In this week’s Time to Model™ story, we’re taking a closer look at a unique “Frankenloco” SD40-2.
“Frankenloco” is a slang term that originated within the railfan community to describe locomotives that have been rebuilt using parts from other units. While most railfans are familiar with BNSF Railway’s “Frankenloco” DASH-9s that wear two different paint schemes on one body, many have never heard of NRE’s one-of-a-kind SD40-2 built on a “Tunnel Motor” frame.
Inspired by the prototype, modeler Yannick Dreyer took on the daunting task of replicating the unique locomotive in HO Scale by fusing both our Rivet Counter SD40T-2 and SD40-2s models together.
Picture 1: The base of my SD40-2 9402 NREX is a ScaleTrains SD40T-2 (SXT 31704)
Picture 2: After dismantling the locomotive, I had to cut part of the rear bogie cover
Picture 3: I decided to use a Kato SD40-2 shell to replace the Tunnel Motor part. I had to modify part of the Scaletrains chassis in order to adjust the Kato body
Picture 4: The NREX 9402 has an ex-Southern Pacific SD45T-2 nose. The hood of the Kato had to be slightly modified in order to install the Southern Pacific headlights. These headlights were drawn in CAD and printed using my 3D printer
Picture 5: first assembly test
Picture 6: the ScaleTrains cabin has been preserved because it presents much better detail than the Kato. No modification was necessary for assembly
Picture 7: the biggest work was the modification of the rear part of the chassis. We had to cut the “TunnelMotor” part in order to bring in the Kato body. I decided to draw a support for the lighting and print it in 3D. All the lighting of the locomotive has not been modified
Picture 8: Before painting
Picture 9: the locomotive was painted with a light gray and then soiled with powders. The microscale decals were applied after a coat of satin varnish. I used brass parts (Cannon & Co) to cover the rear bogie. As I changed the lighting slightly, I used fiber optics for the front and rear headlights. Everything is controlled by an ESU LokPilot V5 decoder. Some additional details have been added to the cabin.