Athearn Genesis Sd70m

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by NSSD80MAC, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. NSSD80MAC

    NSSD80MAC Member

    I have recently purchased two Athearn Genesis sd70m wearing the EMD Demo Scheme. I got as far as detailing the side frames, and already having some issues with these models. For one, they (Athearn) fail to provide for spare parts unlike their competitors like Kato's for an example. Secondly, calling Athearn or Horizon hobbies have been no help in getting extra detailing parts. Thirdly, the detailing parts are so flimsy, things like the Bracket that subsitute the vertical shocks mounted on the side of the truck sideframe, they break on contact with any thing! While I gripe about this, I would like to know where I may get better details that will not only look better, but not break as easily!
    any sugguestions??

    All those happy memories I do remember about athearns.... when I was younger I had a few Athearn and they were fun, and would pull some 20 cars on a 4'x8' layout with out complaint. They really could take abuse (as well as my painting skills that abused the original paint scheme) very well, ashamed to say I've derailed them and watched them plunge some 4 ft below layout. Only with minor damages like bent hand railings, broken couplers, or the side frames would pop out of their spots on the locomotive power chassis. I've grown alot since those rigid athearns with less compelling details, grown to know and love those dang expensive Katos. I did purchase an sd75m once before, it was prebuilt, it was a real beauty, but then there was some tracking issues, specially with switches. After countless hours of studying the issue, I decided to sell it. But now I'm having second thoughts on the purchase of any future model from athearn. Any one experience the same sorta delimas as I am?

  2. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I have two Athearn SD70M's myself. Mine came in Genesis Ready-To-Roll, so I didn't have to worry about small detail parts. They are smooth runners and quite powerful. I haven't had any problems and they've been on my roster for over two years now.
    I also purchased a Kato C44-9W. I'm not impressed. Noisy, not very powerful, and I lost enough of the small detail parts into "the detail part void", that finally gave up on them.
    If you want to add the parts, check with Details West. They usually have special "super" detailing kits for the Athearn locos. Detail Asscosiates also carries a fine collection of detailing parts.
  3. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Athearn has almost always been 50/50 with me.

    For one, I purchased a Dash 8-32BHW in Amtrak "Pepsi" to haul my American Orient Express. I love it. The details were already on (except, for example, the sun shades for the cab which I just tossed into the detail bin), and it's a beautiful runner. It was equipped with their "Dual Decoder", and RTR. Quite the eye catcher.

    On the other hand, I bought an Athearn F7 new Warbonnet in "blue box" with a decoder. I've ended up having to rewire the locomotive to get what I needed, and the fact that windshields were not included has been bugging the heck out of me! I'm finding it difficult to track down the detail package...

    So, Athearns are okay, I guess. Locomotive-wise. Rolling stock-wise, I love them. I can't be of that much help beyond what I've said, as my fleet isn't that large, so I only have a few athearn products. My Bachmann 2-8-0 and Steward SW1 are a whole 'nother story... :thumb: (Probably 2 of the best THINGS I've ever bought!)

    Hope I was of some help. :D
  4. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    About a week ago, I bought a Athern SD70M. Tried it out on their test track and it ran bautiful. When I got home I put it on the layout and ran it with the idea of breaking it in. After about 10 minutes it suddenly stopped. Thinking "dirty track" I nudged it. Nothing. I picked it up and set it down on another part of the track. Nothing. Nudged it again. Nothing. Got out my meter and checked for voltage across the tracks. 8 volts I cranked the transformer up to 10 volts. Nothing. The next day I had to go to Sacramento and took the engine with me. I handed it to the sales clerk and he set it on the test track. Nothing. He said that once in a while this will happen and went to the desplay case and took out another one justbike it. He put it on the test track and it ran beautiful. It has been running beautiful on my layout ever since. I ran it about 2 hours each day forward and backward it just kept plugging along. Added 10 cars to it and it pulled them up a 2.5 degree rise with no problems.
    What surprised me was he handed the second one to me with a smile.

