Non Athearn SD40-2

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by msh, Jan 12, 2003.

  1. msh

    msh Member

    I would really like an HO Norfolk Southern SD40-2 made by someone other than Athearn, but cannot find one anywhere.

    Is there such an animal?
  2. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    I think Kato makes an SD40-2, but their roadname selection is rather scarce, as is their paint schemes (i.e., the only MOPAC unit they do is in the merger yellow/gray, which I refuse to use on my layout even though the merger announcement was ratified by shareholders about two months prior to my layout taking place).
  3. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    There was another one made back in the mid 80s (can't remember the name), but it was a rather poor puller.
  4. DanRaitz

    DanRaitz Member

    Right now there are only three options when it comes to HO SD40-2's.
    Athearn, Kato and Brass
    Athearn is the only plastic one that you can get painted for NS.
    NS diesels are easy to paint (one color: BLACK) and the decals are available. So if you can't find what you want, you are pretty much forced to paint one up yourself.

  5. tomfassett

    tomfassett Member

    Hey Roger, I think I have the unit you are talking about. The manufacturer was GSB Rail and I bought it in 1986. It was the best looking non brass SD40-2 at the time but you are correct about it being a poor puller. The wheels would slip trying to tug 6 50' box cars on a level surface... It is under weight and under powered. The problem stems from the fact that the frame is plastic and all the weight comes from the motor and the lead weights inside the plastic fuel tank. I added a lot more weight using molded lead but that just bogged the motor down.
    Comparing it to a modern day Athearn, I'd say the Athearn has pretty much matched the quality and the hood isn't a scale foot too wide... :D
    I have to agree with Dan--those are the only choices I have seen lately...

    Tom F
  6. msh

    msh Member

    Well then.... I believe that's the end of this.

    I will have to buy an undecorated model from someone, spray it black and stick on some decals - I've never done any of that. Of course, at one time I had never soldered a decoder into a loco either.

    I was hoping for the higher detail and better running of a Kato or an Atlas. I'm not one who enjoys tweaking a brand new loco to make it run well, plus I don't like the wheels Athearn puts on their locos - they seem to be dirt magnets and I can do without that!!!

    Thanks guys.
  7. mykroft

    mykroft Member

    Well, NWSL sells wheel replacement kits for Athearn Loco's, even in Proto87 and code 88 widths (Looks way better than code 110 wheels).

    Norfolk Southern is about ideal for someone new to painting a loco, with a straight black scheme, just add decals.

    You will want to double-check whether the loco you decide on building is high or low nose, as IIRC all the Kato's are low nose, and NS had some high-nose units of that vintage IIRC.
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Bonks,If you want a Kato SD40-2 then you may want to buy a un-dec shell,and try to find a Kato SD40-2..(check E Bay).All you would need to do is paint the shell and add the decals..Simple to do..BTW Kato has the SD40-2 shells for $9.98 on sale.See By going with the un-dec shell it will save you from having to strip the paint off of the unit you buy..You can sell that body.:D
  9. gna

    gna New Member


    You might like the new Athearn SD40-2. It has an improved drive, good plastic handrails, and kadee #5s drop in. It has markings for grab irons, too. Like mykroft says, you can get NWSL wheelsets to improve the running quality. It still has the bonfire in the cab, but you can get one off eBay for around $30.00. I never thought I could detail or paint a locomotive, but I tried it and it's a lot of fun to trick up my diesels.
  10. Railman

    Railman New Member

    Ther new Athearns are much better than before. I did build an SD-80 Norfolk & Southern. It came out real nice with some extra detailing and their new lywheel makes for smooth runner..Try one, you will like it...Railman
  11. BillB

    BillB Guest

    ... assuming you can find an Athearn SD40-2 in the road you want.

    According to the Walthers web site, any roads are currently "Not available" in this loco!

    Anyone heard of when (of if) Athearn will re-issue these good running beasts ???

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