Author Topic: MBTA in N Scale  (Read 1370 times)

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ski

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MBTA in N Scale
« on: August 24, 2021, 09:07:28 PM »
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What is/was available in N scale for someone who would like to attempt to model Boston area commuter rail? I know Rapido has the Comet Coach and Cab cars on deck and had offered the New Haven coaches, but is anything else out there or planned??? Any locos at all or is it roll-your-own only? In a temporary departure from my planned St. Louis area room size layout, I am thinking of doing a simple hollow core door MBTA/New England based one for something a little different.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2021, 09:35:47 PM by ski »

nickelplate759

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2021, 09:19:53 PM »
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You could letter up some old Kato (nice) or Con-Cor (less nice) RDCs. Note that MBTA pulled de-engined RDCs with locomotives - they didn't run them on their own power.

You could also letter up some F40PHs (Kato or Life-Like).    Model Power offered an F40PH factory painted for MBTA, but that was a pretty poor model and I wouldn't spend the effort to look for one.   Loco decals and the yellow stripes are available from Switchline:  https://switchlinedecals.com/search.php?search_query=mbta&section=product   .  Paint is available from Tru-Color

<edit>  Microscale made set 60-751 for MBTA, but it is currently "out of stock". </edit>
« Last Edit: August 27, 2021, 10:43:42 AM by nickelplate759 »
George
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daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2021, 07:08:47 PM »
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I have collected just about every MBTA type of equipment I can get my hands on.


F40PH:
F40PH 1000-1011 are Phase II. 1012-1015 are Phase III
Model Power and LL F40PH engines are both Phase I. The Kato is Phase III. Use the Kato engines as they are closer to what the MBTA uses. You'll need to remove the dynamic brake equipment from the model which is not too difficult. For the Phase II versions, you'll also need to remove the under-slug Q fans with a 3 fan unit from an Atlas GP40-2 shell. This is also not major surgery. Some Kato models had ditch lights and class lights. I used Amtrak shells that lacks both and added them myself. I have two Kato models complete with sound and ditch lights and a LL model updated and awaiting a suitable chassis.

F40PH-2C:
This can be kit-bashed from several LL F40PH shells on an Atlas B40-8 chassis with a fuel tank area cobbled together from Kato F40PH, Atlas P32-8BWH fuel tank bits. I have one of these that is essentially complete and awaiting a new decoder.

FP10: These were rebuilt from GMO F3s in the 1970's. The engines replaced their steam generators for HEP units. This required a bump-out in the rear. The engines were upgraded with welded sides, F9 style Farr grills and a radiator hump. I have one in process using an IM F unit "core" kit.
http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=2529735

Comet II cars:
Rapido should have these covered. They are also available on Shapeways and were available as resin kits from Island Model Works at one point.

Osgood Bradley cars:
These were used in the early days of the MBTA. Most were gone by the early 80's. Several had purple stripes applied. Rapido makes these.

Kawasaki Bi-Level cars:
Island model works made these in resin years ago and while they got the general dimensions right, the models were not what I would consider functional. I have been trying to get Keystone Models to design a model for me. If you would like in, I'm sure we can persuade John to work on it!

MBB/Messerschmitt cars:
These were the last single level cars ordered by the MBTA. I have patterns made by a fellow modeler here for the car sides, but I have not been able to make a usable model of these cars from them yet. There are a lot of issues getting these to look correct on American Limited core kits. I am thinking this might be a good etched project.

RDCs:
Kato obviously made these. If you want to run them post 78, you'll need to remove the models motor and gearing and run them with F10s or F40PHs.
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daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2021, 07:24:23 PM »
+4
F40PH-2C
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Kato F40PH-2 Phase II conversion
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MBB single level car.
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garethashenden

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2021, 07:33:10 PM »
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I assume the GP40MC would be a major project? I briefly looked into it 15 years ago and it was then, but things change...

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2021, 08:22:02 PM »
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I assume the GP40MC would be a major project? I briefly looked into it 15 years ago and it was then, but things change...

Yeah, it does not share a single panel with any other engine. Even the frame length was increased. Unless you can do a LOT of CAD work, I would consider this an impossible project.
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peteski

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2021, 08:33:45 PM »
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Kawasaki Bi-Level cars:
Island model works made these in resin years ago and while they got the general dimensions right, the models were not what I would consider functional. I have been trying to get Keystone Models to design a model for me. If you would like in, I'm sure we can persuade John to work on it!


Daniel, I did finally squeeze some info about these from the MBTA Engineering Dept.  Not much, but better than nothing.  I forgot about it and I just forwarded that info to you and John.
. . . 42 . . .

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2021, 09:05:04 PM »
+1
Thanks man!
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ski

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2021, 09:58:25 PM »
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Thank you all for the information. Daniel, the pics look good!

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2021, 04:15:40 AM »
+3
I took a few photos of my MBA equipment and will run though the basic mods I made for them.

Kato Phase III F40PH
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1012 and 1015 are mostly stock. I removed the DB fan and radiator from the center of the shell. I filled in the holes with styrene and Tamiya body putty. Paint is a custom mix and decals are by Microscale. The bell is from Sunrise Enterprises.

