Alejandro Ramírez Watanabe, an HO-scale modeler living in México, D.F., sends us this photo album of his extensive collection of locomotive models, plus one from a friend. The captions are edited from Alejandro's own explanations.

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This locomotive and the next were custom decorated following the real prototypes by friend and modeler José Luis "Joe" Durán. For the F7A, Joe used a Stewart Hobbies locomotive, adding details like grab irons, lift rings, radio antenna, engineer, brakeman, and Kadee couplers. The decals are by Microscale; except those for the "NdeM" on the side panel were custom made by Erasmo Vargas. Joe likes clean engines, so the weathering was very light on this unit, showing a hard-working but well maintained machine. Most of the Mexicans F units ran until 1980, when they were replaced by more powerful diesels. I have plans to install a DCC decoder on the unit, and keep it as one of my favorites.


As for the RSD-12, I have to say this is a real gem. It was also made by Joe, following the real prototype. (It was pictured in the video Central Mexico Rails by Pentrex, working at the San Luis Potosí yards). Joe started with an Atlas locomotive, chopped the high nose, custom-made garb irons and added some other details to the unit; decals are from Microscale.


This locomotive and the next are HO-scale Kato stock engines, which have been custom decorated by friend and modeler Juan Aguilera. They reflect their prototype counterparts. This is an SD45 in the two-tone blue paint, better known here in México as "Smurfs". The real engine was a rebuilt locomotive that was acquired by NdeM in the 1980's when México found itself short of motive power. Juan used Microscale decals to finish the job, weathered the engine lightly as it appeared in 1989. The prototype unit was derated to a 3,000-horspeower engine.


This is a GP35, also from Kato, in the final two-tone blue paint scheme. The old "NdeM" was replaced at this time by the consolidated "FNM" symbol. The prototype unit was derated, to 2,000 horsepower.


This locomotive and the next are classic olive and orange Arrowhead NdeM's. Both high-nose units are the work of friend and modeler Juan Aguilera. NdeM 7106 is an EMD GP9 as it appeared near the end of a venerable career. (Actually, the model is an Atlas GP7. I took myself some freedom, considering that both models are practically the same.)


This is an Atlas ALCO RS-11, also with high nose. Juan shaved the molded grab irons and added metal ones that he made with wire. Microscale decals were used as well, except for the side panels. We've found that the Microscale decals were too large for first-generation F and hood diesels. Preiser figures, hoses, and lift rings are part of the decoration. Also the RS-11 has the correct fuel tank.


The next two images are of a couple of my all-time favorite kind of diesels, the unsurpassed and classic EMD SD40/SD40-2's. This first one, SD40 13055, was done by my friend Juan Aguilera. Juan again worked with Microscale decals and some other super-detailed parts. Juan was asked to keep the weathering very light. I have plans to install a DCC decoder on this one.


SD40-2 1414 was done by my friend Guillermo "Memo" Martínez. Memo used TFM decals custom-made by another friend and modeler, Erasmo Vargas. At first we didn't knew how the locomotive was going to look, but the results were okay. Again, Memo kept the weathering very light. I have plans to install a DCC decoder on this one also.


Next, we see a couple of olive and orange SD's. Both are the work of Juan Aguilera. In real life, 801 was the first SD45 that came to México. It was a former D&H locomotive (and also an ex-EMD demonstrator) that kept its original number. It has a heavier weathering to reflect heavy use on the high iron.


SD40 8519 was part of the first batch of SD's that were purchased new for the NdeM; most of its working life was spent on the Sierra Madre Oriental lines. It, also, has heavier weathering.


This is an MLW M424 that in real life was acquired by NdeM in the early 1980's. These were the first safety-cab units in México. This locomotive is not mine. It belongs to friend and fellow modeler Xavier Rueda. It is an Overland Models unit. The paint work and subtle weathering is the work of Juan Aguilera, and the decals are from Microscale.


Here is an ALCO RS-1, painted in the classic Arrowhead olive & orange. This is the work of Juan Aguilera, using an Atlas locomotive as the basis and Microscale decals.


Here is an ALCO C-424, painted in the classic Arrowhead olive & orange. This is also the work of Juan Aguilera, using an Atlas locomotive and Microscale decals.


A well-worn ALCO, this RS-3 is another masterpiece by Juan Aguilera. I asked Juan on that occasion to weather the diesel a little bit more than usual to show the locomotive near the end of a long career.


Another well-worn ALCO, this C-420 is the work of Guillermo "Memo" Martínez. The prototype unit is safe and sound at the Museo de los Ferrocarriles de Yucatán and pulls excursion trains every weekend. Memo couldn't modify the tank of the engine--it's structurally hard to grind it. I've decided to overlook the detail, and I've equipped the engine with an Atlas decoder for DCC purposes.


This U36C is from Atlas and is decorated using Microscale decals combined with the talent of my friend and fellow modeler José Luis Durán. It is already equipped with an Atlas DCC decoder.


This GP38-2 is also from Atlas and already equipped with a DCC decoder. It has Microscale decals and is built by my friend and fellow modeler Ernesto Rodríguez.


This is a first-generation EMD F3A diesel in the Águila Azteca paint scheme of classic orange and olive. It is the work of Juan Aguilera using Microscale and Erasvel decals, as well as some other details.


This GP35 was derated to 2,000 horsepower during the 1980's, and it seems to have worked throughout the whole system. It appeared in the Pentrex video Mexican Central Rails and in Trains magazine working in the Sierra Madre in Chihuahua. This model is the craftmanship of Juan Aguilera. Using a Kato unit, he added details like m.u. hoses, firecracker antenna, Preiser figures, and Microscale decals. He slightly weathered the unit to show it as it was in the late 1980's.

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