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MBTA Modeling

MBTA Models

  Since modeling articles - and models, for that matter - about the MBTA's equipment are rare, I intend to use this section of my site to share the extensive information I've collected over the years. From ideas to finished projects, I'll post everything I have. If you have an MBTA modeling project that you'd like to showcase, or if you have some suggestions for how to model MBTA equipment, feel free to email me.  

Modeling Pages

  No available pages yet, sorry.  

About Modeling

  It will be a little while before I have material to post here. Though at times I've had several finished MBTA models in my collection, I recently grew dissatisfied with their quality and so am now either rebuilding them or planning to replace them.

The first MBTA project to be finished will be a pretty accurate model of a 600-series BTC-1B. I started with a Walthers model, stripping off the paint with the intent of repainting it with better purple and yellow colors. Also, the factory-painted stripes don't extend across the doorways as they should. I added some small details like emergency access switches and brake light boxes to the sides of the car. I'm currently adding grab irons in the side doorways. On the underbody, I removed a couple of boxes, relocating one of them, and added a center-sill made from styrene. This required removing the air tank and replacing it atop the center-sill. I replaced the air-brake assembly's bracing, and added covers embossed with an "X" shape to two of the boxes. I plan to add some wire parts to represent air and electrical lines. To improve looks and rolling quality, I replaced the Walthers wheelsets with new 33" ones from Like-Like Proto 2000, which required adding a shim to the truck bolster to recover the lost inch and a half from the smaller wheels. I plan to add more truck frame detail using styrene.

I will paint the car using Polly Scale Flat Aluminum, because these cars are noticeably not as shiny as the MBTA's stainless-steel cars. For the purple, I am going to experiment with lightening some Floquil Atlantic Coast Line purple to the correct shade. If that doesn't work, I'll try acrylics from an art supply store. The yellow stripes will either come from the Microscale decal sheet, or, for a faded effect, I'll try painting them on using Reefer Yellow or a similar color. MBTA logos and placards are included in the decal set, but rather than try to cut and fit the tiny numerals, I'll make the car number decals on my computer. Once I finish this car, I have a second Walthers model on hand that I'll detail as a 200-series BTC-1C. The underbody arrangement on those cars is noticeably different, so I'll have to make some significant modifications to the stock floor. I'll probably make one or two more of each type for now, to give me a full consist.

Next up will be my second attempt at a GP40MC. I never finished the first attempt, because I realized about halfway along that if I did the conversion a different way, I'd have a much easier time at it. In order to start, I just need to obtain some extra hood doors from Cannon & Co., which I'll use to extend the rear section of an Athearn GP40-2 shell. I plan to use parts from an SD45 shell to build up the flared radiator section, and the actual grilles will also be Cannon parts. The cab and nose will have to be scratchbuilt. The underframe will be Rail Power Products' B40-8 chassis, which has the correct wheelbase. Most of the fuel tank will need to be cut off and the rest reshaped to the EMD style. The body will have numerous details added for a realistic appearance.

Currently in the works is a kitbashed model of a Messerschmitt 1500-series cab car. True, I could just get a Walthers model and detail it as a CTC-1B, but those are only seen operating out of North Station. I'll likely add one to my collection eventually, but I really want to have a model of an MBB car because they're the only single-level cab cars seen at South Station. As for how I'm modeling it, I originally thought of reworking a Walthers car, but decided to be more accurate. Instead I'm using the roof from an Eastern Car Works core kit with sheet styrene sides and ends, mounted on the Walthers floor. I haven't actually constructed the sides and ends yet, opting to gain experience first by building the sides for an Amtrak baggage car to go with another ECW roof and ends.

One of these days I'll see about ordering a spare F40PH shell from Walthers. I have one currently, which was originally decorated for the MBTA, but it was damaged and its mechanism and some body parts are now being used in a superdetailed Amtrak Phase I F40PH. Using that shell to provide extra side panels, I'll extend the new shell to the proper length for an F40PH-2C. The mechanism will be similar to what I plan to do in the GP40MC. Whether it'll be in the new paint scheme or not, I haven't decided yet.

On the rapid transit front, I have an International Hobby Corp. Boeing LRV that I've started rebuilding as the MBTA did several years ago, with folding instead of sliding doors. When completed, the model will need a new mechanism since I don't like IHC's. I also have a Bachmann PCC that I'm converting to the Picture Window type, and I'll probably get another one and modify it to the Wartime type that is now used on the Mattapan-Ashmont line. Finally, I'm working on scale drawings of Orange and Red Line cars, and am starting on construction of an Orange Line car. Someday all these projects will be finished!

Alex Stroshane