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Bachmann 4 4 0 repaint

6528 Views 26 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  SteveC
Hi All,

I saw a Bachmann Spectrum 4 4 0 for sale with a Phoenix sound system already fitted This was at a quite good price, so after consultations with the chief accountant(who wants a sound system equipped loco) it was quickly agreed that it could be bought.
Naturally it was in the usual Bachmann colors; those were going to change as much more information is now available. Jim Wilkie and Jon Davis in the DRG Historical society magazine ‘The Prospector’ had a very good article on locomotive colors, and Dave Fletcher did some color renditions for Accucraft for their new steam locos.
That produced a dark green one, and a black version  which the D&RG bought from Baldwin; those were 3 locos and they were the first black locos the D&RG had. These were 99,100, and 101; David had done a rendition of 101, and he had sent me a copy of this â€" it looked good.
Black the three may have been, but that does not mean that they were dull â€" far from it!  The trim was white red and gold. The tender was almost complete â€" I added some red trim from ‘sticky back plastic as David does to the tender exterior and the inside was given three toolboxes, and an air tank on the rear, which meant that the toolbox was lifted to the top of that tank, all toolboxes have ribbed lids now. The fireman’s one has the switch for the sound system (which makes the tender weigh almost as much as the loco), so that lid is left loose; the others are fixed.
The tender interior was painted red oxide (mineral red), and pout on one side. It was now the turn of the loco to have plenty of paint. The cab was black, the boiler was done in Humbrol Metalcote, and the yo my eyes rather thin smokestack had a new tube for the lower portion, and retained the old top part â€" the difference is not a lot but it makes it look much better!
Next off was the tiny headlight, and a new one made to the pattern for the Mason Bogie â€" that has a scale 23â€� lens, and after a quick build of it looks much better. The old one was removed, and wiring for the dim LED unsoldered. The new one was internally adjusted, the reflector unit is fixed to the baseplate which has trough contacts from the inside of the boiler, after some trial runs with it. I normally use a ‘grain of wheat bulb’, but that did not illuminate. This was eventually traced to the fact that the circuit board, which was not removed or accessible, must have had a capacitor or such for it. I did not strip down the loco as I  had strong suspicions that it would be complicated!  More thought and fiddling was done  when a lucky co-incidence was found â€" the LED from one of the ‘Indie’ Moguls worked!  The emitted light was at the top of the reflector but that was ‘livable’ with. The outer  shell was then fitted and it was then time to extract the domes â€" the fixing screws are inside â€" take off the tops and shine a torch in and they can be seen, Kevin Strong’s GR article also helped, and a query to him  answered another question re the fixing of the boiler  (5 screws â€" two at the front under the running boards, undo the cylinders, for the 3rd, and two more on the sides of the firebox BUT beware IF removed (from David Fletcher) of a tiny orange wire that seems fated to always break!
That decided it â€" leave the boiler in position,  and paint it in situ! The cab has 4 screws of which the rear two are hidden behind an air tank, and the rear cab supports â€" they don’t make things easy do they!  That also stayed put, but the roof was removed. I also added the blowdown pipes on the bottom of the cylinders to match myother locos, and painted them barss and steel colors at the same time as the cyiinder front and rear were painted.
The domes cab, pilot deck, pilot, and wheels were painted black, and it looked very dull in spite of the black being gloss.  I asked David Fletcher if he could produce a master for Stan Cedarleaf to make a set of decals from. It was managed but was very tight  twhen fitted onto a single sheet.
They are complicated! Gold, red, and white colors are used. The white is also around the extreme edge of the domes, that was a thin (.030) strip of paper for each one (of 4) held on with a very thin sliver of glue, as the white strip in the dcal was not a denase enough white. That gave me an idea for the cab, which has the bevels (provided by Bachmann) lined out with gold strips,  eventually that was done to a satisfactory result, and includes red strips (as the tender) as well.
Now the decals had arrived; and the application of them was started; something went wrong â€" Stan had a faulty sheet of decal paper, which was not obvious â€" the decal broke up!  Consternation!, I was worried at the mess: a phone call to Stan plus a photo sorted out that I could have the defective bits rectified (when I had decided which out of all of the sheet, it ended up as not much in the end, and Stan fixed it as soon as possible â€" Thanks Stan!).
The most difficult are the tops of the domes; I cut it up into 4 pieces and put on all 4 at once; they have to slide downwards over the double curve on the tops, moving apart to get all lined up as it should be â€" I was moving all 4 pieces minuscule amounts with a fine pair of tweezers, with plenty of water to help them slide.  Do NOT use decal softener that may have contributed to the breaking up! Care and quietness whilst fiddlin’ is what I found worked best. The domes have in the end 4 pieces on the top, two on the main portion, and two on the base portion, each!
That was finally done and dusted and varnished over for protection. I also add an initial coat of varnish to give the decal some extra strength as well; that was done for the driving wheels 12 spokes, with 5 of those needing the ‘spoke’ decal cutting in two â€" all times 4. Remove the center of the wheels (it comes out with gentle pressure â€" and had its own decal as well to be fitted) and one by one add the red (etc) spoke decals after painting over the gold lines that are there.  Yes there should be a red line around the inside of the tyre (which is silver by the way; the bogie wheels are left white) â€" that was left off!
Touch up the inevitable gaps with red and white and put back the (now decaled) center caps. The bogie wheels have a center decal (make a .010 plastic disc and put it on there) and the wheels have a larger circle â€" did that cause some trouble! The eventual solution was a ‘washer shaped’ piece of painted paper with the circle added then glue that in, and over the projecting center. Its not perfect but I can live with the fault that is there â€" one is a painted version.
The headlight has its own little set of decals; the side is a geometrical design, with added tiny red squares added, and the front had a red diamond from the sand dome spare set, and some tiny corners from some old decal sheets with a couple of fold lines and finally a red & gold trim line around the lens rim. That brought the thought of adding the number (99) onto the lens so it was done. The headlight has a couple of lifting handles added from brass strip, and finally it was varnished for protection. The rear of the tender has a number on the toolbox, and also a trim panel on the air tank.

