Union Pacific SD40-2 3333 – N Scale

Union Pacific SD40-2 3333

Union Pacific SD40-2 3333 is a customized N scale Kato model.   I wanted to make a model of 3333 because I photographed the real locomotive during a visit to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, California in 1995.

I found a used N scale Union Pacific SD40-2 on eBay.  It had the correct “snoot” short hood and was already painted in Union Pacific colors.  All I needed to do was change the number and a couple details.

First I removed the shell from the model and took it apart.  I gently pried out the cab window glazing and set those parts aside.  I used a micro brush dipped in some Chameleon paint remover to gently rub the numbers off the model.  The trick here is to stop before the underlying paint starts to come off.  Once the numbers were gone I rinsed the cab and shell with water and let the parts dry overnight.

I also cut and sanded off the class lights.  Once that was done I had to repaint both ends of the model.  I used some Scalecoat UP Yellow with some red added to get a close match for the factory paint.  Lining up the paint seams with the corners of the model helps to conceal the slight color difference.

Next I airbrushed the shell and cab with clear gloss.  This provides a good base for decals.  I used Microscale UP decals for the numbers and a few warning labels.

When applying decals I use Micro-Set (blue label) to position the decals.  Once they’re where I want them, I use Micro-Sol (red label) to soften them and make them sink down into the paint.  I hold the model up to the light to see if there is any decal silvering.  If necessary I poke any air bubbles with the tip of a sharp hobby knife and apply more Micro-Sol.  I keep repeating that process until the decal film disappears.

Union Pacific SD40-2 3333

Union Pacific SD40-2 3333 in Portola, California, 1995

Once I was satisfied with the decals, I sprayed the cab and shell with a clear matte finish.  This helps to hide the edges of the decal film and also gives a good base for weathering.  I put the glazing back into the cab and reassembled the shell.

My Union Pacific SD40-2 really should have ditch lights to be correct for the time period I’m modeling.  I still need to add those.  The model doesn’t have any weathering as yet.

The model is equipped with a Digitrax DCC decoder.


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