The Able Tasman DC 4346 part I

DC 4346 in Tasman Forestry Ltd colours, c. 1991. Picture from Rails.
One of those oddities of the 1990s were locomotives DC 4346 and DF 6133. Both were painted in a one-off livery for one of NZ Rail's biggest customers, Tasman Forestry Ltd (part of Fletcher Challenge, remember them?). Apparently this was a thing NZ Rail tried to convince more of its big customers to do. Sadly the DC and DF were the only two to receive the livery and traveled all around the countryside, not just on Tasman related log or paper pulp trains. Tasman itself no longer exists post break-up of Fletcher Challenge and DC 4346 was repainted into Tranz Rail blue (boo!) and then KiwiRail red/grey. DF 6133 was reborn as DFT 7307, now DFB 7307, and in KiwiRail red/grey also.

I recently purchased one of Peter Bryant's DC class shells. Since I've always wanted a DC and DF in Tasman colours combo, I thought I might as well start with DC 4356. The 3D model itself is pretty good, in this version Peter's removed the handrails and there's an option for the different style of rear lights (i.e. shroud or no shroud). The model has the tell-tale pocket on its cab sides for ye olde tablet exchanger which the DC class originally had - luckily DC 4346 retained this pocket, even though the tablet exchange equipment was removed. After the usual clean up with acetone (i.e. nail polish remover) and dishwashing detergent, it was off to the paint booth for a primer spray:


I've got some decals from Trackgang Products. Russell has previously built models of DC 4346 and DF 6133:

Main colour is Humbrol # 10 Gloss (chocolate) brown. Gotta get me some of that. Next I need to acquire a chassis (I brought a SD7 online... but it turned out to be in HO scale!).

For lights I've decided to experiment with sort of fibre optics. I was looking for those fibre optic Christmas trees you can get if you can't be bothered putting up lights every year, but I found these instead:

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Apparently there is some fashion trend which involves putting these in your hair. Not knowing anything about fashion, I can't verify this. But they do look idea for making those tiny lights you can't fit into a cab...

The instructions were clear not to use them improperly. So I pulled it apart and took out the strands.

I wired up a 1.6mm red LED plus a 1k Ohm resistor on a 15v DC feed:

Red LED inside the shell.
Two strands were then pushed through the reversing light holes in the short hood of the loco. They look brighter in real life...

These are only single strands remember. The main thing for me is that I could use this technique in future to make ditch lights.

Next the chassis. I purchased an Atlas SD-7 from Ebay:

Not a huge amount of modification required, the fuel tank being the main problem. There's a thin copper plate that goes on the bogies to connect to the chassis which I'll remove and solder wires directly to the bogie contacts (to prevent and shorts thanks to DCC).

There seems to be a 5mm gap between the top of the chassis and the shell - will make use of this to stow the decoder and lights.

More soon...


  1. Hi Lewis, was this produced in FUD? I've recenetly purchased one too but haven't begun cleaning it. You mentioned nail polish remover as a good way to remove the oils from production, I'll definitely look to use that. What brand of primer did you use? I've read a few comments around that various primers don't stick too well.

    1. Hi Scott, sorry for the slow reply (1 month!) I've finally got some modeling time over the break.

      Yes it's in FUD. I recently found bulk Acetone (the main chemical in nail polish remover) for sale at The Warehouse and got a bottle, it was about $10 for memory. Get a toothbrush (disused!) and bathe the print in Acetone, then scrub off the residues with the tooth brush.

      For primer I use Repco's Etch Primer, it doesn't have the solvents other primers have and won't ruin the print:

    2. Thanks for the reply Lewis, I'll definitely look into that. Better get my hands on some acetone first to get rid of the oily surface patches at the moment on the DC.


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