    I forgot to mention, I am in N Scale
  5. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    you could just order the parts form Horizon. its just like walthers, only not as big. i haven't ordered anythign from them though, so i wouldn't know how they do business. i was gonna order some powering parts for my SW1001 switcher. they seem to have alot fo the parts you may need (includeing F-7 window inserts:thumb: ) for a few bucks.

    i have a Athearn Genisis SD75M that seems fine to me. anything that broke was entirely my fault.

    also, Genisis is getting to the point whereyou trade hightly detailed for less durability. as long as there is limited handling ( and hopefully few derailments!) your details should stay on. i will say that the hand rails stink, but thats it.
  6. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Parts for Athearn have to be ordered from Athearn direct, Horizon doesn't deal in parts for Athearn. I've never had any problem with Athearn either in product quality, or parts support. Had one customer here who contacted Athearn for "upgrade" handrails for two locos, Athearn sent them, no charge.
  7. NSSD80MAC

    NSSD80MAC Member

    I appreciate all of the inputs, I just am not so sure of athearn yet until I get them on tracks, to see how well they preform. I suppose everyone has their own opinions in which they are entittled too. I personally like Kato because even if I handle them they don't have details that break right off, instead they are forgiving to human fingers.

    I have over the years chosen kato to be my number one 6 axle locomotive carriers, whilest my 4 axle goes to atlas. I now a massed fleet of 8 kato locomotives and 2 athearn genesis, along with 2 older fp45's (which some day I will remotor and super detail them), and last but not least 4 atlas GP's. (did I mention a power chassis from a proto2000 sd60!?) Each of which are equiped with Decoders ranging from NCE, Atlas Dual mode, and Digitrax.

    Most of my locomotives get the best of everything, at least thats how I keep them in shape for those long club show runs. My whole point of having the locomotives is to have a nice fleet that dependable by cleaning, oiling them on regular basis. Everytime I use them they get their wheels cleaned, and freed of any debris! Perhaps if I knew how to I would set up a poll to see the general opinion/perfence of the model locomotive manufacturers, or to see the results of one thats already polled.

    Keep up with more inputs I would like to know more! The more that I know the better!

    Thanks, Dan:D
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Dan,i What parts are you looking for? IF the parts would fit you could use the truck detail part bag from a Kato SD70MAC.$2.50

    If you will look closely you will see that engines from Athearn,Atlas,Kato and Life Like-well Walthers now, has very fragile details.I find the newer scale spaghetti thin handrails will break if one sneezes to hard..So,its not only Athearn these days.. :(
    I have 2 Genesis NS SD70s with the Spartan cab..Both units run like a swiss watch..
    Athearn's RTR line has a new drive shaft called a hex drive which makes the newer Athearn RTR and Blue Box engines on par with Atlas and P2K..The next releases of the Athearn GP38-2/40-2 will have the grab irons installed.Something Atlas Trainman Series GP38-2 will not have.

    Another thing to remember is a lot of Athearn locomotive drive parts is interchangeable.

    A side note..I almost didn't get my NS SD70 units because of the well-simply put Athearn beaters was saying how bad these engines was about derailing because of warp trucks and one so boldly proclaim that thousands of these models was shipped back to Athearn.When ask how he knew this he accused another forum member of "flaming"him...Then they started showing up at the club and I stood in awl as these"junkers" made trouble free trip after trip across the club's 1,253 foot point to point main line...
  9. NSSD80MAC

    NSSD80MAC Member

    Yea, I don't want to brand Athearn a bad apples, just I do like to find better details for them. No kato doesn't have the SD70M, there are several version of these. The SD70, SD70M, and SD70MAC. Between the two (kato SD70mac, and Athearn sd70m) there are differences as well as similarities. One of the differences just happen to be the truck side frames. I have two of each of them. The kato are awesome, only wished that they had more realistic dish light details. BUT like one said in another thread message, They only produce a model and use that for all paint schemes with some variations like head light positions and minor details that don't require the company to "go out of their way" on expectations/goals established of the models they plan to offer.

    As for detailing parts, I've contacted a local hobby shop to see if they can help me get the parts. And with better luck I just may, because the shop owner just happens to be a new friend of mine. Hopfully I'll get them and just have to be more careful with them. (perhaps take brakie's advice, and not sneeze!) I've been in this situation before and Kato took care of it for me. free of charge. I even called them to replace the frame of my sd90mac, they replace the whole chassis with new motor/gearbox/chassis the whole nine yards!

    Ya know I was thinking about a designs for a layout, perhaps I should just design a small (modular??) layout just containing 2-3 mainlines and the rest a diesel service/repair shops since I have this huge fleet of locomotives and no freight cars. (I barrow the clubs members cars while on shows) Just so that I don't have to bring a suitcase or two of trains. :D any thoughts on that?

