Gatx Sd38-2


Active Member
I have finally got my GATX SD38-2 ready for the paint shop.
It is a modified Athearn SD40-2 with just a few Cannon parts.

First the prototype:
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Dan, you've done some outstanding work. As a N&W modeler, I've got to know, how did you make those triple clasp trucks?

The quality of your work is top notch. I have a few questions for you.

Whose treadplate is that? How did you attach it?
Whose fans did you use?
How do you attach the body to the frame, since you've removed the mounting lugs?
How much work was it to modify the dynamic hatch?
I don't know how much you put into the underside of the locomotive, but clearly you have some piping underneath as well as the Cannon fuel tank kit. Would you mind posting a shot of the underside?

If you aren't committed to the stock Athearn or Smokey Valley handrails, the plastic handrails Athearn offers with their updated SD40-2s (available separately direct from Athearn or Horizon) look great, take a significant amount of abuse, are easily replaceable if you do break them but most important, are a drop-in fit on the older Athearn SD40-2.

I've got a few more SD40-2s (like 7) to do for my ultimate roster, so any insight you can offer would be appreciated.

Here's one that needs those triple clasps (equipped with the Athearn acetal handrails)....

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Dan, that's really a great job you've done on that model. Be sure to post a photo when its painted, Nice work
Cheers Willis
actually, it's probably ex frisco. SP had both headlights and a red light on the nose. if you look closely, you can see the light, while in a wierd SP style housing, is clear, not red ...... frisco used it as a gyralight, while SP only used it as a reverse and emergency brake light.
Thanks for all the positive comments.
There were a few questions and I'll try to answer them.
The triple clasp brakes were done by removing all the brake hardware from the SD40-2 sideframes and then adding the clasp brake hardware from Athearn's switcher Flexicoil sideframes, I can work up a set of drawings to illustrate.
The treadplate is from S&S Hobby (WKW P/N: 643-311)
This treadplate is a very thin sytrene that I glued down with Testors liquid cement.
The rad fans are from Train Station Products
The Dynamic fans are the stock ones with the grills cut out and replace by some cut down Genesis SD70-75 Dynamic grills
I'm using the couplers to hold the body on.
The dynamic brake hatch is a combination of Athearns SD40-2 and GP40-2 hatches. (I have a drawing showing the cuts if you want)
I will be using the Smokey Valley handrail set.

These units were built for the Reserve Mining RR, numbers 1237-1245, in Oct. 1978, Built #'s 786142-1 thru 786142-9. They were purchased from Reserve by GATX and sent on long term lease to BN in Sept 1987

Thanks for the info, Dan. I think I can see how you did the dynamic hatch now that I know what parts are involved. But, I would like to see a drawing for the triple clasps. Andy Harman uses Blomberg B brake shoes and I'm familiar with his method, but if I remember correctly, his models are based on Kato models. I don't know if they would or wouldn't work with Athearn sideframes, but here yours clearly do.

Here is the drawing for the dynamic brake section.
A quick description, On the SD40-2 piece, everything forward of the fan section is removed (Section "A").On the GP40-2 the cuts are more radical, the fan section is removed leaving you with 2 pieces, "B" & "C". You will use about 27" of section "B" and 15" of section "C" combined with section "A" to assemble the SD38-2 dynamic brake section.
Nice sketch, Dan! Thanks for that.

If you could post a detail photo of the truck sideframes, I think I could figure out how to make my own triple clasps now that I know what you used. Thanks again - this is very helpful.
Dan that engine is gorgeous, I wish I could do model work like that. Mine are passable and photograph ok, but are not up to that standard. I enjoy the photos of your modeling so keep em coming please.

Looks awesome, Dan. I love those trucks. Thanks for posting the photos for me, I will definitely save them for a long evening of modifying the N&W SD fleet.
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Sure is a beauty Dan,one little question, the air hoses are they like 4 in a block, or do you have to put them on one at a time? Curious, I'm always looking for the easy out as it would beat drilling and putting them on one at a time, PITA for me :D
Cheers Willis