Athearn HO GP35 SLSF 717 details

Discussion in 'Electo-Motive Division (EMD)' started by meteor910, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    I am in the process (finally!) of detailing one of my Athearn GP35, SLSF 717. I have a question on the correct radio antenna to equip it with. My pics give me no clue.

    The first batch of Frisco GP35's, SLSF 700-716 (the "Darth Vaders"), came with a "nail" radio antenna. The third batch of GP35's, SLSF 725-732 (AAR Type B Alco trade-in trucks, except for 732), came with a "whip" antenna.

    Does anyone in the group know for sure what the middle batch of GP35's, SLSF 717-724, had on board for a radio antenna? ..... nail (don't think so), can (maybe), firecracker (possible), whip (possible).

    Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.

  2. cthart

    cthart Member

  3. kdedgin

    kdedgin Member

    Ken, I have the same Athearn model that I want to detail. I have a copy of Diesel Era magazine, May/June 2000 that ran an article on the Frisco GP35 fleet. There are two photos of 717. One photo taken 10/70 shows what looks like a whip antenna. It also shows a 5F horn. The second photo taken 7/79 does not show any antenna that I can see, and it now sports a 3F-2R horn.

    I have two photos that I have downloaded with no dates of 718 and 719 which both have whip antennas.

    Also, I believe that this series of 717-724 did come originally equipped with the foot step pilot/hose holder (which the Athearn has), but were converted by Frisco later to the quasi snowplow type hose holder pilot.

  4. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Thanks Keith. I have a feeling from looking at a lot of photos that the Frisco's second bunch of GP35's came with a firecracker antenna and a 5F Leslie horn. Can't really tell for sure, but I see several black cylinders sticking up on the roof behind the flashing beacon on this batch. So, I think I'll put a firecracker on 717, and a whip on 725. Not sure what I'll use for a horn on 717. 725 will get a 3F-2R Leslie for sure. I've already swapped out the Athearn pilot hose holder for the Frisco plow pilot (DW #130) front and rear. One thing for sure - I want the stuff up top on 717 and 725 to differ a bit for the sake of variety.

  5. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    FYI, for what it's worth (not much), I've decided to do GP35 SLSF 717 with a F5 Leslie horn, rotary flasher beacon, and "firecracker" antenna up on the cab roof. SLSF 725 will get a Leslie F3R2 horn, the same rotary beacon, and a "whip" antenna. Don't know if that is 100% accurate (for 717 in particular), but what the heck, it will look cool, and they will be different in more ways than just their Blomberg vs AAR Type B trucks.

    They will each of course have a bunch of other detail stuff hung on them as well. They run OK together, in particular with a F3/F7/F9 B-unit stuck in between them. I always liked the GP35 - the different sized radiator fans are an unusual feature.

    I can't really run my b/y "Vader" torpedo tube GP35 (SLSF 711) with 717 & 725. The Overland drive on that thing is so smooth it runs well only with a Kato. Even an Atlas struggles a bit with it, ditto the Bowser U25b. I've never built them, but my two earlier Stewart U25b's both have a Kato drive, so there is hope there. I've not tried the recent Athearn SD45, GP15-1 or GP38-2's with them. All those guys are still in the box!

  6. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    These ought to look great. Be sure to post pics when they're ready.
  7. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ken, DCC decoders with their Speed Tables, would allow all those locomotives to play well together. As long as a locomotive runs smoothly on DC, its response can be controlled with DCC decoders to match other locomotives. Just a suggestion if you are serious about running them. You might even consider trying sound in one....

    Once again, you need to let McClellan and me know when you will be in KC and we could at least get you in to see at least one of the local great model railroads.
  8. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Keith -

    Thanks. I realize DCC would solve my operation problems. I have three or four groups of locomotives, no one of which will run well with any of the other groups, so they have to be bunched together. But, as we have discussed before, I don't really have an interest in operating, nor do I have an interest in building an extensive layout any longer. I think I have mentioned this on before - I don't consider myself a model railroader, but instead am a railroad modeler. My thing is building the models; I like the little nitty-gritty details. Then, alas, they sit around for a while, get dusty, and many (not all!) eventually get sold, traded or given to others. Thus, the cost and complexities of DCC, sound and the rest of today's new operating features are not of great interest to me, though I realize the results they deliver are very good for the most part. Different strokes for different folks ..... so be it!

    I finially dug out my issue of Diesel Era (my favorite mag by far) from May/June 2000 and took another look at the Frisco GP35 article. 717 has two pics in the article - it was the class unit in the second batch of SLSF GP35's. The 717 pics are from 1970 & 1979. It clearly has a Leslie 5F horn, but also used a whip antenna in the 1970 pic, probably also in the 1979 pic. Since the unit was built in 1965, and since I have already installed the "firecracker" antenna as mentioned above - and it looks neat, I'm going to keep the firecracker up there for now. 725 will get a whip and a 3F-2R Leslie.

    We will be going over to Olathe next most likely around Halloween to help out with the girls. We went over last Halloween and had a ball with our two little goblins. This year, we'll have three to deal with, so Kurt and Jen will need our help. If we can work it out, I would most certainly like to get together with you and/or Rick and others during that visit. If not, we will probably be back up in December. Thanks!


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