I always had a fascination with the Milwaukee Road. This curiosity became more apparent after I moved to Moses Lake, WA for a short period of time. When I was up there I heard all the great history behind Moses Lake and Othello relating to the Milwaukee and I became hooked instantly. The SD40-2 worked well for fitting into the SP of things as well. In the early to mid 80s there was a surgance of Milwaukee SD40-2s in the general pool of locomotives. When I found out some of Milwaukee's SD40-2 also had Locotrol it turned into one of those "must do" modeling projects regardless if this particular ever saw a mile of SP track. I think this one will be a Milwaukee unit first and a pool unit second. Now to get some Milwaukee Cabeese!
Starting point for this model is a Kato SD40-2 I had lying around. It was originally repainted by a friend of mine, Kevin Isbister, into a dynamic brakeless MoPac unit. After some stripping with Chameleon I realized that the Kato stock paint wasn't completely removed from the alcohol Kevin used, so the original colors started to show through the MoPac Paint. No big deal as the Chameleon made quick work of the paint removal process. The only problem is the Chameleon reacted with the plastic of the Kato model making a few parts of the shell brittle. I ended up removing the damaged parts and replacing them with Cannon and Co. Fortunately they were all parts that I was going to cut out anyway.
The dynamic brake was the first problem since the model I had on hand was dynamicless I had to figure out a quick way to install the appropriate hatch to replace the existing sans db hatch. Luckily an Athearn SD40-2 DB worked perfectly. I just had to shave off the mounting pegs on the inside of the DB in order for it to rest flush on the shell. I also replaced the entire roofline with Cannon Parts and replaced all stock fans with Cannon's as well. The first problem I ran into is when I drilled out the holes on the radiator fans in back of the unit, it cracked the plastic (due to stripping with Chameleon) on the fan hatch. This paved the way for a new Cannon roof and fan hatch etched detail from Plano. This wasn't that big of a deal as the end result turned out better then the original stock roof.
The next item of business was the problematic pickup and gross underframe bevel. This presented more of a challenge as I had no way to feasibly remove the bevel and the extra material on the fuel tank. Fortunately a friend I have is very proficient at the mill and he machined both the tank and the bevel off. I asked him to remove all the way up to the holes for the shell mount tabs. This really required some aggressive machining but it was worth it in the end. The Kato underframe is the only chassis right now that can stand up to the extensive modification required to represent the Milwaukee SD40-2. The Athearn SD40-2 frame becomes fragile if the tank is milled down to it's prototype length.
For the trucks I'm going ahead and modifying Athearn's sideframes for the Kato model. This should significantly improve the appearance of the model overall and will be easier to glue to as well. It literally is a round peg into a square hole situation. Creative machining of the Athearn sideframe is required for this project as well...thanks Jeff!
Here's a Prototype photo for reference.
4/1/04 In Progress Model Photos (Photos by Harry Wong):
Dynamic Overhead Detail
Radiator Fan Hatch Modifications (and recovery)
Front Conductors Side of the Cab and Nose
Shell Overall with Major Body Modifications
Shell with Added Frame Rails (.125" Styrene "C" channel from Evergreen) and Bolsters (Scratchbuilt from .020" raw stock)
Chassis Inserted Onto Shell
Chassis Underside Tank Modifications.