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Modelling Santa Fe Super Chief


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My Uncle gave me all his trains sadly he is dieing of cancer, exspected to pass away any time now, quit a few locos a lot are Tyco, in his collsection there are two Tyco Santa Fe F7/A's one life like and an Athearn Pennsylvania F/7A, I plan to replace that shell with a Santa Fe F7 and tonight or tomorrow buying a couple of F7/B shells and  painting then to to Santa Fe colours have enough carriagers to make up the Super Chief.

Pitchers are very hard to come by I have only found one so far, the paln is to have th etrain ready by Christmas when the layout first circuit be completed as well be the very first trin on the layout, going to look awesome with teo F7A' and two B's

I have also Have Amtraks replacement superliners, both sitting together at the station.

I hope my aint job turn out like Enginedrivers shunt loco did, more to come on this post.


Tony from down under keeping on moving ahead.



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I am getting a little close and easier in modelling Santa Fe's Superchief, this morning I bougth two F7/B loco shells from US eBay not a bad price of course the postage was the killer bingin the price up to $55 au, shell are unpainted making it easier for me to paint them.

The brand is Mantua very close to Athearn, one step close to building my dream locos which I had always wanted, will have to get the locos out and test them, I be using the Tyco F7/a  shells till I get the Athearn shells, going to a buy and shell mid September in Brisbane, might pick up a good buy,

The locos are coming from the East coast of the US exspected to arrive end of August,, sadly my Uncle is still hanging in,no idea why he should be, something keeping him here the hospital is only helping him with the the pain through a drip.

Finishin goff the wiring on he approach module tomorrow and moving onto the next module getting easier and quicker to build being smaller in width.

tony from down under keeping on moving ahead



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I sorted out my Uncles locos today especialling the Santa Fe F7/A's found out the the Tyco don't go with the th Athearn and Life like, those two locos run well together, you rearly only need two powered locos,the Life like loco  only has one powered bogie, got a second Life like loco may put out the powered bogie out of that on and put it in the F7 loco giving it a lot more grunt.

The two locos in the middle are the Tyco brand, when the 7/B's arrive I will pull the boggies out and hopefully they fit in being the sister brand Mantua I think both be dummy B locos, I am planning to buy another Athearn F7/A loco dummy if Ican mainly to switch the shells over on the head loco being the brown one that loco is an Athean runs perfectly, missing bogie side plates can  order them from athearn, the second one be a dummy as well using the chassis of the Athearn I buy either from eBay or wait to the buy and sell sale atrain club is having in Brisbane mid September.

Lots to do when the F7/B shells arrive end of August, just received an email that the parcel has arrived in the US global. shipping centre, can't wait, oh year I am switching over to Google Chrome and doing away with win10 my son he had Chrome better for gamming.and spell check works9_9.


Tony from down under keeping on moving ahead.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is an update  on the locos for the Super Chief, the first pic showing the first life like, I need tobuy some more decals to replace Santa Fe's logo on the front , second pic of the all the locos, brown lead loco  chassis is Bachman, I hadin pieces for years decided to put it back to gether and is runng again.

The two black F7/B locos , fisrt loco  has  Athearn chassis and power plant, second loco I am waitng for to come, need a  foem US eBay an Athearn F/7A in pic three to arrive the shell will replace the brown F7 shell, plan to addcab windowns and  front cab lights with new name boards as well , can't wait this set has being my dream set for years , a bit of mix match loco brands, I will proababley have about 15 passenger cars.

Last pic is Super Chief replacement Amtrak's southwest chief, I have a 10 car set will look good both parked together at the platforms .

Tony from downunder keeping on moving ahead.


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  • 4 weeks later...

The latest update on  my Santa Fe F3/A-B-B-A Super Chief loco project, the lead Athearn  F3/A has arrived  running well,  I have decided to wait now to the 21st October where my train club is having a open day with buy and sell, I be buying a good Athearn F7 doesn't matter what colour scheme the shell is because I mainly want the chassis and  motor  for the second F3/B loco . 

The chassis I am using at the moment is a Bachman  and not running  to well, got other plans for that loco, and the B shell does not fit too well, best to wait a couple of weeks to get this project right, the last last loco is a Life like brand run ok with the Athearn's going to be pure awesome when finished., will look at adding DCC  .

I plan to buy from Athearn a dress up kit to add more detail, the front loco doesn't come with cab windows , loco horns, wasn't going to pay big dollar for RTR locos.

Hope to have the layout first track circuit finished by Christmas so I can run the loco, if not be soon after, the main hold up running out of track, the problem building such a big layout but worth the long wait.

Cool change coming in tomorrow get some work done on the layout rain coming in as well, gee we need it very dry , make the most of it, Wednesday ot peaked 41 degrees yesterday 37 , better today 33 I am working on the model ship today cutting out the main deck stern and bow, get this Monday 21 degrees.

