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GM 50 GM50: A one of a kind...
If you saw an all gold locomotive you would think for sure you were dreaming.  Well, Chessie had one.  To celebrate General Motors 50th birthday in making locomotives, Chessie painted their second ever GP40-2 (and the second Chessie locomotive ever) as GM50 in all gold, one of a kind, paint job.  This gold paint job made GM50 one of the most photographed units around.  Luckily for us Chessie modelers, Athearn makes a dead on model of a GP40-2.  Decals are a little harder to come by.  The best set is Herald King's, but I have heard Microscale is coming out with a set.

Below is a Dean Heacock pic of GM50.  This photo shows a typical problem with old 70's photos.  It looks like the writing is black, it isn't.  It is actually dark blue.  This is also a pic of the original gold paint job.  Notice how the "B&O" letters are shorter than the "GM50" below and that the mu cables are black.  GM50 got repainted in 1983 and that paint job had the "B&O" stretched to be equal in length to the "GM50" letters.  Also, the mu cables go painted gold at that time.

                                                                                                            Dean Heacock photo

How to make GM50 from an Athearn GP40-2 kit:
1.  Purchase an undecorated Athearn GP40-2 and Herald King GM50 decals.
2.  SHELL: Drill holes for all the grab irons and lift rings.  There are grab iron locations marked on the front of the nose, the right side of the nose, the top of the nose, and the back of the long hood.  All the lift rings are on the top of the long hood.  There are about 10 or so of each.  Also drill two holes on the top back of the long hood for the fan grab iron.
3.  SHELL: Sand off the small square with the three little posts on either side of the coupler.  This is the molding for the m.u. hoses.  There are two squares on the front pilot and two on the rear pilot.
4.  SHELL: Sand off the foot boards on the front and rear pilots.  These are the protrusions at the bottom of the pilot where someone would stand to ride the locomotive.  Drill two holes in the front pilot to accept the Details West Chessie pilot.  Drill two holes in the rear pilot to accept the Details West rear plow.
5.  SHELL: While you have the drill out, drill each of the hand rail stancions so they are a little bigger.  They come just a little too small to fit the stancions right out of the box.
6.  CAB: Drill a hole centered on top of each of the six windows.  This will be where the windshield wipers attach.
7.  CAB: Drill out the holes for the handrails attach.  There are two on each side of the cab.  They are just a little too small to fit the wire right out of the box.
8.  SHELL:  Prime a Details West 3 Chime Leslie horn, the Chessie rock pilot, the rear plow, a curved fan grab iron, 2 pairs of mu hoses, a side mounted bell, 2 uncoupling levers, and enough grab irons to fill all spots they belong (around 12 or so).
9.  SHELL:  Super glue in lift rings into the holes on the top of the long hood.  I don't prime these before I put them in.  Prime them carefully when the glue is dry.  Try not to fill the hole of the inside of the lift ring with paint.
10.  SHELL: Super glue on the Chessie pilot on the front of the shell, in the two holes you drilled in step number 4.  Super glue the rear plow on.  When dry, super glue on the mu hoses.
11.  FRAME:  Primer the wheels and metal part behind the wheels with an enamel primer.  When dry paint the wheel faces rust colors and the part behind the wheels black.
12.  SHELL and FRAME: Paint the shell, trucks, and the fuel tank on the frame Floquil Brass.  Gold may seem like the right color, but it is too dark.  Brass looks very close.  This is an Enamel paint and will need to be thinned with Floquil thinner.  It cleans up with mineral spirits.  This is one of the few times I use enamel paints.
13.  SHELL: Spray with gloss coat.  Decal with Herald King decals.
14.  SHELL: Add the horn, bell, mu hoses, mu stand, wipers, drop step, grab irons and uncoupling levers when you have them primed and painted gold.  Mu hoses need only be gold at the base, the tips are silver and the hoses are black.
15. Prime and paint the handrails gold.  Attach with superglue.
16. Add #39 Kaydee coupler to the front and #32 to the back.  These will put the coulpers at the right height and allow them to not interfere with the Chessie plow or rear pilot.  You may have to remove the Chessie pilot to assemble the locomotive.
17.  Put the "glass" into the cab.  It just pops in there.
18.  Snap the cab on the shell.  Snap the shell onto the frame.
19.  Weather lightly with oversprays of dark grey and rail brown.  GM50 got dirty, just like every other locomotive, so don't forget to add this weathering.
20.  You are done.  Enjoy your one of a kind all gold locomotive.

Below is a starting pic of my GM50.  Enjoy.

Below is a pic of the frame of GM50 primered.

Below is a pic of the frame of GM50 with the wheels painted.

Below is the frame and trucks painted gold.  The frame is now basically done and ready for weathering.

Below is the shell all gold and ready for detailing.

Below is the shell decaled and ready for further detailing.  At this point the bell, mu hoses, uncoulpling lever, grab irons, drop step, wipers and mu stand still need to be added.  The horn, lift rings, fan grab iron, Chessie rock pilot, and rear pilot have been added.  The Herald King decals are a little too royal blue, but an overspray of dark grey should tone them down nicely at the end.

Below is a detail shot of the back of GM50.  Notice the lift rings, the bell, the fan grab iron on the top of the unit, the grab irons going down the rear of the unit, the drop step, the uncoupling lever, the mu hoses, and the rear pilot.  All of these details do not come on the Athearn kit, and I added them to make this a better looking locomotive.

Below is a front shot of the unit.  Notice the horn, the wipers, the drop step, the uncoupling lever, the mu hoses, and the Chessie rock pilot.  All of these details were added by me to make this unit look better.  You can also notice on the window above the "O" in "B&O", that I painted the inside light bluish green.  This is the color of the inside of locomotive cabs.  Further, the decals don't look this royal blue in real life, they look much more like the overhead view below.  The flash just makes them look royal blue.

Below is a pic of the right side of the unit.  The sight glass, above the "h" in "Chessie", is the characteristic of Dash 2 type locomotives.

Below is an overhead view of the motor.  Notice the lift rings all along the top of the unit.

Below is a straight profile shot.  Unfortunately, you can see the film on the "Chessie System" decal.  This was next to impossible to hide.  It isn't as noticeable in real life, since the flash from the camera really makes the difference stand out.