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Custom Painted and Detailed F40PH

This was the second model I custom painted and detailed.


Here's a list of some of the items I used:


  • Kato undecorated F40PH locomotive

  • Gold medal models brass handrails

  • BLMA grab irons

  • BLMA MU hoses

  • BLMA windshield wipers

  • Microscale Decals

Click here to see a comparison between my custom model and the Bachmann factory painted model

I didn't start photo-documenting the process until after I got my first coat of paint airbrushed on so here's what I did before that point.


  • Modified the shell according to the NJ Transit lighting style covering the top center light on the front and drilling holes to the right and left of it for the reverse marker lights.

  • Installed all of the grab irons and MU hoses.

  • Drilled holes for backup marker lights on the back at the top of the locomotive.

Here's the locomotive after airbrushing the all of the parts with a flat gray enamel paint.

Next I mixed a silver color I dubbed "NJ Transit Silver" and airbrushed it onto the model.  Once that dried I masked off the areas I wanted to remain silver with painters tape and spayed the exposed areas black.  I also did the same to the under-body detail.

Once that was dry I drilled holes for the hand rails.  In hindsight, I should have done this before painting.

Applying the Decals

There are several decals that need to be applied to the model both big and small.  All of the decals were "floated" into place using Microscale's Micro Set.  Then you use the corner of a paper towel to soak up excess Micro Set.  For flat areas this may be all that's needed, but I also use Micro Sol which softens the decal even further.  This allow the decal to wrap around the rivets or other uneven areas of the mode.

Here's what the decal looks like with the Micro Set applied.  Notice that it don't exactly "hug" the contours of the locomotive.

This is how it looks with the Micro Sol in place.  The Micro Sol causes the decal to wrinkle up, but once it's dried, it will lay flat and have a painted on look.

Now that the Micro Sol has dried you can see that the decal has sunken in around the rivets ion the locomotive.  When looking at it up close, it is nearly impossible to see that it isn't actually painted on to the shell.

While Micro Sol does a great job of softening the decal, it can also created some problems.  If you look closely at the door which is covered by the orange and purple strip you can see that the decal weakened as it softened and has cracked vertically showing the paint beneath it.  There is no way to safely remove the decal at this point, but hopefully the vertical railing will help hide that.

Here's a "Danger High Voltage Overhead" decal I applied to the rear of the locomotive.

The finishing touches

Paint the handrails, molded on steps, orange grab irons, under-body detail, and install number boards and windshield wipers.

The Finished Model

Pictures on the Layout

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