ATSF GP35u 2821
Santa Fe 2821 is a modified Kato HO scale GP35 that I painted and detailed. This is one of my oldest Kato models. I bought a pair of Santa Fe GP35s when Kato introduced them around 1990. The Katos were my second pair of GP35s. Before that I’d bought a pair of Southern Pacific units.
This model was factory painted as Santa Fe 2825. I had originally intended to keep the same number. However, after doing some research I found more photos of 2821. Having good photos that show a locomotive from more than one angle is a huge help for modelers like me. If the photos were taken around the same time so much the better.
I was intrigued because ATSF GP35u 2821 had an unusual paint feature (GP35u is Santa Fe’s designation for a rebuilt GP35). The inertial filter grilles appeared to have been swapped side to side and installed upside down. This broke the contour of the warbonnet design. So far this is the only Santa Fe unit that I’ve run across that was like that. The real locomotive apparently stayed in that condition from around 1990 to at least 1995, which is perfect for the time period that I model.
Other than the unusual paint, ATSF GP35u 2821 is an ordinary locomotive. It still has its headlight in the cab. In the 1990s Santa Fe moved the headlights on many of its engines to the nose. It has lost its beacon as most Santa Fe locomotives did by the 1990s. It has not yet acquired ditch lights. It still had it’s American flag decals that were applied after Desert Storm in 1991. I have a photo of the locomotive from 1997 and it had ditch lights by that time. The paint anomaly had also been corrected.
I did extensive work on this model. The front and rear pilots were completely sanded smooth and redone. I drilled new holes for coupler mounting screws and moved the couplers in toward the trucks a little. I fabricated plates where the footboards had once been and installed nut-bolt-washer castings on them. I notched the corners of the pilots. I added uncoupling levers and MU hoses.
I kept the Kato cab and short hood, but made modifications. I cut out a new brake recess in the short hood and added a Cannon brake ratchet. I filled the oversized holes for the handrails in the cab sides and drilled new smaller holes in their place. I added details like a new sand filler hatch on the short hood and air conditioner and antennas on the roof.
I removed the original fans and turbo hatch and replaced them with Cannon parts. I fabricated new handrails from brass wire and Precision Scale stanchions.
The trucks have had their outer brake shoes removed per Santa Fe practice. I also added brake lines and other details like a speed recorder cable and spare knuckles. The front trucks also have a small vertical braket above the leaf springs that I modeled.
ATSF GP35u 2821 has numerous other small details from various manufacturers. I painted the model with Scalecoat paints and used Microscale decals. I had to paint the yellow in two phases. I stared with yellow that had some white added to produced a faded look. Then I masked the cab sides and a couple other spots using photos as a guide. I sprayed brighter yellow over those.
The model has LED lighting with fiber optic headlight lenses. The numberboards are lit separately from the headlight and are independently controllable. The model has a Loksound Select DCC sound decoder.