Life Like GP-9 Chop Nose

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Agatheron, Nov 25, 2003.

  1. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Hi All,

    I just opened up a magazine to find that Pacific Western Rail Systems is offering both CP and CN Chop-Nose GP-9's as an exclusive to Canada made by Life Like. They're expensive, being listed at $158.95 each (these days, about $120 US). I've been looking to include a GP-9 or two on my upcoming layout as a switcher. I really have 2 questions.

    1. Are Life-Like locomotives any good?
    2. How easy is it for these to be upgraded to DCC?
    3. Is this worth investigating?
  2. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    The new Life-Like locomotives are EXCELLENT. Comparable in detail and quality to Atlas and Kato IMO.

    Life-Like is notorious for being DCC-UNfriendly, though I hear this is changing with new releases...

    Most definitely. Besides, is that MSRP? You will likely find it for a reasonable price if you look around.
  3. storm

    storm Member

    they r out here in canada for 159 most places hae them on sale fro 129 or 139. life like is a good loco but i think it is over priced. if it will about 100 then it woudl be work it
  4. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    I'm trying to find the less expensive price on these ones... So far I'm still finding the ~$159 CDN price on them. Granted, they're a limited edition release only 216 of each road number... so the price is what it is...
  5. Bnsftrainnut

    Bnsftrainnut Member

    I got my two CN's they work great !! very happy with the proformance with them. They are a hard locomotive too track down just some shops in canada have them from what i have been told
  6. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    One of those shops happens to be where you are... I'm curious as to how they work with DCC?
  7. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    My order of them arrived at the store on Monday and I have test run several. All run great. They are smooth running and fairly quiet.
    I have had a look inside and it looks like a hard wire job if you wish to convert one for DCC.
    Detail on the units is good and they closely resemble their railway prototypes.

  8. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Hrm... Terry, is there any room for a small decoder inside there? I think that's what's holding me back. I may simply wait for the Atlas ones to come out, get an undecorated GP9 with a decoder already installed, and try to detail it to match the photos of some of the local GP9's that are used as switchers around here...
  9. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    If you want to take a chance, you could wait for a little while and try to get a deal on them... if there are any left unsold with a mfg or distributor. This has paid off a few times for me personally. Of course, if there are any left. I think I'm gonna sit this one out, at least for the time being. $160 is too much to pay for a Kato IMHO, let alone a LL.

  10. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    It's admittedly tempting. I was watching CN4129 (GP9RM) doing the switching thing at a local railyard here in London. It was in process of building trains... if I wasn't due in Brantford tonight, I'd be still there watching things in action... It also gives ideas for layout as well ;)

    What's holding me back, aside from the price, is the issue around DCC compatibility. It's been a little while since I've done electronic soldering and the like, but after a wee bit of practice I think I'm up for it. It depends on how tight things are inside either the Atlas or Life Like locos...
  11. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    Well, I'm a big fat liar. I happened upon these Life Like units at the train store so I asked to the one run. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful runners. Look good too... except on the CP the dynamic brakes aren't blanked-out. I know, I know, nit-picking sob, but for what they're asking you'd think they'd get that right! I haven't had a chance yet to look'em over all that much, but I'm sure I'll find more inaccurate details. I just think that when they say they're accurate models of the Canadian prototype, they'd actually be accurate.

    That said, the reason why I'm a big fat liar is that an earlier post I stated I'd sit this one out. Well, the thing is, I walked out of the store with a fleet of these units. Hey, they're not perfect, but they run like a dream and are quiet (on the test track at the store at least), and being a CDN modeler, how could I pass on these. If you're on the fence about these units, I'd grab a few, they're worth it IMHO (but not at $CDN 160). Like the stuff Kaslo Shops puts out, I think we should support the guys out there doing the CDN stuff that, let's be honest, we've be saying for years "if someone made these in N..." You know how that sentence ends!

    Agatheron, I'll open one up tonight or tommorrow to see what kinda room is available inside.

  12. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Great Mike, thanks! I have a couple of these that I am eyeing, both through an online purchase, and the LHS. The LHS is actually offering them for $142 CDN, which is still about $15-30 more than another place I've found online...

    Hrm... decisions decisions...
  13. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    I've noted an annoying problem with the CDN GP9s. There is a rather unsettling grinding noise comming from them. It is affecting all my units, not just one or two. Have traced it to the worm-gears being out of alignment. Made a slight adjustment to one of the units and it seems to have solved the problem. Will be monitoring it for improvement. Not impressed.

  14. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    Agatheron, if you buy the GP9's online from a US retailer remember you have to pay S&H and Duty. May not be cheaper.

    An observation. Two of the numbers of the CP GP9u's are 1500 & 1502... which are infact GP7u's, not GP9u's. Go figure.

  15. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Interesting on both the gear issue and the road numbers. I've double checked the CN ones against my Canadian Trackside Guide, and they're all kosher, right down to the paint scheme (I think).

    Since I'm pretty new at this, I've not yet learned about locomotive maintenance.

    As for the Shipping & Handling and everything else, it may be better that I go with the LHS... We'll see...

    Keep me posted... :)
  16. Lenny53

    Lenny53 New Member

    The 8200 class of chop noses on CP still have their dynamic breaks as they are road swithers, the 1500 class had them blanked out. Unfortuantely, the LL units with the large multi-mark and supposedly "narrow stripping" have an horendous stripping job. All of the other CP and CN paint schemes are excellent with the CN unit actually having the gaskets painted on the cab face.
  17. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    The molded on brake wheel at the rear is pretty lame. I would have preferred if had they left it out all together. The paint job is excellent on my units... I didn't get the one with the big multimark. The CN prototypes I've shot myself don't have dynamic brakes... and will require notching out the intake grilles and replacing with air filters (if your so inclined... it's N, it's tiny, and I can live with it, for now). Some CN prototypes do and others don't have drum type spark arrestors, so you'd have to check photo of the prototypes to see if they are so equipped (I have no shots of the stock Life-Like numbers).

    If you were to model a CP 8200 series, again you'd have to find a shot of the prototype regarding the class lights. I shot CP 8215 in November 2000 and the class lights (above the # boards) have been removed. I can clearly see blanking covers where the lights used to be in my slide. The unit was in reasonably fresh paint for CP (the C:p on the nose interim paint scheme before the Gilded Rat), about 5 years old and my guess is the class light were removed during shopping. The Life-Like units lack the class lights, so depending on your layout date and unit number, the stock units may be accurate.

    Most of these things can be ignored. The units have the right "feel" of the prototype, largely due to the cabs, so close enough is good enough for me. Now, who out there thinks Life-Like should do an accurate (number boards, flexi-coils, fuel tank, handrails) SW1200RS? Why not a GMD1 (and sorry, a 4-axle CN 1400 series please).

  18. Lenny53

    Lenny53 New Member

    Athabasca Scale Models Ltd make a great set of full hand rails for the SW1200. Loved to see flexicoil trucks, I've been thinking about bashing a "SWeep"
  19. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    Oh yeah, definitely need a SWeep. I've got a few Athabasca handrail kits, but I'd rather see a complete SW1200RS out of the box... I'm lazy, very lazy.

  20. Lenny53

    Lenny53 New Member

    I think a sweep would allow for a 'Z' decoder and maybe a little more weight and you would not have to touch the exisitng frame.

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