1012 received a full light package and is the only one that is almost fully finished, though I need to add the number boards. The ditch lights are turned aluminum tubing with fiber optics. The marker lights were drilled out and a small length of fiber optic runs back to the interior of the shell. A small SMD LED is tucked into some "L" angle stock and wired to a Kato adapter board. The Decoder is a Loksound V5 Next18. Wires are long enough to allow for routine maintenance.
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Kato Phase II F40PH
Since the majority of MBTA's F40PH engines were phase II, I decided it was probably worth the effort to convert one of the Kato units. In addition to removing the DB fans, I also cut out the three rear main engine fans. The panel was replaced with one from an Atlas GP40-2. The fans were shaved down a bit as MBTA used (somewhat haphazardly) low profile units. The fans were topped with Trainworx etched parts. The rivets are Archer decals.
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Life-Like Phase II F40PH
Prior to the Kato models, I had already started on converting several Life-Like F40s. There is a lot done to these shells to bring them up to parity with the Kato units. The DB fan was removed as on the Kato units. The engine fans were shaved down and Trainworx etched parts added. A new pilot was constructed from sheet styrene, and an IM SD40-2W plow. A major spotting difference between the phase I and phase II is that the latter had a 4th batten on the rear compartment under the last radiator fan. I used some thin etched fret material to add this. Currently the shell sits on an unpowered styrene chassis. I still need to cast a Kato fuel tank and finish her up. the LL units will remain unpowered and will act as background scenery or as the center deadhead engine on eastbound OOS trains. (In the 90's the MBTA would lash two inbound trains together at night to bring enough equipment to South Station for the morning commute. From what I can tell, this was a rather unique operation and few other commuter railways did this. These moves stopped after Amtrak lost the operations contact in the early 2000's)
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« Last Edit: August 27, 2021, 05:19:52 AM by daniel_leavitt2000 »
Giving me love
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Lock the door
Dim the lights
Bottoms up
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And you too

You're the best I can do
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You're the...
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daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2021, 05:00:02 AM »
+5
These are the Messerschmitt MBB cars MBTA purchased in the late 80's. These included both cab and blind cars. I believe all have been converted to the blind configuration when rebuilt several years ago. I "think" these were the first new MBTA equipment with toilets.

My cars used styrene sheet scribed with a Silhouette Cutter used for scrapbooking. It's basically an inkjet printer mechanism with a blade rather than a print head.
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These cars have given me a lot of problems. The basic core is an American Ltd core kit. The ends have a taper and needed a lot of angle work and sheet styrene. The car sides are laminated to clear styrene sheet stock and secured to the roof and ends. The floor is removable. I have had a devil of a time trying to keep the sides attached to the roof. Standard ABS and styrene cement does not like clear styrene and ACC will fog the windows. I have no idea how I'm going to add the yellow pin stripes to these cars and finish the weathering as the windows are now integrated into the model. I probably should have thought out construction better.

As you can see, the windows are not totally straight. Each one needed to be cut out from the scribe lines and it was very difficult to get things scared up. Worse still is the corners are curved so you can't use a file and vise. The end result is a but too wonky.

Oh and the ends are peeling away from the sides. Ugh...

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The floors came out better though. The steps are from Kato RDCs, and the seats are Micro Trains heavyweight parts spliced to fit and match the floor plan. A large brass strip adds both weight and rigidity. I'll reuse these when I try to make new shells.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2021, 05:20:21 AM by daniel_leavitt2000 »
Giving me love
All on your canvas
All of the girls
All on the mattress

Lock the door
Dim the lights
Bottoms up
I'm in love
And you too

You're the best I can do
You're the best I can do
You're the...
You're the...

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2021, 09:52:12 AM »
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Hot damn, that's some damn fine work!

randgust

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2021, 10:09:23 AM »
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Right after I was married - 1982 - spent a week in the Boston area and was out in the suburbs about 1000' away from a commuter stop.   That was fun, and I got to both watch and ride the show.

To me, nothing screams classic MBTA better than an F10 and a string of de-motored RDC's.   I like the F40's but they don't hold a candle to those F-units.   I also got to spend a lot of time in Lowell in the 90's and that's another MBTA hotbed of action away from North Station.

Did a little bit of searching and I can't even find anybody that's done a model of those in N, but did find this tip:

There was a great article in Railroad Model Craftsman in the January 1997 issue by Frank Cicero on how to model an F10 in HO scale. The issue is sold out, but you may be able to find it elsewhere.

http://www.carstensbookstore.com/january1997.html


I guess I'm a little surprised that nobody has ever done that scheme on an F-unit in N, apparently including Intermountain, and they tend to do it all even if the details are off.   True??
« Last Edit: August 27, 2021, 10:36:31 AM by randgust »

C855B

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2021, 10:53:53 AM »
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Every time you guys talk about M(B)TA, this deeply implanted song virus pops into my head:

/>
Dad was a huge Kingston Trio fan and played it incessantly.   :scared:

nickelplate759

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Re: MBTA in N Scale
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2021, 11:23:53 AM »
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I've always wondered - why didn't Charlie's wife throw him a nickel (instead of lunch) so he could pay his fare and get off?
George
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I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.