GP60 question.....

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by trainsteve2435, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. hello everyone, happy weekend, i just got give to me a brand new in the box Athearn GP60, not the RTR, but the "Blue Box" type. i am going to make it a project model. i plan on useing all Details West and Detail Associates parts to make this into a nice loco. i have pretty much found all the parts i need, but i cant find any nice hand rails for it. does anyone know of a company that makes or sells more proto typical hand rails for this GP60? anyone have any suggestions as in any tricks or techniques? thanks everyone, and have a good week end.:wave:
  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Steve,I would check the Walthers site as there is (was?) a company that did prototypical handrail sets and they were listed in the Walthers HO catalog.

    Sorry I can't be more help but I'm no longer in HO scale :D
  3. 2slim

    2slim Member

    Catt may be thinking of 'Rail Detail', they were making hand rail kits for 'Rail Power Products' which made shells that fit Athearn locomotives. I believe that both companies were aquired by Athearn. Another company 'Smokey Valley Model railroad products' made better quality hand rail kits which were more difficult to assemble. Walthers didn't show much of a listing for them. Precision Scale makes hand rail stanchions, (the upright parts) which are more fine scale. My advice would be to see if you can locate the Smokey Valley kit as it provides the pre-bent rail pieces.


    Steve, a quick search at Caboose Hobbies shows they have the GP-60 kit from Smokey Valley, for about $16.

  4. pdt

    pdt Member

    The Rail Detail Products handrail set won't fit the Athearn GP60 shell because the Athearn GP60 isn't as long as the Rail Power Products GP60. That's because the Athearn model is merely a Phase II GP50 with a GP60 dynamic brake housing (the angled type). The prototypes are different lengths and that is reflected when you place the RPP GP60 next to the Athearn GP60. It's not much, but once you see it it's apparent.

    The RDP handrails are simply copies of the Athearn design, though they are a bit more coarse. So, you wouldn't be improving anything by using them, even if you bent your own side rails to replace the too-long RDP side rails.

    As 2slim mentioned, the Smokey Valley kit is available and it is worth it. You'll get some nice stanchions and pre-bent lengths of brass wire. Of course, I prefer to bend my own rails, but that's just the way I've been doing it for years.

    There were some photos floating around the internet maybe a year ago when DW announced the GP60 detail sets and they looked fantastic. Of course, these were designed for the P2K GP60, so getting some parts to fit may take some work.

    Here's a photo of a GP59 (actually, it's an Athearn GP60 model, but the prototype is a GP59) in NS OLS paint weathered to match the prototype:


    All I did was paint up a factory painted Athearn model and add a few detail parts. As you can see, I need better handrails, too!;)

    Good Luck! Can't wait to see the model!
  5. hey guys, thanks for the information, i looked on the caboose hobbies web page, but i wasnt sure which set i needed. pdt, your NS model looks great, i only hope myne turn out as good, oh, and my GP60(GP59) , is a NS unit as well. thanks again!:wave:
  6. NYC-BKO

    NYC-BKO Member

    After seeing what you did with your WM Geeps, I'm sure it will. Good luck!
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Steve,You *may* want to check the newer plastic handrails by Athearn as well. :D
  8. pdt

    pdt Member

    Larry, they don't have them for the GP50/60 yet, although they do offer the GP60M and GP60B rails. The GP38-2 rails can be adapted to the GP50 Phase I if you're willing to combine end handrails from the SD50 set and the side rails from the GP38-2 set, but the fireman's side rail is different for the GP50 Phase II/GP60 carbody.
  9. pdt

    pdt Member

    Steve, I think the only NS Athearn GP60 that's supposed to represent a GP59 is the OLS 4634. If yours is a 7100 series number it is supposed to be a true GP60. Apart from being too short to be either a GP59 or GP60, the handrails are different along the sides for a GP59 which is another compromise with the Athearn OLS 4634.

    Here's a good shot of 7104:

    And a shot of 7102 (the number of the Athearn GP60 I have):

    Note that the unit now has an air conditioner on the cab roof, which is a fairly recent addition. I like the high hoods so I tend to focus my efforts on the first ten years of NS which excludes details like this. However, I saw a photo of NS 4634 and decided I had to model it with the peeling paint. Here's a similar photo to the one I used to weather it:

    You can see how there's only a total of seven stanchions on the side rails. I never addressed this issue because I figure if I can live with the model being a couple feet short, the handrails are a minor problem.

    Anyway, if you want to "go the distance" modeling any NS units, let me know how I can help.
  10. 2slim

    2slim Member

    Wow! I spaced that off RC, I can remember when Athearn announced the GP60, the owner of Rail Power Products is a local modeller and was going to use the Athearn shell as the basis for the 60M's. After he realized the boo boo Athearn made he just did both the shells correctly from ground zero.

