Sep 042013
 

I’m working on a new project a few minutes at a time in the Dakotabranch back shop.

Like the Nose Job project I shared with you this spring, this new unit is based on an old Japan-built HO scale Atlas GP7.

The windshield is a part from DesPlaines Hobbies.

The windshield is a part from DesPlaines Hobbies.

Unlike the TCWR project which has no prototype, this one will be based as closely to BN’s GP10 fleet as is reasonable.
I’ve chosen to use an Atlas unit for this project, mainly for the reliable operation that Atlas diesels are known for.   Also, the handrail stanchions and castings resemble the originals found on the former GN and NP GP7’s that were rebuilt into GP10 units by BN in the 1970’s.

A number of shortcomings exist with the GP7 in using it for a Burlington Northern GP10.  Most notable is the high short hood.  I took my experience from the TCWR project and applied it to this one.    Using a slightly different method, I’m happy with the early results.

The air filter is a details west part, while the winterization hatch is from Cal-Scale.   I could not find a proper very square hatch with a round hole in the top for the fan.

The air filter is a details west part, while the winterization hatch is from Cal-Scale. I could not find a proper very square hatch with a round hole in the top for the fan.

Options exist for addressing this issue, listed from somewhat reasonable to insane:

  • Use Proto 2000 chassis and drive components, with a GP20 fuel tank and air reservoirs.  I’ve owned Proto geeps in the past and know how they run.   I’m not putting a bunch of time into build a GP10 shell to put on a crappy chassis.
  • Mill the Atlas GP7 frame to accept a Proto GP20 fuel tank
  • Re-cast the frame entirely, with a corrected fuel and air tank arrangement

I’ve decided not to do anything about the situation with the fuel and air tanks.   If anybody has a better idea, I’d like to hear about it.

So, as of this writing my progress:

  • Completely disassembled trucks, motor and transmission, and shell
  • Chopped the nose and assmbled or fabricated cab parts: two-piece windshield from DesPlaines Hobbies,   numberboards and headlights, cut from an Athearn Dash-2 cab, filed to profile.
  • Ground off ALL the cast-on detail on the front and rear pilots.
  • Installed 3-cluster MU hoses
  • Installed an anti-climber on the front pilot (is an anti-climber on an early geep bad-ass or what?)
  • Fit a BN GP10 specific air filter housing to the roof.
  • Shaved off grab iron and eyebolt cast-on details and replaced them with #78 holes for wire versions of the same.
  • Removed the previous owner’s decals.  (sorry, I’m a fan of western railroads)

Next steps:

I've ground off all the molded on detail on both pilots and begun replacing it with new super detail parts.

I’ve ground off all the molded on detail on both pilots and begun replacing it with new super detail parts.

  • Install more pilot detail – wire cut levers,couplers
  • Install eyebolts on roof, as appropriate
  • Wash the shell and bare frame to prepare for paint
  • Treat handrails with plastic paint adhesion promoter
  • paint the frame sidesill, handrails and most of the shell green.

All of this work is very slow right now, because I have little time to spare for this project, given my current situation.  But I hope by October 31, I’ll have a finished product.

Sep 042013
 

Those of you that know me have been following the wild ride that Mrs. Dakotabranch and I have been on this summer and early fall.  The end result of this will be very positive.  However, there is some unavoidable short term unpleasantness associated with our situation.

Due to our situation, I’ll be sitting out this year’s Sioux Falls half-marathon.    I never planned to run the whole marathon, but was looking forward to a 13.1, or Harry as some people call it.  Half the distance, twice the fun?

But not when you have the crud in your lungs during the week before the race, as I do right now.  It has been there since 8/22.

That brings me to my next point, which is the importance of keeping a running log.   I use an Excel spreadsheet.  I know some people like to use those fancy-schmancy ones from their Garmin, RunKeeper, iPhone, whatever.   I’ve found that I can enter data about how I feel, how well certain clothing works in the cold weather and info about new shoes.  This spreadsheet helps me recall how long I’ve been under the weather.

This stuff doesn’t plot on a graph well, but it sure is nice to have.  The process of updating it doesn’t become a burden because I’m motivated to see how many miles I’ve got left this month.   So I’m never more than a day or two late putting in run data.

All this in addition to having the benefit of motivating me to run the miles I want to.   Last year was the first year I recorded every run.   I almost made 1,300 miles in 2012.   We’ll see what The Twins have to say about 1,200 in 2013 when they are born.  Right now I’m on pace to easily make that number by new year’s eve.