Athearn ExRPP SD40/SD38!?


Diesel Detail Freak
I know this is late news here, But I just ran across this in my email from like a week ago, They're releasing a RTR SD40 & SD38! Retooled RPP shells... And whats this with AC4400's with the BNSF new image? I thought they were all ES44DC's? Oh well I might have to pick up a Undec SD38 and SD40 (uh oh another SD40-2 rebuild?)
Two weeks ago I purchased a RPP SD38 shell on eBay. I've been wanting to build a McCloud River SD38 or -2 for some time. I wasn't sure if Athearn was ever to do anything with the rest of the RPP shells, so I decided to proceed with the RPP shell.

That night a friend of mine and HUGE McCloud River emailed me the news that Athearn was coming out with a RTR SD38, with McCloud being one of the roadnames!

"Good News" for me is that they are advertising it as "McCloud Railway" and prototype photos on Athearn's web site show the later brown scheme (I want one in the original McCloud River red/white scheme.

But Geez, by the time I'm done with a chassis, handrails, and detail parts, I'd be better off buying an RTR and repainting it!
robjacox said:
But Geez, by the time I'm done with a chassis, handrails, and detail parts, I'd be better off buying an RTR and repainting it!

Just think of how much you'd have to spend to get even a Kato SD40 fuel tank to look like this, let alone the Athearn or RPP chassis:


Even with all these improvements, and more will be made, there's no reason, unless you're just stubborn and motivated (I *still* have a RPP SD45-2 in the works), to carry on with detailing RPP shells of the SD38, SD40 or SD45-2. It's just not worth it from an investment point of view.


Of course, the SD45-2 is a Genesis release, not a retooled RPP:


Looks like it's going to be an expensive year!
Yeah now if they'd tackle more DETAIL changes in RTR models, to match how well they did with the phases of the SD70MAC production. I'm waiting for a BNSF SD45-2 to run with my RPP SD45-2 I'm working on now. I think I'll just do a few of those SD40's to sell on eBay or something. The SD38 will become an SD39 when I get done. I think its nice though cause everything will be togeather, instead of having to buy a PPW chassis/motor to go with the $15 shell... Gotta admit though, completeing the merging of the RPP line into RTR WILL give Athearn a MASSIVE selection of units, thats allways good. That and Tower 55 coming out now, with those ES44DC's and SD70Ace's I'm looking at a second job now!
I think you'll see some more road-specific detailing on the SD45-2, since it's in the Genesis line (notice the early style cut levers - yes! cut levers! finally, pilot details on a Genesis locomotive!). However, you're probably still out of luck for the rest of the RTR line, save for a road-specific horn or two....

I think you're right about Athearn having a massive selection of units. I hope they do a major overhaul to the RPP SD45 shell and plop it on that underframe. I would also like to see them redo the RPP B23-7. A lot of people think the B23-7 is junk, but if you've seen what Clyde King did with his, your mind might be changed....
Josh, you know about the Atlas B23-7 coming out, right?


Of course, if you don't want to wait, you can do this conversion, using a Bachmann Plus B30-7 drive/walkway and a cut-down Atlas C30-7 shell:



The RPP model is okay, too. Here's my in-progress B30-7AB:


So, at least there are some options, but if Athearn did the RPP shell with a nice new underframe, detailed tank/reservoirs, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
Look closer...

The photo you provided does show a four window cab, albeit one that has been plated over. I'm not sure how Atlas has handled this in the past or if they have at all. I have C30-7s with two window cabs (the donor for my B23-7 had two windows) while the four window cab shown here on the B23-7 is from an Atlas ATSF U23B to be high-nosed with a Hi-Tech cab. So, they've made both two and four window versions in the past. The question remains though: will they model the blanked out four window cabs? I would think that if Atlas will offer a factory-painted BNSF version, it will have the windows blanked.
Sounds like a 4 little pieces of thin sheet styrene could go a long ways towards making the Atlas model match the prototype.
Oh I like that cab! *Wonders what the price was of the Atlas model again... and the release date.*
Hi-Tech is the GE equivalent to Cannon & Company's EMD line of parts, although the Hi-Tech line is nowhere near as extensive as the Cannon line. Of course, the Cannon line started out innocently enough with just a cab, too....

However, Atlas shells are a great source for kitbashing material, since they offer the U23B, U33/36C, U30C, C30-7, C40-8, C40-8W, B40-8, B40-8W and C30-7. Of course, the forthcoming B23-7 you know about and I'm guessing you might have heard about the B30-7 they had on display at Cincinnati.

Proto 2000 has released a U28B, Stewart has a couple flavors of the U25B and if you're really determined, you could do some damage to a Rivarossi U25C to get it up to par (that's the plan for my U25C anyway).
Oh you get the emails from Atlas? They're releasing a Dash8-40CW for BNSF in SS & GS this fall. Now I can have 2 on my layout, I think I'll pick up a GS one of them too (I want sound if you can't tell...). Which also of note, Athearn has two more BNSF Dash 9's, I think they picked correctly for H2 this time with the 3 side windows! Might have to buy them, and a Kato unit of two to replace my two old school Athearn units. I need a second job!
Well, Josh, to be perfectly honest, I'm not much of an ultra modern modeler. Which is actually kind of a good thing, considering how much cool stuff is coming out for the here and now modeler (I wouldn't be able to afford trying to keep up).

My interest pretty much ends around the time of the BNSF merger. I concentrate instead on the final days of predecessor paint schemes for two other mergers: UP and NS. This gives me ample opportunity to model MKT, MP, N&W, Southern, as well as NS (though I pretty much avoid UP). Of course, there's plenty of BN, SSW and ATSF models thrown in there for good measure. I just don't get as thrilled with today's rainbow of paint schemes, attractive as some of them are.

Besides, aren't all the cool old GE's either cut into tin cans or sold off to Brazil these days? There's nothing like half a dozen BN C30-7s lugging a coal train. It's just not the same with SD70MACs.
Yeah true true, exact reasoning behind me owning some 50's & 60's era equipment (for the Copper Range)... ;-)
High Tech makes 2 window, 4 window, and 2 open 2 plated window cabs to get exactly what you want. Camas Prairie #4 had two windows on one side and four on the other with two plated over. I don't think Atlas will go there...
RCH said:
Besides, aren't all the cool old GE's either cut into tin cans or sold off to Brazil these days? There's nothing like half a dozen BN C30-7s lugging a coal train. It's just not the same with SD70MACs.

Not all. The Lake Superior & Ishpeming (my favorite railroad) in da UP currently has about 8 or 10 U30C's and 4 C30-7's paired up hauling iron ore trains. Nothing like 6 motor U-boats chugging up the head of an ore train!

And down in troll land the Central Michigan has a bunch of 4-axle A and B unit U-boats/Dash-7's.

Vrooom! er, uh, chug!
LS&I is allways impresive ain't it? I've allways been tempted to make a few of thos U30C's and C30-7's, Well when I was 15, whatchamacallit the hobby shop (forgot the name) in Marquette had a custom painted U30C for LS&I for $109, never bought it though.