Tony from down under keeping on moving ahead




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  • 2 months later...

It has being a while since I last posted any progress on the SF F/7A-B-B-A project, well I have finely have started making a move on, today I washed the two B loco shell ready for undercoating tomorrow  and  added cab windows making the loco look a lot better, I still need to buy another dress up kit from a hobby shop in Brisbane, they sell  the diesel horns for F7's  too that is great.

As I pulled the cab windows out of another F7 loco and broke one of the horns , they sell the Santa Fe decals for the F7/B locos to get them after New Year, so if you go back to the last post you will see, the loco I bought was the cheaper Athearn , will the extra detailed parts  she will look great up against the dearer RTR locos

The last loco is a like like loco, when I get the decals I will put on a new Santa Fe  logo loco  on the front of the loco, wont get much more done before Christmas, 10 days we are going away for, leaving on Sunday, first holiday in 26 years, going to nice to get away form the house, more pics tomorrow.

Can you guess the steamy, she is a plastic kit and I plan to make a clear plastic  case for her  to keep the dust off.

Tony from down under keeping on moving ahead.




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I have done the spray painting , has come up well for a first time at  spraying a loco, won't be doing any more on the loco shells till after new year , looks better than black shells..

That wind turbine generator is only a baby, still huge HO scale .

Tony from down under keeping on moving ahead.




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Santa Fe passenger scheme is one of those classic drool inspiring looks. You just can't go wrong. Athearn made some easy to assemble coaches to go with; from their blue box line.

It's one of those odd things, I get weak knee'd over all the hooded units like the F's and E's. Despite being in a real european phase, I still think about getting just one F unit, just because, so I know why you are so fascinated by those.

Those Tyco's are really almost a collector loco now. I have one from my set from 1970. Mine does not run at all. I'd efnitely consider keeping those tyco locos in their out of the box look due to the collectible factor and also that they came from your uncle.

I'm sure British trains have the same problems as to what generation they come from. The older motors need a big shot of electricity just to start rotating. Also the detail on older models just isn't up to what we are used to these days.

A quick run down of the most known brands:

Athearn was considered the standard for a cheap out of the box model that could be modified with detail parts to make it a show stopper. Is yours an older one, or one of their newer upgrades?

Most of my experience with US diesel models comes from having done N scale, but generally speaking the same applies regardless of scale.

Toy train models like Tyco from the 70's are just obsolete for any kind of model railroading. 

Life like and Bachmann are sort of the same, except if you look at newer models from each brand they do have really nice things that are higher quality upgrades. But you have to do research to see what you're getting as they also sell toy train junk.The life like Steam engines from the transition era like their 0-8-0 are amazing. I have one. It is the most detailed model I have ever run. It's mechanism is comparable to BLI. 

Athearn higher grade. New models are even better.

Kato is the gold standard for mechs, but have been out done by some newer companies.

Atlas has always been a good product. They used to outsource a lot of their manufacture and design. 90's era locos are often just a Kato split frame unit with a Atlas label.

BLI it goes without saying that BLI is amazingly good stuff.

There are other brands, but that covers the most common. 

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Evening Griff, sorry for not replying earlier, I was busy the last couple of days finishing off the wiring  and  nailing down the track on the new lift out bridge between the  front corner and first station module , ran the first loco across the bridge.

The loco had to be my uncles F7/A loco passed in flying colours there is a video clip of the big event on my Camdale post.

Yeah I like the E9's as well will stick with the F7's , the E9 stile cab nose  we have them over here and still some running.

Thanks for the link, sadly Athearn don"t do Santa Fe colour scheme, the only way to get them is buy on eBay, wasn't going to pay over $100 for them, the front one I bought must of came from a train set with out cab windows, what a big difference it made adding the windows.

I am on holidays now  , wont be back till after boxing day,   not a good time to go on a holiday in summer too dam hot , in the nice cool unit, waiting for the shade to cover he pool and go for a swim , walk on the beach, every thing is close by so don't have to go out in the car too much 

Tony from down under keeping on moving ahead.

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  • 1 year later...

It has being a while since I have being on this thread, last night I got out the Santa Fee F7 locos , A-B-B-A set , this weekend there is a train show in Brisbane and my club is putting the show layout in, I be going along to help men the layout. On my breaks will be the shop out for decals for the F7/B locos Santa Fe.

And the silver paint, finely finishing that project , need some replacement parts as well as closer kadees , have enough to make up a 10 car train of mixed Amtrak and plain passenger cars, thinking of modelling the El Capitan train.

Tomorrow will be running the train for the first time will do a video clip of the big event.

Tony from cool down under




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