Athearn FP45

Discussion in 'Product Review Forum' started by YmeBP, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    So i was trolling around ebay one day and i came across this add for an amtrak painted athearn. I also ran across a thread of a review of the Kato FP40 in Amtrak paint by LongIslandTom: http://www.the-gauge.com/showthread.php?t=23699
    and decided i was going to go for it ;).

    So 18$ +shipping and a week and a little later i get my train. It is kinda not what i expected, but i was surprised in a good way. Firstly it was an FP45 not an FP40 so it has 6 driving wheels on each truck. Nice ... :). While not a super weight it was able to pull my 13 car consist around the track w/o pause after i cleaned it up.

    Now .. about the cleaning up. People don't take care of the stuff then dump them on ebay or at a yard sale or something becuase it looks like this engine was used to ram into other engines, and the wheels and commutator were filthy. I'm an old school electric r/c guy so i have a bunch of cleaners and lubes for electric motors. I cleaned up the comm, cleaned the wheels using the goo-gone on a paper towel method and blew out any dust and foreign material w/ forced air. I inspected the entire train for any issues and didn't really find any besides being dirty.

    The train is quiet .. i mean i'm next to myself how quiet it is compared to the other Lifelike crap trains i have running. In my rc days quiet ment low or no friction because friction made noise. If this is the same in model trians, Athearn builds some friction free engines!

    The shell of this engine is not nearly as nice as the Kato one seen in the review by longislandtom (refer to link above) but it was still nice. Right now at my skill level and budget "nice" is perfect :) hahahaha. I do have to repair the front where the plow goes. Not sure how i'm going to do that but i'm thinking of squaring out the plastic and forming some styrene or something w/ a heat gun and glueing it in.

    It is a 6 wheel engine and based on quite a bit of reading i've done in these forums 6 wheels is not so good for 18" radius turns.. just so happens that is all i have :). So i was nervous, but the train ran well i ran it on a simple rounded square loop i have setup and it had no problems. It started from a crawl and went up to a decent speed.

    What would one suggest for lubing the plastic worm gears? White lithium or some grease type lube or a graphite based lube.

    Some photo's as always visit http://www.skyersfamily.com/gallery/v/Trains/Depot/AthearnFP45Amtrak/ for full sized images.

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    This is after i cleaned the trucks:

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    and this is what came off them:
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    a shot on the track:
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    And i'm going to start guessing where these wires and parts go :).

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  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    Holy crap, looks like we got you addicted to Athearn engines. :D (that's a good thing though.)

    Yeah the FP45 is a pretty impressive beast due to its size.. It can cause problems with some pikes with tight curves-- Sometimes it will do fine, sometimes it won't. It looks like you lucked out. :thumb:

    BTW Amtrak got rid of their 6-axle SDP40-2s for the exact same reason many modelers did-- Derailments on curves! :p

    Anyway, the lube I prefer to use with gears would be the plastic-friendly teflon white grease from Woodland Scenics... I find that light machine oil like Labelle's #106 evaporates too fast, and the gear grease from Atlas also seem to dry out pretty fast (its consistence feels almost like it was water based or something). The Woodland Scenics teflon white grease seems to last the longest out of all those lubes.

    You probably don't want to use graphite lubes in the trucks because graphite is a conductor of electricity-- I've seen them cause a short circuit before.

    The formed-wire handrails are easy enough to figure out... They go on the front and rear anticlimbers (the end platforms). The brake cylinders you already know where to put. Looks like you are going to add an Amtrak-style plow to the unit? Cool! It's a shame they molded on details like the grab irons.. They look much better when added separately as bent-wire parts. Anyway, it's also a good value engine for the beginner, and I think you will like it. :cool:
  3. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    You know it's funny how it's working out that way i have 3 (if you cound the roundhouse, are they athearn?) of their engines and i'm happy w/ all of them!! This newest one is really nice. I am currently toying w/ how to get a piece of track off the table onto the edge of my crawl space so i can use that area as a staging yard so i don't have to crawl up there to put trains on the track :). I think my little MofW thingy is going turn into a shunter until i can buy a proto shunter.
  4. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

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    Ahem? The proto's were perfectly fine trains in my book. Heck, ALL my rolling stock is from Life-Like
  5. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    My life like is the toy store stuff :) I should have clarified. My life like engine is louder than the server next to my train layout and it can't pull more than 7 cars and the rubber on the little traction wheels is cracked up :).

