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South Jersey S Scale Modelers

Chessie SD40-2 7609


Aka the paint job from HELL


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In researching what loco number I was going to use and learning about the Chessie to some extent I was very surprised to find there was only 20 Chessie SD40-2 total. They were all designated as B&O but none were C&O or WM. Apparently B&O, C&O, and WM remained alive and separately at least on paper much later than I originally thought, possibly for tax purposes until the start of CSX. The rolling stock that was regionally in place for the 3 companies before Chessie mostly stayed there after Chessie started. I always thought Chessie was the typical merging of failing railroads into a larger new road but that is not true.



This is Overland Models SD04-2 1744 made in 1983. I have wanted a Chessie SD40-2 for many years. Not finding the correct version SD40-2 for sale I made a Chessie GP30 and Chessie SD50 first. For the longest time you never saw a SD40-2 for sale but in 2022 and 2023 a LOT of them surfaced for sale. This was bought at the 2023 NASG Convention in Harrisburg PA. There is no significance to me in picking 7609 like I did with the Chessie GP30 and SD50 other then there was a lot of online photos of it.

A Historical Loco

I am considering it to be a historic S Scale locomotive, at least temporarily. This is the first ever S Scale brass model bought by River Raisin Models co-founder Dan Navarre, and is likely the same source for the River Raisin Models business name. The Keweenaw Bay & River Raisin Railroad is a fictitious name. Dan did a great job with the painting. As far as fictitious paint schemes are concerned it is one of the most believable that it could have been real I have ever seen.


But it was bought to become B&O Chessie. Dan was fine with knowing I was going to strip 1 of his very early paint jobs.


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Added 11-27-23

Many photo are now being taken with my Samsung S23 Ultra phone.


I started this loco on 11-19-23. I usually start with the drive because it is a lot of work. I did a quick test run when I first bought it with an old decoder I had. It ran pretty well which was very encouraging. Most of the time they do not run well. These locos are 40 years old now. As usual the grease is wax now and/or dry of all useable lubrication. Once I did my “Overland service” it ran even better.



This is a very typical Overland rework for me. In spite of the fact the prices for the Miniatronics plugs has ZOOMED in the past 2 years adding about $30.00 to the DCC installation cost I am committed to continue using them. I use Miniatronics 2 pin plugs to easily disconnect the trucks from the frame. I also use a 4 pin plug to disconnect the frame from the shell. The pickup wiper is .020 phosphor bronze wire which is much better than brass wire. The leads are the 2 pin plug.

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Blub Blub Blub

The above paint job is no more. I stripped it on 11-24-23. I use an auto lacquer thinner. There is some minor urgency getting this painted in Chessie. I have a custom mix of Chessie blue paint I used on the GP30 and SD50 I also want to use on this. The mix is already 5 months old. I gave it a quick trip through my blast booth after dunking it.

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Overland Repairs

I had to make the usual Overland repairs fixing the cold solder joints everywhere. I add extra solder to the backs of all handrail stanchions. I have not seen one SD40-s or GP38-2 that had all handrails attached without someone trying to glue them which is the worst thing to do. The MUST be soldered. The shell cross braces always pop off so lots of extra solder is added there. I also moved the hanging bell and added the 5 chime horn.


Added 2-19-24

My most difficult Diesel PAINT job EVER


My progress here has been pretty awful. Some other projects have gotten worked on but mostly it was the difficult masking, and massive procrastination that is making this take much too long to get this completed. When cutting from 1 color to another some loco paint schemes have a thin stripe at the separation point. That gives you a chance to cover up a less than perfect masking line. For this loco every color change is seen completely you have to have crisp sharp cut lines. There is no place to hide anything you either have it or you don’t. 


This is now my most difficult PAINT job I have ever done surpassing my Southern GP30 that was a very involved decaling project. There was a progression of painting colors light to dark from the bottom to the top of the loco. But by far the worst part of painting this loco is the Tru Color paint was just not sticking well with the loco mostly being painted yellow first. That has negatively impacted my previous great opinion of Tru Color that given Scalecoat is out of business Tru Color is my go to paint. When I masked for the vermillion band the yellow paint stuck to the masking tape. I blasted the long hood and started again using low tack yellow Frog tape. But the low tack tape did not contour around the huge hinges making for awful overspray issues and still got some yellow paint removed when unmasked. So for every new color added you had to repair the color before it. I have all but painted the loco twice. There was ENDLESS touch up. It is a war of colors. I brush painted a lot of touch up because of the possibility of doing more damage with masking and spraying. And some of it was I almost gave up on caring I just wanted to get it DONE.


I was told to try Tamiya tape which was somewhat better than the Frog tape. This thing just will not die. I wanted to make 2 Chessie SD40-2. I even got the decals made. But I don’t think I can torture myself like this again. It would have been better outcome and much easier loco to paint if there were not all those huge hinge castings.


Height Gauge

Since I have not painted stripes like this before I had to figure out how to do it. The most important thing for me was the stripes HAD to be level and equal width. I have an eye for spotting unlevel things. But also they must match and meet the next part of the loco shell all the way around. I mostly got that part done. I am currently a machinist. A coworker wanted me to buy this height gauge from him for some reason. I eventually did but later I realized it would be the perfect tool for laying out horizontal masking lines. One of the cheapest flat surfaces you can get it is a ceramic floor tile. Mine is 12” x 24” it was $4.00. At first I was going to scribe lines in the yellow paint but decided to tape on a compass lead.


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Masking for the Vermillion

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Painting the Chessie Blue

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Lots of overspray. Note the chipped yellow on the bottom edge from even careful handling that was just never ending.

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Masking and repairing the overspray. I have started to use the Tamiya tape here. (Darker yellow)

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Finally SOME progress

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Deck and Handrails

No matter what was painted there was likely some small part of that area that was the wrong color. It was a hot mess all on its own. For the deck and handrails I painted the vermilion first. I masked the handrail stanchions with heat shrink tubing that was split down 1 side. That remained in place for most of the deck painting. Surprisingly painting the deck blue last was a bit easier than most of the other deck painting. I just painted at a sharp angle from the inside outwards past the handrail stanchions. Sprayed paint does not bend around corners.


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Paint mostly “done” 2-22-24

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Completed 2-22-24

Once again I got Circus City to make the decals. As mentioned the biggest challenge would be getting the decals to stretch around the huge hinge castings. That mostly happened pretty well. I did have to touch up paint the decals on the hinges where they decals tore. It was about 90 minutes per side for the large Chessie decal. They did move a bit as they dried and are not as straight as I hoped the final results would be. Nothing I can do about that except start over. Not going to happen…. On the plus side it runs REALLY WELL. I am very happy with that. The awful part of this is I probably have over 100 hours in making this ONE loco run well and get painted. That should not happen – ever. I have been doing this for over 30 years. A project is almost always fun but there gets to be a point of reaching frustration and stupidity. This loco hit that point. It is difficult to convince someone to switch to S Scale when they have to find one of 20 locos made then spend 100 hours getting it done.


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Year Of The Cat

The Chessie SD40-2 has long been a “bucket list” loco for me I have wanted for many years. It is exactly one year since I decided to make some Chessie locos starting with the SD50 figuring I would have to find someone to do the painting. I did get some help with painting the GP30 and SD50 but accepted the self made challenge for painting the SD40-2. Note the part of the 1969 Mach 1 in the photos.



Updated 3-2-24

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