Question on Athearn HO GP38-2 trucks

JonEMDfan Oct 28, 2020

  1. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting. Does it have a texture or anything? I wouldn't think Athearn paint is lacquer-like; usually lacquer doesn't come off in isopropyl. That leads me to believe this is original Athearn paint, not a custom job. I am no means an Athearn Expert, though. However, this happened to me once before on a different model. It was on a Branchline car. The body color came off with isopropyl, but the striping didn't. I think the stripes were pad-printed, but I used acetone to get it off. There was a faint line where they used to be, but it was not noticeable after I repainted the car.
     
  2. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    I can't feel any lumps or bumps where that crazing is. May be in the plastic? I shot a coat of Tamiya surface primer on the cab and no defects show. I guess I will get some acetone and remove the stripes then prime the body, mask and paint the different colors. I don't want build up so I will mask for each color. When I now run my finger over the body where that crazing is I feel no texture on the surface. I have a brother who for years was a mold maker at an injection mold company, use to mill and polish molds, I'll see what he thinks.He's also a model train addict, use to be heavy into HO, now he has a branch line, G scale, running around outside his house.-John
    GP38-2 11.JPG
     
  3. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    It should be fine then. It may have just been some surface discoloration; it looks fine with primer. Be very careful with the acetone though, it can melt the plastic. I used nail polish to fix my model, which isn't pure acetone, but more 'industrial' solutions at higher concentrations are more likely to cause damage.
     
  4. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Your paint and decal work looks fantastic!
     
  5. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, how easy is it to add a dynamic brake unit. I see an Athearn GP40-2 for a good price without dynamic brake unit and I have seen Athearn brake units alone for sale. Do they pop out and in easy? -John
     
  6. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    I think so. If it is a separate part, they should just pop out from the inside. Bachmann, Atlas, most EMD models are like that. I don't have any Athearn shells to look at right now, so I can't say for sure. It looks like yours has a seam around the part, so I would venture to say it is removable.
     
  7. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    The Athearn dynamic brake parts are easy to replace. The GP38-2, GP40-2 and GP50 shells have an area underneath the dynamic hatch where additional weight was placed. There is a hole underneath you could press the weight from the inside to help push out the dynamic hatch if it gives you trouble. The hatch itself is secured with a tab at each end of the hatch locking underneath the edge of the hood.
     
  8. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks rch, I just pressed one tab and it released and popped right out. I can now work on another CSX train while I try to figure out how to remove the pad printing on this one I just stripped.-John
     
  9. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    I had no luck removing the pad printing with nail polish remover so I wet sanded it off. I went from 150 grit to 1000 grit in 7 grades increasing to finest. I removed the dynamic brake unit band made a hole for the horn and filled the hole in the cab roof. I also modified the 2 exhausts stacks on the dynamic brake as mine shows 2 openings but no stacks. I washed it then dried it with a hair dryer on low heat setting, then primed it with Tamiya surface primer and gave the cab another coat of primer. So far it looks presentable, I will mask for each color as to prevent excess paint build up.-John
    GP38-2 12.JPG GP38-2 13.JPG
     
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  10. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Jon,

    One thing I'd recommend when stripping shells with alcohol is keeping the vessel airtight. Alcohol wants to absorb water from any source it can including the air. That will dilute the alcohol and pretty soon your 91% alcohol isn't that strong anymore.

    If I can fit what I'm stripping into a gallon size ziploc freezer bag, then that's what I use. Some things are just too big, like 86' boxcars and passenger car bodies, but most diesel shells fit just fine. I'm able to recover the majority of the alcohol after the bath and reuse it a couple more times.

    If you're modeling CSXT 2704, there are some differences between the Athearn shell and the prototype. I see you modified the exhaust stacks so I'm guessing at least some of the details matter to you. The big thing that jumps out to me is the radiator intake grilles. The Athearn shell has the early wire grilles and the prototype has the late corrugated grilles (Cannon & Company part no. 1401).

    Another big difference is the radiator fans, which are Q fans on the prototype but standard fans on the model. Beginning with prototypes built in 1980 the radiator fans were the quiet "Q" style which are slightly domed and feature a conduit to the fan motor hub. Detail Associates 2006 probably represents this part in HO scale as well as anything and it's what I'd recommend if you can find it. If you decide to replace the fans and can't save the hatch you can either fabricate a new one from 0.005" styrene sheet and impress the rivets from the bottom side or you can use a Plano etched part (number 188 works for this prototype).

