Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Atlas S-2: Initial Assessments & Starting 0604

With the prototype research done, let's take a closer look at the Atlas model and get started on the build!

As I mentioned last week, the Atlas S-2 with horizontal louvers provides a great start to modeling the first nine New Haven DEY-5 class switchers (0600-0608). And as I mentioned yesterday, the main visual changes will be to add a new cab and a different horn/whistle. But there are a couple of - thankfully minor - issues with the model itself. . .

The first thing I noticed "wrong" with the Atlas S-2 right out of the box was the position (and brightness!) of the headlight:

This causes the headlight to lose a lot of intensity through the lens, despite how bright this bulb is - so bright, in fact, that you'll have to blacken the inside of the shell to keep the light from shining through the walls of the hood(!)

Another problem - at least on the model I got - was that the cab fitment wasn't great.

The good news is that - like the prototype, the cab overhangs the frame a bit. But the bad news - as you can see in the top picture above - for some reason my cab flares out.

But these problems are no big deal at all. I plan to replace the cab with a new low-profile NH cab from my friend Mike Redden of NE Modelworks (5-piece kit, seen above), and I just figured out how I'm going to fix the headlight issue - but I'll wait and share that solution when I get to that point in the build.

Speaking of the build, let's get started building!

These are among my favorite pics - that fresh, new-to-you look and feeling you get when you first open a kit and lay out the parts.

Since it's an undec, you have to apply all the separate parts yourself and there are no instructions, per se - just an exploded diagram showing you where everything is supposed to go. So you'll become VERY familiar with all the parts - you really have no choice!

The pic above shows everything all laid out, including the extra parts I plan to apply (brass whistle, different lenses, and of course the low-profile cab).

Since there are no instructions, you'll want to install the most robust parts first and save the more delicate parts for later in the build. I decided to start by adding the grab irons. They're sturdy metal, so I figured they'd survive lots of subsequent handling. Thankfully, even though it's a "kit," Atlas already drilled all the holes for you - which is a BIG timesaver! Have some small drill bits on-hand though, in case you have to enlarge them at all (fortunately, I didn't).

Once the grabs were applied, I turned my attention to the cab. Given that it's a 5-piece kit itself, it warrants a post of its own. Which we'll get to next time.

Hope you're enjoying following along, and if you are - and especially if you have any special tips/tricks to share - be sure to let us know in the comments!


  1. Looking at the photo of my cab kit I realized it must've been an earlier version that required the builder to use the fuel filler from the original cab. Later versions included it on the print of the back.

    1. I think that was the stock photo from Shapeways since I (thankfully!) have the version that has the filler molded in.