Some locos had painted rods; possibly red, certainly black; I chose red (the crew painted them â€" they are proud of their loco (when I can get them in the cab!) I also painted the ends of the rods to replicate a polished steel finish. All was then varnished before fitting. Do one side at a time, and lock the front drivers in posityion wuth a small bit of card through one of the gaps between the spokes; re fit the painted rods, and move to the other side.

A red trim strip, is also added to the top of the domes â€" more fine sticky plastic strip.  
How long did this finery last â€" I don’t know, but there is a photo of Kokomo herself on the La Veta pass line that David used for the decals, and they are different to what was expected, and to what the olive green locos had!
Here are the results â€" which I think Bachmann should do it as they could have two versions, one olive green, one black!  And it will save me some of the grief and consternation when fighting decals and thin painted paper strips; BUT I think it looks good. All the photos are taken inside - it is the end of March but tewaether is of the opinion that it is January - we have 1" and above of snow outside!!  So inside it is.

There are 3 photos here then some more in the next posts; the 'load' facility to my webspace is misgehavin' and throws up an error! Therefore they photo have been given some extra compression to get them undet the 60KB limit.
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More photos as before, this time of the details


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A final one, in vertical format. for a 'mock' ground level viewi


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Those domes!

Love all that 19th centruy gingerbread! Those were guys who took pride in their work.
VERY sharp! Every time I see a model with such fanciful striping, I find myself sharing the same thoughts as shop crews in the late 1800s - "thank goodness for basic black." :)" src="/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/smile.gif" /> Excellent work on that.


Oooooh, Peter, that looks lovely, a great improvement. I have to admit that grimey black just would not look THAT good!
Absolutely cool,must pluck up courage to do mine despite the fact that it is my intendeds favourite loco in SPC red!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi All,

Thank you for the comments.

'Torby' has it in a nutshell - when these locos were out-shopped labor was cheap, and it was expected to do what was required, and they had a 'pride' in their work - these locos were the latest technology of the day, and I am fairly sure that with single (allocated) engineers, they saw that the locos were kept that way if possible, and demanded by the foreman in charge.

Here in the UK these locos color scheme would/could be described as a having a somewhat basic (not very fancy) color scheme - I know of several railway companies that had much more lining appliied, and equally it could not be done with decals as there were curves everywhere involved!