    I've actually see the proto 1000 and proto 2000 at the hobby shop. I can't believe that stuff is made by the same company. The protos look great!!
  6. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

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    I agree proto's are excellent locomotives with nearly the same (or better) pulling power that athearns have and they're beautiful! I also happily want to point out that you're modeling the early 1970's wether you know it or not (at least engine-wise!) Keep up the good work! What do your frieght cars look like? DO you have any passenger cars for your AMTRAK locomotive? :)
  7. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

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    Also, the parts on the sprues are brake cyliners that go into small holes on the side of each truck, and all the metal bits are front and rear handrails! :)
  8. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Not yet, i plan ot buy a couple but i'm not sure what size i noticed most of the passenger cars are reaaaaaly long and i have to build my layout for that. I haven't built the second phase which is a race track w/ a passenger train station next to it.

    I have a weird mix of frieght cars. I've been picking stuff that i like the way it looks up on ebay w/ good results so far. The cars at my lhs are a little out of my price range.

    I'll take the late 70's note to heart. Do you have any suggestions on what to look for?
    here is the next engine i am plotting on: http://www.atlasrr.com/HOLoco/hoaem7.htm
    in the nj transit paint.

    After that i want to pick up a super empire builder or a super chief and start dcc stuff.
    On my thread in the layout forum it is my goal to model 30th street station in philly and a couple stops on the way to nyc. I sat on that blasted train line for more hours of my life than i care to recall :) and i'm looking forward to modeling it.
  9. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

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    Hmm...They would be brand spanking new in 1977, so perhaps you could model just the 1970's in general, but keep in mind that Your F7 and the AEM-7 never theoretically could meet, on a geographic basis, because ATSF only went as far as Chicago, and the AEM-7 only went as far west as Philly. (basically)...unless your shortline bought an EX-ATSF F7, but all that techincal stuff will come, once you delve deeper into this fascinating hobby! :thumb:
  10. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    OR... Paint up that F7A solid black, then put on some Penn Central decals. :thumb:

    PC then Conrail operated the F7A into the late 1970s in the Northeast. Very easy paint scheme to do. :D
  11. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

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    That's not a bad Idea...but it is His locomotive! ;) Good suggestion...but I wouldn't want to see that nice ATSF F unit repainted..
  12. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    These trains look so modern to me especially the f7a w/ all the rounded shapes are they still in production? The F7A looks like a revision 1 of the acella almost.
  13. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    LOL nah.. The F-units were actually the first diesel locomotives to be used by the railroads on a large scale. The first FT unit (which the F7A is styled after, with that famous "bulldog" nose and cab) was built in the late 1930's and it was most famous as the Steam-Killer. It ended the reign of steam locomotives.

    The first-gen F-units started disappearing in the 1970s (retired and scrapped).. The cowl F-units (basically hood locos with a full-width body) such as the FP45 and F40PH became popular in the 1970s, and the F40PH were retired around 2000 and replaced with the GE AMD103s.

    Some F-units served all the way into the 1990s though, such as the dual-mode FL9 (can run on internal diesel power or an electric 3rd rail) used by New Haven, Amtrak, Conrail and Metro North.

    If you want '80s-'90s Amtrak power in the Northeast, it would be AEM7/ALP44 electrics, some E60MA electrics, F40PHs, and some FL9s in the NYC area. :cool: