Custom Projects and Kitbashes
Customized Minitrix F7A 4267–
First off let me apologize for being a little delinquent with my blogging, between an increased load at work, home repairs, and family commitments I am finding little time for non-essentials. That said, I would like to talk about an Minitrix F9A (F7A) that I decorated up in a late B&M “blue-dip” scheme.
When I first got interested in vintage N scale I started looking into appropriate locomotives that could pull my growing collection of rolling stock. Reviews of early N scale stuff are generally pretty harsh and my experience with much of that early equipment backs those less-than-favorable opinions completely. One of the major exceptions is the Minitrix (Aurora) F9A dating to around 1966. Oddly, being from 1966, this locomotive is a very early development and yet does indeed run very well, even by some 1990s standards. This F unit is a little out scale, in most dimensions, and much of the detailing more closely resembles an F7… however for the time it was a very nice locomotive.
I have said it before so I am sure most of you know that I am not a rivet counter, I just like operating my railroad. I wanted a locomotive to pull my vintage B&M equipment and I wanted something that would look at home doing so. The Minitrix locomotive is already a great deal like the four EMD F7As purchased by B&M. For instance, it has one headlight, and no steam generator, so I wouldn’t have to make the shell match those details as I did on the earlier Life-Like F7A “customization” I had attempted many years ago. What I did have to do was settle on a paint scheme.
Most, if not all, early B&M N scale equipment is “blue-dipped” with white lettering. I could have bucked the trend and given it a basic Minute Man scheme but that would have looked odd when matched up with a mostly blue consist. Blue it was but only three of the four B&M F7As made it into the blue era, 4265, 4266, and 4268 ,4267 having been wrecked on the north shore of Mascoma Lake and eventually traded in when B&M acquired more modern equipment. I am always on the look out for B&M locomotives and I couldn’t be sure if one of the major manufacturers would ever release the three survivors in their individualized “blue-dipped” schemes. I knew however that 4267 would probably never be released as a factory model in blue paint (at least I would hope not), so in my world, on my railroad, B&M repaired 4267 and put it back into service in brand new blue paint. The scheme I chose is sort of a combination of the blue schemes worn by the other three B&M F7As… it isn’t perfect but I think it looks appropriate.
I haven’t decided whether I will make up some number board inserts, it still has the original Minitrix number “510”, but that can wait. For now, I am happy with the results, it isn’t going to win any prizes for authenticity but it looks pretty good pulling a freight train around my layout.
Again, I can’t emphasize enough just how enjoyable it is to repaint/redecorate a locomotive to be something closer to what you want. If you have’t tried it yet I say dive in, paint is getting difficult to come by now that Testors has gutted the railroad model paint market but finding the right mix could certainly add more interest to your hobby.