Help Identifying Black Widows

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carrollnash

New Member
Hello - I'm sorting and selling an inherited train collection and have come across two boxes and I'm looking for help identifying what is inside? Seven trains enclosed, all were still boxed from Lee Yeager Custom Model Services in Sacramento (now deceased). Boxes labeled as Southern Pacific 'Black Widow' SD-9's. How do I identify these further and get an idea of value?? Any help hugely appreciated. Photos attached. Thanks!
 

Attachments

Rico

BN Modeller
Are there any other papers included, maybe from the manufacturer?
My first guess is these are Proto units, can you post photos of the bottom?
I'm sure there's someone here that will know much more than I.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
The fact that they have been custom modified and enhanced suggests they were done and painted from undecorated models. The cab's front door on the sample photo being seperate and apparently hinged to open, may indicate they have brass shells, or have a very high degree of craftsmanship if plastic. Brass shells (bodies) and high class mechanisms, will make them much more valuable and collectible. As Rico has said, the undersides may reveal the makers names, or give clues, because of the type and design of the mechanism.
 

cv_acr

Active Member
Look at the bottom of the fuel tank for any manufacturer's names/marks cast in. These look like Proto2000 units, however the packaging and included parts list shows they've been professionally customized and detailed, and probably custom painted.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Seven trains enclosed, all were still boxed from Lee Yeager Custom Model Services in Sacramento (now deceased). Boxes labeled as Southern Pacific 'Black Widow' SD-9's. How do I identify these further and get an idea of value?
As background information, the term "black widow" is the nick-name of that paint scheme by the Southern Pacific railroad. It is black, and has the spider web silver and orange stripes on the nose, so black widow.

That list of parts are things that have been added to the models before they were custom painted and decaled. Since it looks like a good paint and decal job that will increase the value of the units over their original base price. So you can advertise them as such, "custom detailed, painted, and lettered".

Finding the base value is still the difficult part. Since the units look like they have scale width hoods they are not Athearn Blue Box. This is a good thing. In recent years SD9s have been manufactured in plastic by LifeLike Proto-2000, Walther's Proto, and Broadway Limited. In that case street market base price would vary from $50 to $240 respectively. I believe the former would have something like "lifelike" stamped on the bottom of the wheels.
Do you have any idea how long ago these were sent off to be painted? That would help narrow the field.
Normal Broadway Limited units are equipped with sound. There are three variations Paragon, Paragon II, and Paragon 3 which are current production, but unfortunately they made a non-sound unit called a "BlueLine" in both 2008 and 2011.

If they are made of brass all that is out the window.

Their value will also depend on how "used" they are. I'm guessing not much at all. That will help retain their value. One way to tell this is to look at the wheels and see if there is any rail wear on them. That is, does the whole wheel appear to be the same color, or is there a stripe against the inside wheel flange. Same color across the whole surface = no wear.
 
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
The "Blueline" models had sound, but were produced to run on DC, with the option of aftermarket DCC being added.
Your right. Goes in the category of learn something new every day. I've owned the things for years and never knew that. Of course that is what I get for buying stuff and just leaving it sit in the boxes. In this case though I did buy them for kit-bashing fodder and never really intended to run them.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Your right. Goes in the category of learn something new every day. I've owned the things for years and never knew that. Of course that is what I get for buying stuff and just leaving it sit in the boxes. In this case though I did buy them for kit-bashing fodder and never really intended to run them.
I think they may have been the only ones offering sound with just DC and were quite well priced when I got the ones I had. The sounds weren't particularly good, Terry pointed me to a Youtube vid of the GE C30-7's that demonstrated that. One clubmember remarked that they sounded like vacuum cleaners. The saving grace was that it did react very well to increases in throttle movement to simulate notching.
 




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