Quarter-inch scale GP9 shell from Red Caboose

It wants to be a locomotive when it grows up.

I’ve only had this Red Caboose GP9 for seven years. It was the first significant purchase after converting from HO to quarter-inch scale.

I won’t offer the myriad of excuses for why it has taken me seven years to detail the body. Let’s just say other things beckoned to me. Still, it would be nice to have a proper locomotive instead of the bare chassis shuttling around, if for no other reason than to quiet the chorus of outcries about the lack of trains in my photos.

So, I got on with it.

This is a wonderful kit with lots of separate details and customizing possibilities. There was a time when I would have used the plastic grab irons supplied and, been careless and indifferent about cleaning up the flash and parting lines. I’m working hard to eliminate such pagan attitudes and the more I looked at them, I realized I would never get these delicate pieces cleaned up without a lot of breakage. Therefore, inspired by a similar project Ed Nadolski is sharing online, I made my own grabs out of 0.019″ brass wire inserted in the predrilled holes, which I opened all the way.

Jig for making the grab iron width.

Jig for making the grab iron width.

jig for the second bend. 0.060" spacers.

Jig for the second bend. 0.060″ spacer depth.

Finished grab iron.


Spacer jig for gluing.

How you get them all even from the carbody. 0.080″ thick spacer. Grabs are glued from the inside with gel CA.

The techniques for doing this are well known and aren’t rocket science, so I won’t dwell on the process. You can figure it out from the photos. I needed ten, so I made 15-20 to account for the duds and the ones that go flying off into who-knows-where.

Spending a few minutes cobbling together two simple jigs ensured uniformity and saved time in the long run. Obviously, there’s still work to do but it’s coming along and No. 38 will make her debut soon.