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Model Railroading > Improving the Athearn GP40P-2


Date: 10/15/20 17:58
Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: Betsy

I picked up an Athearn Genesis SP GP40P-2 when they first came out.  Straight out of the box, it just didn’t have the right feel.  One issue that I immediately noticed was that the roof line behind the cab had a distinct “bump” behind the cab, where the inertial air filter is located.  While it’s definitely present on SP’s GP38-2s, a close examination of photos the GP40P-2s showed that feature is not present.  The assembly of the radiator/dynamic brake grill sections left a bit to be desired as well.  There was a visible gap at the joint, and the distinctive gap at the rear had a slight zig where the parts didn’t align properly.  So, I put it back in the box, where it sat unseen until earlier this year, and I began thinking it would look nice paired with my SDP45.

I planned to keep as many of the stock Athearn parts as possible.  I carefully pried off the inertial cover and intake grills, and used my mill and a file to remove the raised section.  After that, the inertial intake grills proved too tall.  I pondered various fixes, including slightly shortening the traction motor blower cover, but then decided to try a pair of Cannon grills.  They fit perfectly.  I cleaned up the joints on the radiator fairing, and re-glued those parts on, carefully smoothing the joints.  I’m not a fan of the fans on this generation of Genesis models.  The fans are molded flush with the roof, which makes looking at them like looking down a well.  The upper rings are also slightly smaller than the base, which isn’t correct for any fans I’ve seen on Dash-2 units.  In addition, the dynamic brake fan sits tall, with what would be the base sitting above the roof line.  So I carefully removed all the fans and replaced them with Cannon parts. 

I added frame rails, traction motor cables, and other details to the under frame.  The Globe valves are from Cal-Scale.  The filler caps on the water tank filler pipes are horizontal, I bent them so they angled upward per the prototype, and made the brackets where they are attached to the under frame.  The pilot beam is missing the distinctive gussets, so made some from styrene, in addition to the scale-sized draft gear.  Etched steps are Cannon, the handrail stanchions are PIA/PSC.  I made some modifications to the plow brackets so that it more closely matched the prototype.  These were fairly new for my modeling era, so it’s very lightly weathered (particularly after doing that U25B), which, for me at least, is actually more difficult.  After I fix the droopy rear coupler, it makes for distinctive weekend freight power with the SDP.

Elizabeth

Photo 1 - the original Athearn roof line
Photo 2 - Prototype photo, courtesy Brian Rutherford
Photo 3 - the modified Athearn roof
 








Date: 10/15/20 17:59
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: Betsy

Photos of the ready-to paint model








Date: 10/15/20 18:00
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: Betsy

More...








Date: 10/15/20 18:02
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: Betsy

And finally, the painted model








Date: 10/15/20 18:03
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: Betsy

Final set, including a comparison the rear of the GP40P-2/SDP45








Date: 10/15/20 18:21
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: rnb3

Another grand slam Liz! Crisp craftsmanship and thoughtful attention to detail. Well done...again!

Rick Bacon
Windsor, CO



Date: 10/15/20 18:22
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: King_Coal

Very nice modeling. I like what you've done on the roof to get that light exhaust look.



Date: 10/15/20 19:31
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: SPboy

Besty... Exellent work! Maybe Athearn should hire you but they don't deserve you!

Rob



Date: 10/15/20 20:08
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: Betsy

SPboy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Besty... Exellent work! Maybe Athearn should hire
> you but they don't deserve you!

Well, I think Athearn does a great job overall.  It's pretty amazing that they made such a nice model of a rare prototype.  I've seen a lot of straight-out-of-the-box Athearn models beautifully weathered, and they appear as amazing models.  If I'd just shown photos of the finished model, most people wouldn't have noticed the changes I made.  I enjoy working on models and tinkering with them, and it's nice not to have to start from scratch.  Overall, I've close to 20 finished locomotives, and all but two (the U25B and a Scale Trains SD40-2) have Athearn drives or at least motors, and I've many, many more in the works.  They're doing fine without my interference, And while I don't model mordern locomotives, when I look at the most recent GEs from Athearn and Scale Trains, I don't think I'd have to change a thing. 

And I already have a job...

Elizabeth



Date: 10/15/20 22:31
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: mcdeo

Amazing work, thank you for sharing and detailing the process. Two questions:
- So you started with a painted model, striped it, detailed it, then painted it?
- On the nose wings, do you use decals or just tape them off to paint? 

Thank you for any additional information. 

Mike ONeill
Parker, CO
Colorado Photos



Date: 10/16/20 03:24
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: SeaboardMan

If I could do work half as well as you I'd be a happy camper.  That being said is that SDP45 sitting a bit high?  That would bother me.  And that is not criticism.
john



Date: 10/16/20 15:33
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: Betsy

SeaboardMan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If I could do work half as well as you I'd be a
> happy camper.  That being said is that SDP45
> sitting a bit high?  That would bother me.  And
> that is not criticism.

The SDP height is correct.  The deck height on geeps is a little lower than on comparable SDs, though the difference isn't an pronounced as the difference between the B-B and C-C locos of GE's universal series. So kudos to Athearn for getting that correct.  The droopy coupler does make it look worse though.

I usually strip the paint of locomotives if I can't get undecorated models, as I find all manufacturers apply it too thick for my tastes in order to meet the demand of mass production.  The paint is usually too dark for me anyway, I always "prefade" any color on models I paint.

Elizabeth

 



Date: 10/16/20 16:06
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: atsf121

If anyone could improve a model Liz, it would be you! Amazing work, the finished product sure has that SP look I remember growing up.

Nathan

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/16/20 19:25
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: sp8192

Excellent stuff!  I'm currently working on SP 7600 around the 1995 ERA in speed lettering....will post pics in the next few weeks. 



Date: 10/21/20 15:21
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: Matt_Gidley

Superb!  Love the work and the lighter grey color. 
 



Date: 10/21/20 15:21
Re: Improving the Athearn GP40P-2
Author: Matt_Gidley

Can;t wit to see your project. I have the same one on the docket...

:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Excellent stuff!  I'm currently working on SP
> 7600 around the 1995 ERA in speed
> lettering....will post pics in the next few
> weeks. 



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