Tangent Scale Models UP hopper transformed to ARR TNM hopper

Here’s how I repainted a UP hopper into one of Alaska Railroad’s TNM hoppers.

I found some Tangent Scale Models HO scale item #10843-01, UP 3600cf, Quad Hoppers that match the TNM hoppers. Only a couple very minor detail differences between the model and the prototype make this a really nice conversion. The Tangent model is amazing with lots of details; fine wire grab irons, Kadee couplers, metal wheels, coupler lift bars, see-thru brake platforms, etc. A real masterpiece.

First, I masked the white painted lettering details I wanted to keep with Microscale’s Micro Mask. Once that dried I removed the UP lettering and road numbers with Chameleon Paint Stripper. I applied both the Micro Mask and the Chameleon Paint Stripper with a small paint brush. Be very careful not to let the Chameleon soak to long or it may take the black paint layer off as well. Once the Chameleon had a chance to soak (about 5 minutes), I removed the white UP lettering by scrubbing with cotton swabs and paper towels.

Once the white lettering was removed I washed the car with warm soapy water, let dry and sprayed the car with gloss coat so the TNM decals set well.

I used Roundhouse Hobbies decal set #13 TNM Hoppers (each set will do several cars). I cut out the lettering and numbers I wanted to use. I soaked the decals in distilled water and applied to the model with micro set. Once in place I removed the excess water with a paper towel and let dry. I added some weathering with chalks and applied a final spay of dullcoat to seal it all.

These Tangent hoppers are a near perfect match for the 80 TNM quad hoppers in use on the Alaska Railroad hauling coal from the Usibelli coal tipple in Healy to Fairbanks and Seward.

These TNM 100 ton, 3,610 cubic foot quad hoppers were built by Trinity in 1990 and placed in service on the ARRC in 1993. The road numbers on the ARRC are 20000 – 20104 with the 25 exceptions listed below.

(5, 6, 7, 14, 19, 20, 28, 41, 42, 44, 47, 52, 66, 70, 73, 81, 86, 87, 89, 90, 91, 92, 97, 101, 102)

TNM hopper