The year 2006 will be the 125 year that Canadian Pacific Rail has been in service. In September of 1998 CP Rail took possession of the first of it's new locomotives. Manufactured by the Electromotive Division of GM the SD 90 MAC has the highest horsepower rating of the CP fleet. These Engines are over 80 feet long. and will add a new dimension to CP's pulling capabilities.
Earlier this year CP did a loan trade with Union Pacific. UP got 4 of CP's GE4400's and CP got 4 of UP's SD-90MAC's. These were tested by CP in the interior of BC on the coal runs. Since I decided that the primary road names on my layout would be CP and UP it is only natural that I would want to add this giant to my loco collection. But the question was... How??? The only one available was the Overland Models Brass one. This was WAY out of my budget. Even if I starved for a year. Then just before Xmas I discovered a Rail Power Products SD-90MAC shell and chassis set. Well that solved my problem of how to get one. Now came the worries of how to paint it.
With the new CP Herald and paint scheme being unveiled in '98 I couldn't
rightly use the old SOO red with the twin flags, and CP had trademarked
the new scheme and wasn't letting anyone produce it. This is where
I had a flash of insight. I really liked the Tuscan and Grey scheme
of the 60's and this big monster would carry that scheme beautifully.
So it was settled. I would do it in the Tuscan and Grey scheme.
Now all I had to do was justify it. CP had shown that it wasn't going
back to that scheme as it was to costly to paint the engines with it compared
to the one colour it stayed with. After many random hours of thought
it occurred to me that the 125 anniversary was coming up relatively soon.
There! I had it. I would make this a One-Of paint scheme to
celebrate the occasion. I even came up with an idea for the consist
it would pull, but that's another story.
The assembly was fairly straight forward. I followed the instructions
that came from RPP. I bought an Athearn
SD-40-2 and took the power and drive system out of it to power the MAC.
The first deviation from the standard assembly occur when it came to the
couplers. I cut the piece off the chassis that the draft box would
be mounted to and mounted that to the body both front and back. I
cut out the area behind the nose piece so that I could run lights to the
The Fun Part
it got more fun as things progressed. Now I had to start doing the
detailing. Using an issue of Model
Railroader that did beautiful drawings of the SD-80MAC I started to
work on the railings. I wasn't aware of the railing sets that were
available for the RPP MAC unit, so I made my own railings. I used
the posts and the anti climber railings from the Athearn SD-40-2.
The main railings on the sides I bent from copper wire. I also custom
made all the larger grab irons that are on the nose and rear sides of the
unit. The grab irons on the nose and tail are after market railings.
I used a fuel tank detail kit to do the fueling pipe and level gauge on
both sides of the tank. The plow and the MU hoses were mounted on
the pilots . So now I am sitting with an unpainted shell with the
railings off but grab irons on. Time to do the painting. I
airbrushed the grey on using a Gunze grey and put it aside to dry till
the next day. Now I was facing a bit of a dilemma. How to do
the red without screwing up the grey paint and having it match the shape
of the decal striping. I decided after examining the red paint that I would
decal the stripes on then hand paint the red. Applying the
decals was quite a challenge with all the doors and grates that are on
the sides of the body. The other question was where should the upper
strip run along the radiator intakes. I finally decided on running
it right below the intake, that way it would be an unbroken strip straight
to the back. The height of the lower stripe was easier to set.
I just used the reverse down stroke to set it with. I did all my
heights by eye. I have found through my model building that if it
looks right no one will question it, at least no one worth listening to.
Even if you use a ruler or other professional straight edge, if it looks
crooked it will be assumed to be crooked. The trickiest areas were
on the fireman's sid of the body. There is a recess behind the cab
that required extra care to maintain the illusion of straightness in the
line. And on the upper stripe there was the large grill for what
I believe is the turbo charger intake. This I just skipped over instead
of giving myself a headache trying to get the decals to settle down into
the grill. Once I completed the decal stripe I was ready to hand
paint the red on. I gave the decals overnight to dry and settle.
The next day I began carefully painting the red onto the body. This
was done while the railings were still of but the grab irons and other
body details were still on. Lots of practice has given me a steady
hand when it comes to painting- as I have always tried to avoid the difficulties
of masking. The paint I used was Badger Precision Design Model Flex
#16-13 Dark Tuscan Oxide Red. This paint brushed on beautifully with
out a single hassle. After leaving it to dry for a few hours the
body was now ready for the final detailing and markings. This is
an aspect that is still ongoing to this day. I decided on using the
number 9800 as the road numbers based on the fact that 95 and 96 are being
used on the GE AC4400's. As it turns out CP is apparently using the
8100's and 9100's for the first batch of MAC's. I figure that using
9800 is still viable as they used two different numbers on the 4400' so
there is a good chance that CP might eventually use 9800 and higher for
the units yet to be delivered. As well, I built it during the year
1998. The Canadian Pacific is in the script style and is applied
on the grey stripe in the same yellow as the stripes. The Beaver
Crest is applied low on the nose. The rest of the smaller marking
have yet to be placed. The last major details that have to be done
are the windows, and thanks to Rus Goodwin and his article in the October
'98 issue of Model
Railroader I now have the part number for American Model Builders Laser
cut window set. I have used these on my 4400 and my CP SD-40-2 and
they make a world of difference, especially when window wipers are applied.
The last thing to be done are the lights. The ditch lights came with
bulbs and are just waiting for the circuitry that will come with the head
lights. I plan on using a lighting kit that is available for the
4400 as the lights are the same size. Here are two pictures of the
unit as it sits now.
The above picture was taken on my front steps. The other ones were taken on the store layout at Chinook & Hobby West in Calgary. Unfortunately their layout was not designed for large engines like this one so I was only able to place it and shoot.
Athearn's release of the EMD SD70/75 locomotives come with a easily removed interior detail piece, there was now something that would be the Icing on the cake. An interior for the MAC. When I got mine the first thing I did was tear it apart to see what the interior looked like. It wasn't bad. I painted up the one that came with the CN unit and E-mailed Athearn to get another interior for this unit. It finally arrived on Feb. 11 2000, I requested it in December of 1999. Postal problem apparently delayed it. The box was mangled as well. But the parts inside were fine. Installing it took about 15 min. I had to remove some of the underside of the shell where the cab is. I also had to trim the rear of the floor and the mounting tab at the front. The fit is very snug and it took a bit of work getting it lined up right. But I think I could drop the whole thin and the interior won't move an inch. It would have been much better to install this before I had completed the unit but Oh well. I have the wires for the lights running under the floor so I can no longer see them through the windows. I managed to snap off two of the sinclair antennas off and squish the third one. It will have to be replaced. But it sure looks nice with an interior in it.
I went down to the Ayleth Yards and took these pic's of the interior of a Mac that was sitting at the refueling station for reference.
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