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 Canvas Sunshades


I’ve recently hit on a way of making canvas sunshades that resulted in several requests for how I did it. I can’t claim any real originality - this is a conglomeration of methods I’ve read over the years. Anyway, here’s how I do it:

Start by bending a piece of .012 wire for the frame. It should be a squared-off U shape just wider than the window (but see your prototype photos to be sure).

Next, cut out the shade itself. I used inkjet printer paper for the shade. The important thing is to cut the corners off of the piece that will fold under the wire so that only a single thickness of paper will show on the finished model. See Figure 1 for the approximate shape.

Sunshade shape Figure 1. Shape of the paper shade.

Bend the shade on the line. Apply adhesive to the part that will fold under. I used Weldbond. Wrap it around the wire frame. I used the point of my tweezers to make sure I got the wire frame as tightly into the fold as possible. Let this assembly dry well.

When dry, I twisted the shade into its approximate position and inserted the wire into holes I had previously drilled in the cab. When the shade was in position, I applied a small drop of ACC on each leg of the frame. I also ran a light bead of Weldbond along the edge of the shade and settled it into place on the cab. Let this dry before painting.

I painted the wire frame the color of the locomotive. The shades themselves were painted Testor’s Model Master Afrika Khakibraun. A shot of the finished shade can be seen in Figure 2.

Installed shade. Figure 2.The finished sunshade. This one’s mounted on a Lifelike Proto2000 SW9.


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