Image of the C&O for Progress monogram A graphic image of the words C&O Piedmont Subdivision

Friends, one of the questions that I’ve asked myself over the years is why I and many others build models. A few years ago it occurred to me that, as a research psychologist, I know how to go about answering that question. If you’d be willing to help me out, I have a survey online at If you, too are a model builder and could spare about 30 minutes to complete the survey, I’d really appreciate it.

Modeling the C&O

Making a Hood Mount Bell for GP7/9’s


I’ve had a couple of people ask me how I make the hood mounted bells on my GP7’s and GP9’s. To make my first couple, I modified some white metal bells that I acquired so long ago that I don’t even remember where I got them, much less who made them. My more recent efforts have started with a Detail Associates 1202 Under frame Mount Bell. Here’s how I do it.

Bell Details
Figure 1. Details of the hood mount bell construction.

1. Start by removing the large square piece at the top of the bell. I don’t have scale drawings of the C&O’s bells, so I just eye-balled the dimensions from photos and the size of the DA bell.

2. Cut a piece of Evergreen .100" channel to just smaller than the diameter of the bottom of the bell. Sand it so that it slopes up toward the front (see Figure 1).

3. Cut a piece of .010x.100 styrene strip. Its length should equal the height of the bell.

4. Glue the .010x.100 strip to the back of the channel piece from step 2. Let it dry completely before moving on.

5. Glue the bell to the mount. There should be a small gap between the back edge of the bell and the upright support (the .010x.100 strip).

6. Attach the whole assembly to the locomotive. The bottom edge of the upright support just touches the top of the headlight casting (as far as I can tell from photos).

7. Some engines had small “triangular” braces on the back of the mount. I used small bits of .010 styrene cut and filed to match the curve of the hood. And that, as they say, is that.

Installed bell.
Figure 2. The finished bell. This one’s mounted on a Lifelike Proto2000 GP7.


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