Project: Soo 320

Project, Trains
Photo taken by and Copyright Louis Becker. Photo used with permission

Photo taken by and Copyright Louis Becker. Photo used with permission

This has been something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, ever since I saw the above picture. It’s fairly intertwined with the Raging River project as the picture has inspired both projects. When I first set out I hadn’t really anticipated doing Soo 320 but kept an eye out for SW1s just the same as it would be an easy paint job. It’s also an interesting prototype because it’s supposed to be the Soo Line’s first diesel locomotive in 1939 and it’s still in commercial use today, currently for ILSX (Independent Locomotive Service) and at the time of that picture was in use in Minnesota. When the repainted somewhere around 2010 they painted it in it’s delivery paint scheme. This makes it a perfect paint job because if I were modeling the 40s it’d be correct and as I’m modeling modern era it’s currently active (last I heard) in this scheme and is owned by a leasing company so the idea of it showing up just about anywhere is plausible!


I picked up this Walthers SW1 in GN paint off eBay a year or two ago with the intention of at sometime in the future putting a decoder in it at minimum and maybe repainting it. My original plan was to pick up a decoder this month but my a replacement airbrush took up my hobby money for the month so instead I’ve started prepping for paint.

First up is new hand rails, the set that came with it was not in the best condition and upon closer inspection of the prototype picture I realized they were quite a bit simpler.


This is the cap side grab for comparison, having brass (and styrene for that matter) on hand is very handy! The front grab is very similar, just a little bigger.


With the front and back done and test fitted, these will be painted white and I’ll reuse the original plastic end rails which are white and black. I’m not entirely sure I’ve got the geometry I like so I might see how how it looks painted to see if I try to readjust or remake them.

Check for more posts on this project here

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