UP C44AC 6737
“Patched” locomotives wear one company’s color scheme while carrying the reporting marks and number of another. Railroads that acquire locomotives through mergers often patch them to consolidate similar locomotives in a single number series. Leasing companies that buy secondhand locomotives will sometimes keep the original number but stencil in new reporting marks.
I wanted to have at least one patched locomotive in my N scale fleet. I chose a former Chicago & Northwestern locomotive that was patched for new owner Union Pacific. I started with an N scale Kato AC4400CW decorated for CNW. UP uses its own “C44AC” designation for the AC4400CW.
To model C44AC 6737 I started by dipping a microbrush in some hobby paint stripper. 91% rubbing alcohol will also sometimes work. I used the microbrush to very gently remove the original numbers from the sides of the model. When doing this it’s important to go slowly and really watch the process. It’s easy to take too much and end up with bare spots in the underlying paint. I also removed the Chicago & Northwestern heralds on the cab sides. Even though the heralds would be covered by the patches, it’s important to remove them to keep the decal from showing them in bas relief.
Looking at photos of the real UP C44AC 6737, I noticed that a couple of the panels below the fireman’s side cab window were gray. I masked the model and sprayed those panels using an airbrush.
Next I removed the cab windows and sprayed the entire model with clear gloss. This provides a good surface for applying water slide decals. I used some yellow rectangles from a Microscale trim film sheet for the patches. There are two larger patches on either side of the cab and small ones on the rear of the radiator “wings”. Once the patch decals dried I applied UP numbers and other small decals from a Microscale UP sheet. I always use Micro-Set under a decal to position it, followed by Micro-Sol on top to make it settle down into the paint.
After the decals were applied I sprayed C44AC 6737 with a clear flat finish and reinstalled the cab windows. While I had the model apart I installed a Digitrax DCC decoder and Micro-Trains couplers. I had to use a small .005 styrene shim over the coupler boxes to adjust the coupler height.
I did not do any additional detailing on the model. It still needs some weathering but my model of C44AC 6737 is otherwise complete.