Minitrix U30CG conversion to P30CH
Well as I mentioned several weeks ago...I started the conversion of a Minitrix U30CG into a P30CH in Amtrak colors.
First step was to strip the old Amtrak colors down to the brown plastic shell. I scrubbed and scrubbed with 91% Isopropyl Alcohol and got off as much as possible. (For a 30+ year old model, that paint was sure painted on well.)
Then I built up the nose with styrene curved into shape, and putty to smooth the gaps. I added flat styrene stock to make the sill above the front coupler and plow.
Then came the difficult part of hiding the louvered sides of the U30CG body. I tried to cover these up with putty, sanded smooth, but so far am not really happy at the results. On camera, you can see every flaw in the putty. On the layout it is much less noticeable. I applied a coat of primer, then two coats of silver, with a coat of semi-gloss black for the upper roof section and nose brow to mimic the prototype. I also had to cut the three front window frames. The U30CG had vertical frames whereas the P30CH were angled. So I snipped the old ones out and replaced them with styrene trying to judge the prototype angle as best as I could.
What is difficult to see is the added snow plow on the nose. Also, I had to cover two of the front steps with small strips of styrene to match the prototype as well. They were painted to match, and the area behind the plow was painted flat black as were the rear stairs in keeping with the prototype's scheme. Amtrak decals are on order and should arrive in about a week. I'm withholding my final opinion on this unit until it's covered with the red/blue stripes and Amtrak lettering. If the decals cover the problem areas of the putty on the sides, I'll keep this model the way it is. But if I'm still not happy with the way it turns out, I plan on stripping the whole model and starting all over. But this time, I will use thin sections of styrene to cover the louvered sides. I tried that idea out first, but it was really tough to get the styrene to fit on the body without looking like the pieces were hanging over the shell like a coat. There's no way to file the louvers flat without doing damage to what little design detailing there is, so it's either affixing small sections of styrene or going with putty.
Also, I'm not sure I captured the nose correctly. Part of the problem is the size of the window frames. (The U30CG windows are larger than the P30CH...but I'm not sure how I want to decrease their size. Styrene strips glued in place is the logical choice.) I think I can improve on the overall look of the nose area if I decrease the window frames to better match the P30CH design. I think I'll add a very small strip along the bottom of the side window frames. And finally, there is no glass for these windows...my model didn't come with any installed...so I need to make some from clear styrene.