|A B&M van hop departs Middlesex Centre, Vt. past the CV style ball signal.|
If you get a chance to see or better yet hear one of the new Athearn GP-9 offerings, listen closely as they sound great. They sound just like the real thing. I have two Life-Like Proto GP-9's with factory sound and they do not compare. I can hardly wait for the CV versions to come out.
Don Janes had purchase two of these units when they first came out. On one of my summer visits to Don's we played around with his B&M geep models. I had not planned on purchasing one but after hearing them operate, I just had to have one. If one can't find one in your area try Credit Valley Railroad Co. near Toronto, Ont. were I found a few on hand.
As George has mentioned these new Athearn B&M GP-9's look great and run beautifully right out of the box. One of the two units I purchased was #1706, a non sound version. After listening to sound equipped #1724 I decided I had to add sound to the 1706 as well. Since Athearn uses a SoundtraxxTsunami decoder in their factory sound equipped models I purchased a EMD 567 Tsunami decoder (made specifically for Athearn units) to go in the 1706. Using the 1724 as a guide it was just a matter of replacing the factory light board with the Tsunami and removing the rear hood weight and adding a 16 x 35 mm speaker and enclosure installed where the weight used to be. While I was at it I soldered all the wires to the decoders on both units to ensure a good electrical connection.
One other modification I made was to add KaDee #153 scale head short shank couplers in place of the plastic couples that came with the units. These are stronger and also bring the two units closer together when they are MU'd .
These engines definately need some weathering, especially around the trucks and underbody as the fine detail gets lost in a sea of black paint. I plan to weather the bodies also but not too much as I don't want to cover up the beautiful paint job on these engines.
Athearn has certainly hit a home run with these B&M GP-9's and bettere still I have heard rumours that they plan to produce Central Vermont GP-9's in 2013. I can't wait for that official announcement so I can reserve a pair of those engines. Athearn has sold out of its run of B&M geeps except for ATHG62435, #1706 without sound.
The 1724 and 1706 look and sound great moving freight along the Green Mountain Division.
|The company photographer has climbed onto the roundhouse roof to get a shot of B&M GP-9's 1724 and 1706 taking a spin on the White River Jct. turntable|
|The golden glow of the early morning sun is starting to light up the yard as a pair of B&M GP-9's idle on the shop track at White River Jct.|