  11. pdt

    pdt Member

    Well, tell him I said thanks for the work he did with RPP, 2slim! I got many miles out of my RPP locomotives. They might be a bit crude by today's standards, but they remain the sole source of a few unusual prototypes. I still have a few models built from those shells and even one Athearn model based on the GP60M shell Dana made. I always appreciated the fact that he updated his C32-8 shell after he'd progressed through a few more models (the doors were originally modeled with raised lines around them and were later changed to be raised from the hood). That spoke volumes to me then and I reap the rewards every time I work on my C39-8 project.
  12. 2slim

    2slim Member

    I always admired the fact that Dana was a modeller first and a manufacturer second. I don't know how true this is but I heard once that he was very close to producing his own line of ready to run locomotives. I heard that the only thing he had left to work out was getting Athearn to supply a steady source of drive train components. I had also heard that the people who now do Athearns painting were the same ones Dana had approached and that is where his painted shells were being produced. I hope Athearn will make an effort to produce most of those engines.
  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think Athearn wiil eventually produce all of the RPP locomotives. They have already produced the Gp60m's & b's, as well as the Cf7. I talked with Tim Geddes at a train show right after they bought RPP, but before they were bought by Horizon. He said all of the wide hood Athearns that RPP had made scale width hoods for would be retired, so look for Gp35s, Sd45's, and all of the other RPP products to be built as Athearn ready to run. It just won't happen all at once.
  14. pdt

    pdt Member

    Agreed with that, Russ. Athearn has already announced the GP35, shown Harry Wong's photo at the Seattle Train Show:

    I would like to see the SD40/38/45 come next, since all use a common frame. Maybe even an updated SD7/9. Athearn's handrails are excellent these days - they are both fine and durable - so based on the advantage you get with that alone over Kato, whose handrails are ridiculously thick, I'm interested in what's next from the Athearn/RPP consolidation. It makes such a difference in the "scale" appearance of the model that I've held off purchasing anything until some of these anticipated models come to market.

    2slim, I can see that. I bought a few decorated RPP shells from the last days of RPP and the quality was decent, but just a few years too late. If you remember, his 8-40B was sold as a shell, shell with chassis or as a complete dummy kit. His last efforts with the 28' pup trailers and 48' OTR trailers were excellent. IIRC, they were among the first RPP kits sold under the Athearn name.

    The late 80s - early 90s was a revolutionary time in raising the bar to the level we're familiar with today in model railroading. I'm confident Dana Stark did his share to raise that bar.
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't think RPP ever did a shell for the gp7/9 or an sd9. To do a scale width hood on either of those units would require Athearn to invest in new tooling, and I don't think they will when Atlas and Lifelike P2K have both come out with those units. If you want a scale width gp7 or 9 on an Athearn frame, or with an Athearn drive, Trains Unlimited out of Denver Colo. bought the old Front Range gp7/9 molds and offers the bodies in kits, the Front Range frame, and also ready to run units. The bodies are available in either undecorated or a number of road names. I bought a bunch of them at a GAT Show a few years ago to build into Santa Fe Zebra's. They come with details that allow you to build dynamic brake or non dynamic units as well as "torpedo tube" air tanks to mount on the roof with steam generator details for the short hood and the tank split for fuel/water. The details are also included to model a freight only unit with the air tanks under the frame. The kits aren't as super detailed as Lifelike P2k, but Lifelike made all of their units identical and just changed paint schemes. With the Trains Unlimited kit you can do a prototype model of vertually any gp7 or 9. He does not have the handrails for the gp7 because the flake that owned Front Range tried to destroy the molds when the bank repossesed them after the bankruptcy. The only mold he was able to destroy was the one for the "pipe" stanchions.
    Both types of stanchions that were used on gp7s & 9s are available in brass.
  16. pdt

    pdt Member

    RPP did a SD7/9 kit, but never did a GP7. Proto's geeps are the standard around my house anyway. IIRC, the RPP SD7/9 kit had the ability to position the two tanks any way you want so that you could build an accurate CB&Q SD9 with the single tank. Pretty neat, considering it's a real pain to mount the motor securely in an Athearn SD9 frame once you've hacked off one of the tanks.

    I remember the Front Range geeps. They were pretty good kits and really set a new standard in their day (pre-RPP). But the Proto series is very nice. You can model just about any variation if you're willing to combine parts from different kits. Of course, it's not all-in-one-stop-shopping like you're talking about with the FRP kits. The one I'm working on now is a real nightmare: GP7 long hood, GP20 cab, cut down GP7 nose, modified GP9 walkway on a GP20 drive. It's a BN rebuild, and it's probably going to cost me as much as it cost BN to build it!

    When I mentioned handrails I was referring specifically to the GP35. I really dislike Kato's handrails, so what Athearn is duplicating in the Kato line is welcome to me, even though it won't ever perform like a Kato. Appearance is worth much more to me than operation at this point, so the current offerings from Athearn win hands down.

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