Engine Terminal

Engine Terminal
Empties tracks at the Laurel Ridge Prep Plant- Summit Springs, WV

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The First Kitbash

A friend of mine gave me a box full of GP parts, including a complete G18, for use in some kitbashes in the future. Looking through the box reminded of the times when I would spend hours adding super detailing parts to old Athearn Blue Box engines. It was lot fun, but it was also a lot of work.

Looking through the box also reminded me of the first kitbash I ever did- an SD 40. Below is a shot of 3004 at SJ cabin.

The unit was kitbashed using an old Athearn SDP40 and a GP35 shell. I used a how-to article in RMC from the late 1970's- early 1980's as a guide. At the time, there were no commercial models of SD40's or SD40-2's available. I planned to have a large number of these units on the railroad, and this project seemed to be a good solution. Numerous Details West and Detail Associates parts were added, and new handrails were formed from .015 brass wire. I believe the article described how to make a powered unit, but this one is a dummy. This was also the first diesel to receive the "new" paint scheme that was introduced in 1966 with the large "CWE" herald on the side and "Central Belt" on the nose. Note that the CWE herald is smaller than on all subsequent units. It was done using Champ Block Gothic 3/8" decals, and I quickly decided after completing the unit that the CWE needed to be larger.

This unit was finished in 1982, and it took a lot longer than I thought it would. Fortunately, within a year or two of finishing this project, there were SD40-2's on the market with much better detail and accurately scaled hood widths. While this project was fun, kitbashing a fleet of these would have been a real challenge!


  1. Thank you for your continual inspiration to the hobby! I regularly reference pictures of the depot area at Big Chimney and the ballast at Hollister Yard as I work on my layout. Today as I stopped in here to read the updates I noticed something very familiar, a 1967-69 Ford pickup in the first photo of the kitbash, I drive one of those everyday! I have spent a few hours searching for the manufacturer, and haven't found anything, is that a custom model? It looks excellent and appropriately realistic to match the rest of the layout! Thank you again for sharing!

    1. Scott,

      Thanks for the nice comments- they are certainly appreciated. The pickup is made by Neo Scale Models and it's a beautiful model. It has some of the finest detail I've ever seen on an HO scale vehicle. Beware, though- it's bit pricey. Here's a link to one that's listed on eBay: http://www.amazon.com/Ford-F-100-Pick-Model-Ready-made/dp/B007VCV1QC.

      Tom Patterson