Construction & painting of a BNSF GP7u

Step 1 Unpainted
Step 2 Primer
Step 3 Blue
Step 4 Yellow
Step 5 Blue and Yellow
Step 6 Decals and Bonnet
Step 7 Some Details

Step 1
This unit began as a Life Like Proto 2000 GP7 highnose. The cab was constructed from an Athearn non-dash 2 cab, and some styrene. The nose is chopped down from the high nose, and the head light has been built into the nose. The chassis weight also had to be cut down.

Step 2
Here we see the unit in some minor primer. I never took a picture of it in full primer, so this is the best I got.

Step 3
Now for the Santa Fe blue on the long hood. I chose to use Modelflex, a water based paint, airbrushed on with a cheep Testors airbrush. If I had it to do again I'd use Floquil, and a better brush.

Step 4
Here's some yellow on the chassis, I also used Modelflex paint for this, and again, if I did another, I'd use Floquil.

Step 5
Looks like its coming together now. All the basic painting of the Santa Fa blue bonnet scheme is complete. Here it is assembled for a photo shoot.

Step 6
Now I get into detail. I custom masked the long hood for the completion of the bonnet. To make the mask, I use a hobby knife to cut the bonnet out of the "decal placing sheet" from a Microscale Santa Fe blue & yellow Warbonnet decal set. I then laid the cut out on a desk and covered it with clear scotch tape, with AMPLE extra tape. I then used the hobby knife to cut around the paper cutout that was now covered in a layer of tape. Last step was applying the tape mask to the model, with the paper cut out removed. I then applied the Santa Fe decals to the side, the cigarband to the nose, BNSF patch above it (per unit #1360), and the road number. I then applied a few watered down coats of white artist oil (from Wal*mart, acrylic craft paints), to get the faded effect.

Step 7
Now all that’s left are some minor details omitted to reduce damage while painting and decaling. Doors from a Cannon cab kit, ditch lights, and more...

NOTE this article was not intended as a how to on constructing a "Topeka cab" GP7u. It was originally intended to show a simple, organized layout for you to use with your how-to articles.  This article was first published when Model Railroad Tips first opened, in 2006!  It was actually the FIRST article to go live.  I have edited it some here, and republished it as the GP7u article that was the raw basis of the sample article.

Note, I saw this unit reappear on eBay in 2015/2016 time frame, and bid on it unsuccessfully.  If ANYONE happens to know where this unit is, or the two following, I would like to know, as I'd like an opportunity to buy them back.

© 2006, 2019, Josh Baakko,