Get out your safety glasses, work gloves and Dremel cutoff disc and grind off part of the Kato frame as shown below. This is necessary to make room for the VIA air tanks. Do this heavy work outdoors and with all the right clothing and safety gear as this is a dangerous operation with bits of metal flying all over the place.

For Kato, the plastic side contact railings need to have the two narrow skirts (one per side) filed off as well as the air dryer part. Next, file down some of the step detail and snip off the engine door step from the stirrup step collar. Attach your home made resin fuel tank side castings and glue a styrene plate underneath the fuel tank halves. Build a battery box out of .020 styrene and glue the fret battery box sides to the ends of this box. Glue the box to the underframe. Build and install air tanks, air dryers, numerous lines and traction motor cables as shown in these photos. Both Kato drives masked and airbrushed with flat black paint. Ready for mounting to shells.

I chose to convert my Walthers locomotive to dummy operation as it was an uphill battle to try and rework the underframe with the motor still installed. If you do what I did, you will end up with the surplus Walthers parts shown below; three gears per truck, the metal fuel tank, universal shafts, battery boxes (not shown), screws and of course the motor. Glue on Kato SD70MAC fuel tank halves and fabricate .010 styrene plates underneath and on the tank end. Complete the detailing as shown in these photos. Walthers drive masked and airbrushed with flat black paint. Completed and ready for mounting to shell.


No matter which drive system you use (besides Overland), the sideframes need quite a few minor modifications to closely match the VIA configuration. It is actually easier than it seems and making these changes will set your model apart from the rest. These directions assume Kato sideframes but the changes are similar for Walthers and others. You will need four scrap sideframes with old style center leafsprings. Carefully extricate these leafsprings and discard the remainder of the scrap sideframes. On the Kato sideframes, file off only the LEFT axle journal as well as the Amtrack style center pillow blocks as shown. Do lots of test fitting and cutting and filing until you get the right fit. Install MBE #B22 on THREE of the four sideframes and DA TK2807 to the fourth sideframe, left journal. IMPORTANT: reassemble and test fit leaf spring for swing clearance with cab stirrup steps. If necessary, remove and file down Kato sideframes until proper swing clearance achieved. Cut .015 styrene squares to fit at bottom of swinghanger. File carefully for tight fit and correct size. Do not leave the swinghangers open underneath the leafsprings. Add slider bars and anti-hunting dampers. Completed and painted at same time as drives.


Remove all unwanted detail including all cast MU plugs from front and rear pilots. The Juneco replacement pilot needs a few adjustments: file down coupler notch and round off bottom corners as shown. Add MBE MU plugs, ditchlights and Juneco pilot. Bend and install front ditchlight conduit pipe, MU hoses, train air line hose and coupler lift bar. Completed and painted flat black. Ready for paint detail (MU plug colouring etc).

© updated 5-19-14

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