    The air filter box is the angled style rather than the boxy style on the Athearn dynamic hatch. That's easy enough to modify by sanding or cutting the air filter box and using styrene strip to build up the angled faces. If you don't mind hunting, some versions of the Atlas Trainman GP38-2 come with this type of dynamic hatch with the correct air filter box. I wish I could tell you the part number but I can't find it.

    Cannon no. 1204 will get you the mailslot battery box doors, but those are intended to be used with the Cannon subbase, though with some work you could adapt the Cannon parts to the Athearn shell. Or use photos to cut the opening into the battery box doors. Or even use decals to represent the mailslot opening, such as those on Microscale 87-400 Chessie System Hood Units.

    It's been a long time since I worked with an Athearn GP38-2, so I can't remember if it has an 81" or 88" nose. The prototype has an 88" nose with toilet hatch. If you're happy with the nose it's easy to add the toilet hatch, Cannon part no. 1102. If you want to replace the nose look no further than Cannon no. 1104 for the 88" nose (1103 if you do another project that requires an 81" nose).

    One last thing: the fuel tank. The typical frame that comes with the Athearn GP38-2 has the small fuel tank. Of course the prototype has a large fuel tank, equivalent to what you'd find on the Athearn GP40-2, GP50 or GP60 frame. You have some options when it comes to building up the fuel tank, but the easiest is to simply swap out the frame with an Athearn GP40-2, GP50 or GP60 frame. Keep in mind that the Athearn GP60 shares the GP50 frame and is therefore not the correct length for the prototype GP60 but it would work for this project. If you want to use another manufacturer's GP60 frame for this project, such as Life-Like Proto2000 or Fox Valley model, it will be too long and won't fit under the Athearn GP38-2 shell. I didn't see a photo of the frame in this thread, so you may already have the fuel tank problem solved.

    I hope I didn't go too crazy here. I love upgrading those Athearn models and have been at it for a few years. I'm sure whatever you do with this model it will look great when it's done. That B&M paint job is killer and if that's a preview of what to expect then I can't wait to see how this one turns out.
     
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  11. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    The lid was on tight and "burpped" at all times.John
     
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  12. Martin Station

    Martin Station TrainBoard Member

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    Jon,
    Really like that B&M gp7. I also like using Tamiya spray or what some call "rattle" cans, they seem to have a finer spray from the nozzel than other brands. I really like their fine primers also. I think they come in white, grey and red. I have used these mostly for detail parts and have used AS-8 US Navy blue to match CSX blue for the toilet hatch and horns and it's so close a match I don't think I could have gotten closer. By using the Tamiya Color for Aircraft, it's already a matte finish.
    Ralph
     
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  13. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, the B&M is actually suppose to be a GP9 but the critics say it represents a GP7 better but I used it as is. I can live with it, no rivet counter here although I try to get the "looks" at least eyeball close. I have a GP38-2 and a GP40-2 both CSX which I am using Tamiya TS-15 for the blue color.. I have been building model aircraft, tanks, ships and cars since 1963 and Tamiya's lacquer rattle can paints, TS and AS are 100% better than the old Testors MM brand. It went on too thick and took for ever to dry.-John
     
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  14. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Jon, looking good! I agree, the Tamiya paint is way better then anything Testors could ever hope to come up with. I use the Tru-Color B&M for my "modern" pre-Guilford era and mix my own for the older units, but that Tamiya blue looks good for the newer B&M blue. Nice work!
     
  15. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, my version for CSX blue, yellow next and last! Then gloss cote and decals. All masks not off yet. -John
    GP38-2 17.JPG
     
  16. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    BTW who sells after market bells and ditch lights? - John
     
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  17. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    Details West has a good selection of EMD parts. There are a few eBay storefronts I like to order from that have a good selection, and of course some hobby shops stock detail parts too.
     
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  18. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks! That site has everything I need....bell...ditch lights....snow plows....and more. - John
     
  19. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    I need to do the yellow end on the body then the rails. I am practicing my methods for rails painting with my newly acquired set of Athearn GP9 rails for my B&M unit. I painted the rails standing in their proper position embedded in clay to hold them up. The stanchions were first painted in a clay "log" then I decided to make slits in a paper straw. That worked better.-John
    GP9 16.JPG
    GP9 17.JPG
    GP9 18.JPG
     
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  20. JonEMDfan

    JonEMDfan TrainBoard Member

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    The B&M GP9 is complete. Starting on my Conrail F7A- John
    GP9 1.JPG
    GP9 3.JPG
    GP9 6.JPG
    GP9 7.JPG
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
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