especially difficult in N-scale. But eliminating the things that tend to make N-scale trains look like "mini-lionel" when viewed up close (such as code 80 rail, pizza cutter wheels, etc.), and adding alot of fine details, really starts to give me the sense of mass with these models. Mind you, on an N-trak layout, one can't use Z/Nn3 couplers (not strong enough), and has to use pizza cutters, so we all just have to do what meets our particular requirements.

  18. SeriousSam

    SeriousSam Member

    I have about 85 locomotives and a very small layout because of space. At this rate, I am never going to run them all. So I try to detail them and put them in a glass display case where they can be appreciated. Some of my family members and friends are very picky and are quick to say "that doesnt look real because the grab irons dont stick out like they should" haha. So I am going to install grab irons and AC units and MU cables and try to make them as real as possible. I just hope I dont mess my locomotives up
  19. SuperChiefRules

    SuperChiefRules New Member

    I agree. Great work!!!

    I have recently aquired some gold medal models details, and i have been happy for them, but as stated, they are mostly generic stuff like wipers and mirrors.
  20. Shooter

    Shooter New Member

    May I suggest that you then first practice on an older, or secondary engine first? Just like you would want to get an old train-set car to practice painting, decaling, and weathering techniques, you can get practice on an older engine, or even a car. Or, just order a body assembly set from Atlas (what, $12, $15 at most for an undecorated GP38 shell, handrails, etc., etc.?).

    How about super-detailing a caboose for practice? I took a Model Power caboose from a train set and practiced with it. I removed the roofwalks, cut off the mounting lugs and plugged the mounting holes in the caboose, then I carefully sanded the roofwalks until they were realistically thin, and glued them back on. I got a smokestack detail piece, and installed it with some .006" wire for supports. Shaved off all the grab irons and redid separates with .008" wire (even the curved ones). And then scratchbuilt ladders out of .008" wire, brake wheel stands out of .010" styrene, and uncoupling levers out of .008" wire. The only piece I didn't already have was the smokestack, so it was cheap. Now I have some generic caboose that doesn't look toyish, and I got alot of practice out of it.


    Now, I wouldn't use all sorts of expensive detailing parts for a practice engine. For example, it's pretty straightforward to glue on an A/C unit, so you don't need to do that on your practice engine. But get some grab irons from BLMA, a GMM diesel detail set, the tools you think you'll need, and get comfortable with the process. As you do this, you'll see what methods and tools work for you. No stress, no worries. If you gouge out a grab iron too much, or mess up the angle of a grab iron, it's no biggie. We all make mistakes like that when we are detailing engines. The trick is that we also learn how to fix those mistakes.

    Down the line, after you've done several engines and want to try something more advanced, come back to your practice engine and add finer handrails with a GMM handrail set and some .008" wire. Bend your own sanding lines out of brass wire. scratchbuild air reservoir tanks. It's not expensive, it just takes some time and practice.


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