Happy Easter to you all,
Beautiful loco! Gives me some inspiration
Magnificent!! I can truly understand the fascination with pre-20th century paint schemes! Your repaint really makes the 4-4-0 come alive!
Terrific work Pete, This really shows how even when Baldwin started building black locos how they were anything but plain. Chaps, this decoration design as developed for their paint book system is Style 49, which Baldwin had been using since 1877. The same design was used on the SPC 4-4-0s and other lines of this time. (basically you bought a loco and got the factory paint job). Style 49 was typically used on Olive Green base colour, however the last 3 class 42 4-4-0s built for the D&RG were black and gold, Style 49 incl Kokomo (these were the last 3 Wagontop 4-4-0s built for the D&RG, there were other straight boilered 4-4-0s built as late as 1882, which would have also been black, style 49). For those interested, the two new 4-4-0s offered by Bachmann are offered in Lake Style 1 , and Olive Green style 49, decorated like Pete's engine. I'm eager to see these! Bachmann worked with some real historians in the US to develop those two new paint jobs...dont miss out!, I sure wont.

The Accucraft Live steam 4-4-0 is also being offered in Black, style 49, D&RG 'Col. Boone', the last of the black class 42 4-4-0s. The Acc model will be painted very much like Pete's model above and factory painted and decorated by Accucraft..should be stunning!.

There are style differences within Style 49, basically the exact shape of the Arabesque decoration on the dome sides and cylinder side seems to vary from engine to engine. Some are more like Style 1, like Pete's above. Its not known why they didn't follow the exact design in the paint book standard, but I suspect it has more to do with the Master Painter finishing the different engines. Some painters may have preferred to paint one Arabesque design over another. from 10' away, they all look identical style 49. All the colours and linework are the same, just the exact shape of that fancy arabesque differs.

The decal set for Pete's model was developed on CAD to purpose fit the Bachmann 4-4-0, as we did with custom decal design for the Mason Bogie project, CPH and Porter class, Stan then sets up the sheets for printing onto decal paper. I'm sure Stan will be willing to print more sheets if people want them for their own models.

Wonderful work and look Pete.
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WOW! That engine looks awesome! Thanks for posting and keep up the great work.
Absolutely stunning. Exactly what a steam locomotive should look like! (IMHO) Wonderful stuff, Peter. Looks like it's time to give Stan a call!

I see and applaud your marvelous effort. But this is not a South park or Colorado Central loco?? Have you leaned over to the dark side??

Rich Schiffman
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Posted By Rich Schiffman on 03/24/2008 5:39 AM

I see and applaud your marvelous effort. But this is not a South park or Colorado Central loco?? Have you leaned over to the dark side??

Rich Schiffman
[email protected][img]/Providers/HtmlEditorProviders/Fck/FCKeditor/editor/images/smiley/msn/devil_smile.gif[/img]

Hi Rich,

You could say that - the loco is after all Black!   But at least it is still,. Colorado, and like a good deal of modelers I have ideas above my station for my pifflin' little railroad, and I intend to build a train of D&RG coaches for it; possibly private or business cars. It also provides variety to go with all the other stuff!

No, I build (well paint) for Narrow Gauge in Colorado and as such the big bad D&RG gest a look in.
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Looks great, Peter! 
Absolutely beautiful, Peter!   The prototype builder's would be proud!

Stan, keep that file handy!:D


I agree with Chris' comments, I don't do much weathering and this model of your's is what a real locomotive should look like, IMHO.  It's beautiful.  I think Stan might sell a few of those decal sets.


That sir, is one fine job of a repaint, and a beautiful resulting locomotive.

As a point of interest to others, the other day I ran across a book that might shed some understanding on just what it took to be a master painter in the U.S in the 1860s & 1870s. Feel free to download a copy if you desire (right click and select Save Target As... or left-click and open the PDF document in a new browser window/tab).
The Painter, Gilder, & Varnisher's
Companion - 1867

(PDF Format, File Size 5.0MB)
Hi Steve,

Thanks for the book - its some size! Very interesting: I like the descriptions of the make up of the colors.

It has been saved, and will be 'looked through' even more though at 295 pages I will delay printing for a bit!

Incidentally I have been using a new free and quick PDF reader called 'Foxit'. The free version is a cut down, but still fully featured version however and is at 'http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php' It is however for Windows only, NOT Mac!
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