Monday, September 16, 2019

Rock Island GP9 #4424

After way too many years I finally got around to pulling this project off the shelf to finish it.  N scale has always been lacking in low nosed or chopped nosed GP7's & 9's, luckily Rock Island only had two on their roster.  GP7 #1275 and GP9 #1321.  As far as I know only the 1275 made it through the Capital Rebuilding Program and came out designated as a GP9(r)  #4424 wearing the new Blue & White scheme in December of 1976. 

Rock Island #4424 and #1351 are in charge of the NB local as they throttle up
through Haskell, AR. on a hot, muggy July morning.

I did some horse trading with a friend who needed some N scale locos and I need a little kitbashing done in the form of a chopped nosed GP7, the trade was agreed upon and set in motion.  I sent him his locos and all the parts he needed to complete my project:
An Atlas GP7 non dynamic shell
A Lifelike GP18 low nose shell
An Atlas GP7/9 analog chassis
A Digitrax DZ120 chip.
About a year later I received my chopped nose GP7, but was bummed to realize that with the modifications he was unable to give the unit any headlights which meant it would be regulated to a trailing unit only.  So there it sat.... for years.

A few weeks ago while I was rummaging around looking for something to work on, I grabbed the box that held these parts and opened it up to take another look at it and contemplate whether or not I should get started on it?

I took it to the bench to inspect the chassis again for a possible replacement of the old DZ120 with newer DZ126T.  As it happened, I had a newer DCC ready Atlas GP7/9 chassis sitting on the bench in the process of being cleaned and lubed when the light bulb went on!  The GP18 low nosed shell fit the newer chassis with only a tad bit grinding needed on the end to match the slope of the nose, and the "drop-in" DN163A4 with its surface mounted LED's fit with more than enough room.  So the unit would now have headlights! 

With the hard work done for me, I got started adding a few detail parts and then painted it.  I used TruColor paints, Micro Scale Decals and Pan Pastels for weathering.  The grills and fans were darkened with P3 Armor Wash.


  1. Super job looks a treat.
    I and friend Ron always wanted a CF7 Santa Fe loco but alas they never did get built in N.
    This thread might give Ron an idea whenever they get back from their Europe.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Rod!
      The CF7, what an iconic loco for the ATSF modelers!
      As much as I love the oddities, I couldn't model the ATSF without one. Lets see if this lights his fire? LOL