California's Railroad to the U.S. 1861 - 1996

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Southern Pacific SW1200

Image of Athearn HO Scale SW7 converted to an SW1200 Image of Athearn HO Scale SW7 converted to an SW1200 Image of Athearn HO Scale SW7 converted to an SW1200

An Athearn SW7 superdetailed as an SW1200 by Cliff West using styrene strip for light packages and Detail Associates #1001, #1002 & #1004 lights with MV #24 & #25 lenses except the bottom lights were drilled out and some left over lenses from Athearn's SW-1500 were installed so the headlight could be illuminated. Numberboards were from Detail West #136. The fuel tank was from Custom Finishing #290. Decals by Microscale and paint from Floquil. The handrails were from me bent from .010 steel wire and Athearn Stanchions.

Lifelike Proto 2000 HO Scale SW9 converted to an SW1200 by Tom Fassett

Lifelike Proto 2000 HO Scale SW9 converted to an SW1200 by Tom Fassett

While there has been plenty of SW1200 modeling articles, published in the mainstream model magazines, there doesn't appear to have been any specifically aimed at making an SP model.

LifeLike have now released their SW1200, however they have never released an SP model ?????. Most of the parts listed in my Parts List would be needed, even on the LifeLike model.

As usual though, grab a photo to base your unit on, as there are differing cab sunshades fitted, and some are running around with the light show removed, but the brackets still in place.

For another 2 Images of my SW1200 see my Parts List.

I made my model from the Athearn SW7, so it has a number of inaccuracies.

Known inaccuracies and/or improvements:

  • There should be 8 sets of louvers on the side, not 6, see reference below for method of adding these.
  • LifeLike's SW1200, has the correct 8 sets of louvers. So should SW9's. SW7's had 6.
  • A Cannon & Co. SW Cab #1504, would be an improvement.
  • I used the Cotton Belt style, end handrails for simplicity.
  • I left the pilots as is, but the see reference below, shows a way of accurizing these.
  • See also, reference below on accurizing the Air Reservoirs, or use Custom Railway Finishing detail part.
  • the Athearn plastic sideframes need replacing with roller-bearing types, DA makes a set #SF-3501, although these are likely in the Train Station Products line now...

For a Parts List click here. Most of these would likely be needed for the LifeLike model anyway.

I have rebuilt the extended Fuel Tank, and modified the Air Reservoirs see my SW 1200 Fuel Tank Rebuild for how I did it. However, I have since discovered Custom Finishing has an Extended Range Fuel/Air Reservoir casting #290, that could be used instead.

See my SW Info Page for info on the 'Falsies.


N Scale:

  • Arnold/ConCor once produced an SW7, sold through Walthers that may be of use.
  • LifeLike has released an SW9/1200.

HO Scale:

  • Athearn has an SW7 that can be updated.
  • Con-Cor did make an SW7 that may also be of use.
  • LifeLike have made an SW9/1200 - that would probably be the best choice.

O Scale:

  • Atlas 'O'

Model References:

  • Model Railroader Cyclopedia Vol 2, Page 45 - Has a set of plans for a standard SW 1200.
  • Mainline Modeler, Sep,. '89, Page 32, - SW 1200 Roster, plans and photo's.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman, Jan, '89, Page 64 - Article with building more accurate SW Air Reservoirs.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman, Sep, '81, Page 60 - Article with accurizing an NW Pilot and adding louvers, by Montford Switzer.

SP SW1200 info page

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