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Life-Like Proto 2000 GP30 2 Proto 2000 B&O GP30's...
Life-Like's Proto 2000 line came out with Phase I GP30's in three B&O numbers (6921, 6944 and 6950).  I got 6921 and 6950 for gifts.  I decided to go crazy and renumber them for two other GP30s.  I chose 6930 and 6974.  These two units were never remade into GP30Ms (slotted battery box, etc) and were never painted into Chessie paint.  Therefore, these two make good choices for models, since the kit is nearly perfect for GP30s that were not remade into GP30Ms.

These units go for about $40 a piece.  If you find some pick them up.  They are great kits.  With only a few minor changes and some weathering you can have two accurate GP30's on the line in no time.

Below are real pics of the two units I chose.  Both are Dean Heacock photos.

                                                    Dean Heacock photo                                                            Dean Heacock photo

How to:
1.  Purchase 2 B&O Life-Like Proto 2000 GP30 kits.
2.  Do not assemble the kits.  Scrape off the road numbers with a curved blade.  It took me 25-30 light strokes across each number to get them off.  Take your time and they will come right off.
3.  Paint over the numberboards with black paint.
4.  Mask off around the numberboards and where you just scraped off the road number.  Spray with gloss coat.  This will prepare the surface for decaling.  Add Microscale decals for the road numbers and numberboards.
5.  Remove the horn from the middle of the roof.  Put a drop or two of gel type super glue in the hole.  When dry, sand smooth.  Don't worry if you get through the paint, we will be painting the top later.
6.  Right above the front face of the fuel tank is a blue piece of the side sill.  The Proto 2000 kit comes with this part painted yellow.  As you can see from the real photos above it should be blue.  Note that there is a slight variation in how this part was painted on these two units.  6930 has the blue painted below a line flush with the bottom edge of the front part of the side sill.  6974 has the blue painted below a line flush with the middle part of the side sill.  This gives the 6974 blue part a slight angle on the leading edge of the blue part.  See photos below for clarity.  Mask off the appropriate area and paint it C&O Enchantment Blue.  I just brush painted mine.  Be sure not to paint over the red fuel cap.
7.  Paint the top of the shells C&O Enchantment Blue.  I taped off around the top of the units so as to protect the yellow printing and windows from overspray.  Painting the whole top gives a nice even look to the roof.  It also gives you a reason to paint the fans.  The Proto 2000 fans are a slightly translucent blue, so painting them makes them appear more "solid".
8.  Paint the hand rail ends, m.u. hose connection and uncoulpling levers yellow.   Also paint just the step edges of 6974 yellow.  6930 had the entire steps painted yellow.  Look at the photos above and below for this subtle difference in the two units.
9.  Paint the m.u. cap and m.u. hose connection red.  Paint the exhaust on the top silver with the inside black.
10. Paint the fuel tanks on the bases C&O Enchantment blue.  I just did it with a brush.  Paint around the class lights with flat aluminum paint.
11. Drybrush the shells and bases to get the desired weathering effect.  I use C&O Enchantment Blue right out of the bottle first and add more and more white to the blue, until by the third coat I am just drybrushing with straight white paint.  Dry brush the truck frames with black and shades of grey.
12.  Tape off the windows and spray the shells and bases with dull coat.  The bases are done.
13.  Use oversprays of roof brown, dirt, and black, to simulate road grime.  Concentrate the accumulation of the grime on the pilots and side sill of the locomotive.
14.  Assemble the locomotive as per the directions.
15.  Drill a hole on the right side of the cab roof for the three chime bell.  Insert it into the hole, hold in place with super glue.
16.  You are done.  Enjoy your two GP30s.

Below are the two kits as they came out of the box.  Note the all yellow side sill.  Also, the curved blade I used to scrape the numbers is on the left side of the photo.

Below is a close up of the area with the road numbers scraped away.  Notice the position of the horns.  This is where they come in the kit, but are not where they are on the real locomotive.

Below is a pic of the kits in work.  Note that the blue has been applied to the side sill underhang.  6930 is the unit in the foreground.  Notice how its blue underhang does not touch the circle in the side sill, and 6974 in the background does.  The numberboards have been painted black.  The horn has been removed, filled in, sanded and painted.

Below is another progress shot.  The road numbers have been added, the steps have been painted yellow (note the difference in the two), the handrails have been painted yellow, the mu stand cap has been painted red, and the mu hose connections have been painted either blue or yellow.

Below are the 4 crew members for the two engines.  They come solid black as you can see, not very realisitic at all.

Below are the same 4 crew members painted and ready for duty.  The painting doesn't need to be all that detailed as they sit behind "glass" in the cabs of the locomotives.

Below are the two bases how they looked coming out of the box.  Note that the side frames and fuel tank are both black to begin with.

Below are the two bases after being weathered.  The fuel take is actually painted blue and then drybrushed.

Below are the two shells drybrushed and ready for overspraying.  Note how bold the drybrushing looks in this photo and how muted it looks in the next one.

Below are the two shells after the dull coat and oversprays have been added.  Note that I covered up the windows with masking tape to protect the window glazing from oversprays.  Notice too how the drop steps are now almost brown with road grime accumulation.  The class lights have been painted silver as has the top exhaust.  Finally, note that I painted too much of the hand rails yellow on these locomotives and corrected it in this photo.

Below are two photos of the tops of the units.  Note the rusty spots I put on the top with weathering chalks.  The roofs of these GP30 seemed to rust heavily.

Below is a photo of the two units posing together.

Below is a shot of 6930 from the front.  Note how the trucks appear differnt than the fuel tank or shell.  This is typical on a used locomotive.  Also note how the pilot appears darker than the rest of the shell, which is typical in an old locomotive.  Note how the drop step is practially brown, just like the real locomotive.