  10. NSSD80MAC

    NSSD80MAC Member

    ok, I have finally found some time to draw the detail part I'm looking for along with picture that show it on a UP SD70M truck Sideframe. the part itself is drawn on thel ower left corner and looks like that. I've taken the liberty to draw front, and side profile of that part. let me know if there's a replacement kit from detail west or any other manufacturers.

    If I am wrong about the previous post, in part of the models (SD70, SD70M, SD70MAC) let me know, I'm ready to learn more about them.



    Attached Files:

  11. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Dan,Sadly I looked up some Athearn parts on the Horizon web page and didn't find the part you need nor could I find it on the Athearn web page. :( Maybe your dealer will have better luck then I did.If Athearn doesn't have the part then perhaps Detail West or Detail Associates may have the part you seek.That does look tiny and very fragile.
    As far as cars I see no reason why another member won't let you use 'em..The club I am a member of we have over 1600 freight cars and around 170 passenger cars on the layout that is in "pool" service.What that means you freight cars can be classified in any train..Even the passenger trains need to be switched so they can make round trips across the layout.BTW..Locomotives are in pool service as well.Any member or invited guest engineer(with a member as a pilot engineer) can operate these engines across the layout.There is roughly 250-275 engines on the layout. Needless to say all of these engines and cars stay on the layout.
  12. NSSD80MAC

    NSSD80MAC Member

    I found out that there's a long list of back orders for this picticular detail kit. Sucks! but It'll have to do for the time being...
  13. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    There's really very little detail differences between the the SD70 models. The SD70 Larry mentioned, with the spartan(standard EMD) cabs, were only ordered by NS and Conrail. The SD70M has the wide, North American or "comfort" cab, hence the "M" in the designation.SD70MAC is the AC drive version with the North American cab. There is a small grill under the dynamic brake grill(Behind the cab) and another under the radiator grill. These are used for cooling the AC rectifiers, one for each truck. Also, the SD70M and MAC's have the radial steering trucks where as the SD70 has EMD's HT-C trucks.
    Hope that helps.
  14. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Picture worth a thousand words.
    This is the front(Or back on NS).
    Didn't have a rear pic of one of my locos.

    Attached Files:

  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Ed,Watch it my friend those NS fans will get ya for saying that..
    The former CR units operate short hood as front as does NS wide cabs..

    Notice the F on the front of this unit.

    Its hard keeping up with todays railroads due to the ever changing picture through mergers and newer engines. :eek:
  16. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Thanks Larry fro the clarifacation.
    Now if you excuse me........
    Open mouth.....Insert foot.
  17. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving! sells athearn parts, but they are somewhat limited. still a large amount of stuff though.
  18. NSSD80MAC

    NSSD80MAC Member

    hobby shop ordered the parts, sadly they are back ordered!!! to no surprise for me, as I'm sure many had had the same problems as I did. I think Athearn should reall 'rethink' about what they supply in their complete kit! (Spare parts are helpful you know.) If there is any one that works with athearn please take note of this and share the public insight with the team.
  19. Canopus

    Canopus Member

    Lol, it's a safety cab, which way did you expect it to run? Those NS people might be concerned about safety but they're not THAT concerned. :p

    For the record, I've noticed that they tend to ignore the "long hood forward" rule anyway, and just run their lead units short hood forward. Their high hood U23bs and B23-7s always seem to run short hood forward, both in lead or as a single loco pulling a local freight.

    The main reason I dragged this thread back up is because it hits a chord with me on something that really annoys me. Detail parts. Pretty much every curse word in the book, as well as all the strength and dexterity you can muster, and they still won't go in. They break and get lost very easily, and some of them are so tiny that you can't even figure out where they're supposed to go, not even by studying the prototype photos and comparing them with your model! I frequently ask myself; what is the point?

    So I now have a rule; if I can't see the part on the prototype and the model looks fine without it, then the part doesn't go on.

    Handrails are fine, grab irons are fine, aftermarket details are great fun, as well as any other essential and obvious details, it's just those fiddly little parts that the manufacturer is too lazy to attach themselves, that are never self explanatory as to where they actually belong. That and indecipherable instructions, which renders many detail parts useless simply by not demonstrating clearly where they are supposed to go.

    Another annoying thing is models with lots of similarly sized holes for slotting on detail parts, but not enough detail parts supplied with the model to fit all the holes. Not through any fault of the manufacturer, all the details are present and accounted for. But nooooo, even though you've added all the details already there's STILL some holes left over, so you're thinking "hang on a minute, what if I've got them in the wrong place?", and all of a sudden your model turns into an elaborate "mr potato head".

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