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Started by John McGuyer, May 18, 2010, 03:55:25 PM

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John McGuyer

This is a project I've been working on for some time. It is a 1/32 MTH A-B-A set up in Southern Pacific 'Black Widow' scheme. MTH does not do the Black Widow so many, many changes were done to change a Pennsy unit into one. The thing that you might find most interesting is the use of watercolor pencils to get the fine water and rust streaks that SP is so famous for. These engines also have many details that I have seldom seen modeled.

In the first photo you can see the snow plow that SP uses in the mountains. These were made from brass and screw on to the two A units. Also the lift rings. Had to make the lower light as the Pennsy didn't have one. It has working Mars lights. The emblem and orange are decals. Everything else is paint.

The second photo shows one of the most interesting things on the engines. Those frames sticking up on top. What those are about is that SP runs through the mountains during the winter. The snow forms icicles along the front of the snow sheds. Along comes the passenger dome cars and the icicles break the windows in the dome. That doesn't go over well with the paying passengers. So SP puts those frames on the engines to break the icicles. The horns were spin cast from my patterns as were the air line fittings. Note all the grips up the nose. Those came later in life when ease of maintenance became more important than pure esthetics


John the water color pencils are a great idea- I gotta try that. I suppose you need a flat finish for them to grab? Did you ever try a wash over them to spread and blend them too?

That is a nice loco set. The big scale must be fun to throw all the details at, and finely finish the weathering like you have done. Nice to see here.

John Palecki

John McGuyer

Here are a couple more shots. The front truck is done as described in the Modelers Annual using thinned white glue and MIG pigments dabbed in. They were then airbrushed, Bragdon weathering powders brushed in and finally detailed with the watercolor pencils. The idea was to get them looking as dirty with oil and grease in joints. The trick is to do all this without gluing everything solid. This is an operating engine! You can also see that stirrup for climbing up the nose.

This second shot is an overall view of the front A unit (remember there are two). The front unit has the sound system and lighting features. It also has the crew in the cockpit.

John McGuyer

Whoa! It posted instead of calling up the second option

John McGuyer

After these things had been service for awhile, they tended to cut down the side skirts. This is what has been done here. It required building the fuel tanks which was fun as the MTH system had only the bottom and that screwed on to pegs. It is on these skirts that you can get a better idea of the pencils and their effects. I am just learning to use them so there is much to learn. I understand you can take a damp cloth and make a more feathered line. I have not tried to seal them as my models are never left outside in any kind of weather.

The rear truck is pretty much the same as the front one.

Ray Dunakin

Cool. Very interesting model!
Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World


Very nice model of a great looking set of engines.

Interesting technique with the pencils.

btw are the engines in the back of pic #4 also 1/32 ?


Way to go, McGuyer! -- Russ


Very nice indeed!
Thanks for the pencil tip too!

John McGuyer

Here is a couple more shots. Close up of the cab shows the open window. Also the mirrors and sunshade. Again you can see the rain streaks from the pencils. They are very easy to use and you can do all that super fine stuff that is next to impossible with a brush or airbrush. Now to convince Uncle that they are the hot tip for paper models. One of the toughest jobs was to make those side grills. Couldn't find any etched material long enough so had to splice them. Then trying to keep the ribs straight while soldering them on and not unsoldering the other three ribs. Plus not filling the grill openings with solder. The other shot is a close up of the icicle breakers and horns. I made a whole series of horns for Ozark that can cover almost any situation.

The diesels on the shelf are all 1/29. I make the patterns for many of the parts at Ozark and they are my rolling test beds. All have spent some time in shows and the public seems to like them. The SD45 has a working rotating beacon which gets much interest.


So who's complaining? Nice work.

By the way, while I haven't tried the pencils you used on paper I have tried others. The texture of the paper made the pencil lines too "grainy". I also tried pastels with slightly better results. Watercolors (a tiny bit of dilute pigment on a tiny brush) worked best.



I have had some nice results with tamiya mixed with water (ratio; a few drops of paint to a spoon of water). Colours I used were Brown, red brown but mainly buff. After mixing you take a fine brush, say 5/0, and apply the rain streaks.
At first the effect is hardly noticable but it has the advantage that you can dose it any way you want by repeating the process.

Marc B

Chuck Doan

I've always liked that scheme. REminds me of the opening scenes of "bad day at black rock"
"They're most important to me. Most important. All the little details." -Joseph Cotten, Shadow of a Doubt



Beautiful work on the faricating and adding of all those details. They really add to the final model. Like the coloring as well.

I am an unreliable witness to my own existence.

In the corners of my mind there is a circus....


Jerry Barnes

Nice work John. The pictures really show it off well. I'll have to dig into my watercolor pencils. They also make a wax base color Pencil(Prismacolor) I wonder how those would work out?