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Project Builds, Detailing, Painting, Weathering

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Luigi Taveri

B-Atlas BQ23-7 conversion

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This is a circa 25 year project!  I’ve had the Bachmann model since the early 90s, initially upgrading the chassis to a Bachmann Plus B23-7 but it never stood comparison with the later Atlas U-Boats and B-Boats.  I've completed this conversion on and off over the last couple of years, with a bit of push over the last three months.


There have been a number of articles on upgrading to the Atlas body and chassis and it isn’t difficult.  There are a couple of key issues.  The first being that the Bachmann cab is approx. 1mm too wide and it was just about finding the courage(!) to razor saw cut down the centre of the roof and the centre of the nose and then just glue it straight back together again.  A new front door and new headlight fitting assists this.  Otherwise the other main problem is the glazing.  I have taken the time to use offcuts from AMB glazing sets and filed them to fit.  I hate filing for flush glazing and I have put that off but it is really worth the effort.  Previously I’d back glazed the Bachmann unit and it showed it for what it was.


And then there’s the paint job!  I’m running units suitable for early 90s to early 00s and by that stage BQ23-7s weren’t particularly well looked after.  I also wanted a Family Lines scheme to stand out from the SBD and CSX schemes already in place on my layout and CSX 3001 quite appealed.  Google it and you’ll see that it is a mix of shades of grey, and it’s not neat.  I’m more than happy with the finish in the flesh although I can’t make up mind whether the tones are too harsh in the photo?


The decals are from Microscale and needed cutting to suit the missing lettering, as well as altering the position of the herald to bring it closer to the front of the ribbons than Microscale print it.

CSX 3001 is an interesting choice as it has more windows plated over than the rest of the class (equalling less filing of small pieces of plastic glazing).  It also doesn’t have the distinctive hand wheel brake on the front platform that the rest of the class have – I had problems trying to secure this on the previous model attempt so I was happy to avoid this as well.


There are some compromises.  I haven’t bothered modelling the front left (brakeman’s) replacement window frame.  I tried not to overdo the weathering and avoided including the big patch of light rust between the front windows.  It just struck me that I wouldn’t make it look convincing on the model and it was better left off.  I may go back and weather the sun shades with rust effect shown on the prototype photos but I’ve not come across a photo looking down onto the cab roof and again I don’t know whether it would look right.


(There are also other compromises in the photo – it is a corner of the layout that still needs finishing, and the covered hopper is awaiting some weathering and completion of the installation of the roof walk but that is for another time).



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Very nice model of a very ugly prototype!

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