These are probably the worst looking things I've ever purchased. Taking them out of the mailer they were packed better than anything I've bought off eBay. The "B" unit is a dummy and the frame, trucks, motor and drive line on the "A" look worse than the shells. Now I rarely toss anything related to model railroad equipment but both frames intact are on the way to the County Dump. I bought them for the cast metal shells. The metal shells weigh a bit over a pound each and with a little work will fit nicely on an Athearn SD40-2 frame. Adding a pound to the powerful Athearn frame makes a super powerful locomotive.
Thanks to a tip I found on the Model Railroad Forum I now use Denatured Alcohol to strip the paint off my locomotives. I set both shells in a plastic Sheetrock mud pan full of the Alcohol for three hours and the paint came off easily using a wire brush.
I found out that by pouring the Denatured Alcohol through a filter to remove the paint debris it can be reused. The paint comes off in flakes and is easily captured in a paint filter.
Because this is an early E7 shell there is only the large headlight at the top of the hood. I will drill a 3/16" hole below the existing headlight to reposition it so that I can install a Mars Light where the headlight is now.
Here I have painted the metal shell using Self Etching Primer, I filled the coupler hole leaving a small dimple in case I decide to install a coupler later.
Next I super glued a short piece of .080" x .160" Styrene to fill the gap between the shell and the Athearn fuel tank and sanded it to fit then applied a second coat of primer.
The shell is setting on the Athearn SD40-2 frame.
The "A" shell is ready for the Southern Pacific Daylight Color Scheme. After the primer sits over night I'll start the airbrushing task using Tru-Color Paints.
The primer is fully cured and ready for TCP-108 SP Daylight Red.
I made a CAD drawing of the SP Deep "V" to make a template for cutting the masking tape.
The blue in the picture below is the Scotch-Blue 1.41" wide 2080-EL tape.
After masking off the Southern Pacific Deep "V" with Scotch-Blue Delicate Surface Painter's Tape 2080-EL I airbrushed it with TCP-107 SP Daylight Orange. At this point the hardest part of this project is now complete.
After the SP Orange deep "V" has dried I'll mask off the sides and complete the Orange side stripe.
These Athearn SD40-2 frames will power two Hobbytown E7 shells. I cut off the power "L" bracket off each truck and remove the Athearn spring power strip, I solder a red #24 gauge wire from the trucks to the top brush holder. After removing the motor I squish the bottom brush holder contacts so that they can't touch the frame. I solder a black #24 gauge wire between the bottom brush holder and the headlight mounting bracket for a firm connection to the frame. This also makes it easier to install a DCC decoder later on. Both of these locomotive frames will receive decoders in the future if I decide to put them into passenger service. I do not use DCC for diesel powered freight service.
Touchup complete and decals applied. A couple coats of Testors Dullcote then on to the Headlights and window glass. After the shell set for several days the primer hasn't chipped and the touchup looked good enough to apply the decals.
The decals are custom made printed on my Alps MD1000 printer.
They look much better than they did when they were received. Almost ready to be put in service.