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

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Model Train Help EBook

Cotton Belt GP9

(C) 1998 Richard Percy - LifeLike GP18 to GP9 conversion painted Black Widow with 1965 numbering

LifeLike GP18 conversion
LifeLike has now released a Phase III GP9 in Cotton Belt paint

Although Lifelike has released a GP9, these would appear to be excellent candidates for 'cheap' LifeLike GP18 conversions, as these came with single 48" radiator fans (as against twin 36").

A quick look at the work needed (for HO Scale), reveals this:

  • Detail Associates 2721 - GP9 Grilles
  • Flared spark arrestors (DA 2101 or DW 123) depending on era?
  • Light packages, either Details West sets, Sunrise sets or DA parts

Modeling a Cotton Belt GP9 in Black Widow paint (depending on era?), requires the small lettering supplied with the Microscale 60/87-201. Cotton Belt 3644 (undated photo), shown in the RMC article listed below, has lettering of a smaller script.

The later Blood Nose scheme requires 60/87-11 for the lettering, and either 60/87-177 or 60/87-617 for the Red Wings.

Disclaimer: You may prefer to use other Brands of decals, or choose to paint on the Red Wings. The mention of Microscale decals is a suggestion only!

Modeling choices at the moment are:

  • For Z Scale:
    • ? :-)
  • For N Scale:
    • Arnold once made a GP7/9
    • Atlas have released a GP9 in Black Widow paint.
    • Atlas have released a Passenger GP9 aka "Torpedo Boat"
    • LifeLike made a GP18 that could be backdated,
      • and will likely make an N Scale GP9
  • For HO Scale:
    • Athearn unit has a GP7 and a 'fatso', ( but if your not fussy, it's a proven unit), that could be modified.
    • Front Range GP9's are still available from various suppliers. Trains Unlimited with Athearn compatible chassis, and Proto-Power West are two that I know of.
    • E & C Shops have released their Phase II and III GP9's - see January Model Railroader page 170.
    • A LifeLike GP18 can be backdated to a GP9 - parts from Detail Assoc. and Train Station Products are available.
    • LifeLike has released a Southern Pacific GP9 in in Blood Nose paint,
      and a Cotton Belt unit in Black Widow.
    • Atlas has released their GP7, it could be reworked to a GP9.
  • For S Scale:
    • American Flyer
    • American Models perhaps a GP9
  • For O Scale:
    • Red Caboose made a GP9, and available in Black Widow.
    • Lionel in 1996 and 1998 made a GP9 in Black Widow paint.

Lionel information kindly supplied by Britt Johnson

Modeling References:

  • Railroad Model Craftsman, May 1966, - Plans
  • Railroad Model Craftsman June 1972, St. Louis-Southwestern by Jim Boyd.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman, March 1990, Page 84 - GP9E superdetail from Front Range shell.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman, March, 1995, Page 54 - Front Range/PPW superdetail plus:
    • Good sidebar by Joe Strapac on early SP GP9 history.
  • Model Railroading, February 1987, Page 43 - Diesel Detail Close-up, GP9 Phase III details.
  • Mainline Modeler May 1983 page 50 - EMD GP9 Phase I details, plans and photo's.
  • Mainline Modeler April 1984 page 44 - EMD GP9 Phase II details, plans, photo's and rosters.
  • Mainline Modeler August 1984 page 74 - EMD GP9 Phase III details, plans and photo's.
  • Prototype Modeler February 1979 pages 6 to 10 - History of SP commute service GP9's
  • Prototype Modeler February 1979 pages 11 to 23 - Modeling SP commute service GP9's

Black Widow References:

  • RailModel Journal July 1997 page 10 - Detail-EMD GP9 as SP 5713, proto photo of 5713 in Black Widow plus list of relevant detail parts.
  • RailModel Journal July 1997 page 13 - Detailing an N Scale LL GP18 as an SP GP9.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman, Mar, '95, Page 54 - Front Range/PPW superdetail plus:
    • Good sidebar by Joe Strapac on early SP GP9 history.
  • Railmodel Journal, June 1990, Page 18 - Diesels, Detail by Detail, model Black Widow Geep photo's.
  • Railmodel Journal, June 1990, Page 20 - Diesels, Detail by Detail, Black Widow Geep photo's. Phase II.
  • Model Railroader, October 1983 Page 156. - MR Clinic, good Black Widow Geep info.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2000 7:53:06 AM