Dressing-Up An APM GMC TDH-4510 "Old Look" Bus

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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
#1
While I was visiting an RHS (Regional Hobby Shop) in Southern PA for the first time, I stumbled upon a 1:87 model of a GMC TDH-4510 transit bus, like this one:



I couldn't tell just by looking at the box, who the manufacturer was. I remembered seeing them on the shelves of various hobby shops in the mid-1990's, but at that time I was too focused on trains. Then I never saw any of them again...until now. I got it for $25.

Since I'm trying to model suburban Cleveland of the early 1970's, I wanted to have it painted for the Cleveland Transit System. At first I planned to just slap on some white paint on the top and blue on the bottom. I googled in vain for an online prototype photo of a GMC "Old Look" bus from the sixties, painted in white-and-blue CTS livery. However, I did come across a few photos of this O scale model: http://www.sptc-spb.ru/model/1950-5...series-in-cts-post-59-livery-sptc238-11-1.php

I decided this would have to be my reference, since I wasn't thrilled at the idea of spending money on a book just to paint a $25 model. So I figured out how to dissassemble it, then stripped of the dark green paint with 91% Iso. First I covered the whole body shell in white, then masked off the top and sprayed the bottom Spa Blue. Next, I grabbed some Testors Clear decal paper and printed up some dark blue stripes and numbers, and what seemed like a passable representation of a CTS logo.

After I had cut-out and applied the stripes and numbers on the top half, I spread some PollyScale acrylic Flat Aluminum paint on what was left of the Testors decal sheet to use for the Loewy art-deco style aluminum paneling:



At this point I realized the blue was way too dark. At first I figured I would just let it slide, but I just kept obsessing about it. That's because I realized that this is something that conveys the locale of my layout [Cleveland], so I wanted to make it as accurate as possible. I wound up having to repaint and re-do the entire bottom half of the shell in Robins Egg Blue, this cost me a few extra nights' worth of work. But at least now I knew it would be more accurate. [Sure wish I had taken more photos of the project along the way, but I don't think about stuff like that when I struggling with a challenging paint job...]

Every time I looked at the photo of the O scale model, I would see yet another detail that I needed to add. All in all, I spent ~2 weeks worth of evenings and Saturdays getting this thing done. But I think it was time well spent. Later I discovered this item on eBay that I could have bought for $90 already painted:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/151218514571?item=151218514571&vectorid=229466&rmvSB=true :rolleyes:

...No thanks! For $25, plus another ~$10 for paint and supplies and a bit of "sweat equity", I wound up with THIS:







Looks like I'll need to re-do that route/destination placard since it wrinkled when I cemented it on, but I'll deal with that later. I have to get back to de-cluttering my layout...
 
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tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#4
Sure wish I had taken more photos of the project along the way, but I don't think about stuff like that when I struggling with a challenging paint job..
I'm like that when I'm doing a decoder/LED job. I think I should take some pics while I'm doing it, but then hit a snag because I'm trying to fit stuff where it doesn't want to and it disturbs my concentration. I'm not far enough yet that I've learned all the ways around problems.

Your Bus is really well done. The front window treatment and folding doors remind me of the first Trolley buses that appeared in Auckland NZ when I was a kid. The side windows were a little different in being a bit taller but with a glass Louvre at the top. I wonder if they were made by the same Bus maker? Quite probable. Although they were owned by the same Public Transport authority, they were used for many years, leased to the only inner City route, serving a private dept store, by the name of The Farmer's Trading Co, who were also, the first in the town to introduce a Christmas Parade in 1947-8. Something that drew big crowds for many years. The route connected the store and the 2 main shopping districts of the town at the time. It was one of those facilities that had it not been, all 3 would have been weaker financially. Prior to the buses arriving, the service was done with Trams, travelling on tracks that serviced the outer suburbs as well, so a little more circuitous
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