California's Railroad to the U.S. 1861 - 1996

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Model Train Help EBook

Modeling an exTrain Master Brake Sled

in HO Scale

© 2007 David Reed

see below for photos of an N Scale model by Simon White

I have added under construction photos of a model I started many years ago but stalled due to a lack of good detail on how the brake stand looked... it is probably ten years old, and has bowed due to the difference between the plastic that the frame is made of and the styrene that the new deck was made from. It may be salvageable if each end is screwed down to the metal frame ?

To begin construction on the Athearn Train Master, you will remove the entire hood from the shell, leaving only the frame and walkway. You will then remove all side detail on either side of the frame, add styrene filler and body putty to make the walkway and area you fill all level. At this time remove the footboards and related detail from the ends. Now cut EverGreen styrene #9015 0.15 thick to fit onto the top of the frame/walkway. With liquid glue, glue the sheet styrene you cut, to the top of the frame.

Once this step is completed, drill holes for the Detail Associates MU Hose #1508, do not install these at this time. There are 8 hoses per end, for a total of 16 hoses. They will be installed after painting. Add Detail Associates #2206 eye bolts, #2207 coupler lift bar, and #1004 EMD late type headlight to each end. As an option you may add #1507 MU receptacles, in place of the molded ones on the end.

Another option you may add is the air lines on the air tanks and underframe. Mine does not have this detail, as I did not know what to look for. If you go to the Train Master walk around, it will show all the detail you need.

The last detail to add is Details West #132 Ratchet Hand Brake and its stand. The stand is built from Plastruct H column #90065, it is about 3 1/2 scale feet tall. One side is cut flat. The other side is cut with a beveled angle, so it becomes flush at the top. When this is complete, cut the 0.15 styrene to fit the opening left behind. It's about 3 1/2 scale feet tall and 1 1/2 scale feet wide. The other side, using the same 0.15 styrene,cut a scale 9" by 18", again with an angle cut in it. Using liquid cement, glue all the cut parts onto the column in the appropriate places. Once the assembly is dry, Add Details West #132 Ratchet Hand Brake to it, adding it to the side that you cut flat on the column assembly. Cut scale chain to length, hanging off the ratchet brake.

When this assembly is completed, mount it to the center of the deck, centered over the rear truck behind the air tanks. Note that the ratchet faces the rear of the sled.

Now the handrails can be added. It takes a total of 2 sets to do the handrails on the sled. You will also need to drill some additional holes where the cab was. This completes the frame/walkway detailing.

I did not add any detail to the trucks. That is an option that can be done. If you are going to add detail to the trucks, do that after the removal of the gear tower, so that it is flush with the metal plate on top of the truck. This is done so that the trucks clear the bottom of the new deck.

All that is left is to Paint and Decal. The entire body and trucks are painted SP Dark Lark Gray.

Decals used are Micro-Scale #155 SP MOW set and ACI plate decal. There is in small numbers a weight of 35000, below the lettering.

With the model complete, it may be mated with an ALco C-630 or EMD SD35.


  • Athearn
    • #4321 undec. SP Train Master dummy or
    • #4327 or
    • #4328
    • extra set of Train Master handrails

  • Scale Chain of your choice

  • Detail Associates
    • #1004 EMD Late Headlight
    • #1507 MU Receptacle (optional)
    • #1508 MU hoses
    • #2206 Grab Irons
    • # AAR type coupler lift bar

  • Details West
    • #132 Ratchet Handbrake

  • Evergreen Styrene
    • #9015 0.15 thick

  • Plastruct
    • #90065 ¼ H Column

  • Paint
    • Lark Dark Gray
    • Reefer White

  • Decals
    • Microscale #155 MOW set
    • ACI labels

N Scale Brake Sled by Simon White

Modeling References:

  • Southern Pacific Historic Diesels, Volume 1, Fairbanks-Morse Locomotives - Page 64 - by Joe Strapac.
  • Southern Pacific Motive Power Annual 1974-76 - page 107 - by Don Jewell.
  • Southern Pacific Motive Power Annual 1977-80 - page 84 - by Don Jewell.


  • N Scale:
    • Atlas Fairbanks-Morse H-24-66.
  • HO Scale:
    • Athearn Fairbanks-Morse H-24-66.
    • Atlas Fairbanks-Morse H-24-66.
  • O Scale:
    • Lionel Fairbanks-Morse H-24-66.

Brake Sled Info Page

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This document © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. Richard.A.Percy