Friday, June 5, 2015

Atlas vs Athearn GP40-2W

Lots have been said about both models. Atlas runs a little bit smoother than Athearn which got better details and cab. But that's mainly hearsay on my part. Both models ran on our layout at some time but I wasn't at the trottle and demo didn't last very long. That was years ago... My memories doesn't probably serve me right.

With Jérôme, we are looking at a way to upgrade our GP40-2W. Two choices: install Tsunami sound decoders into Atlas units or sell them and buy Athearn ones. Seriously, this is heart wrenching!

I recently said the Atlas cab bad look could be improved with some little paint touch up. Thus, I got Tim Hayman's excellent comparison photo and did some digital painting to illustrate my point. I hope Tim won't be mad at me because I defaced his pictures! Atlas locomotive is on left and Athearn on right.


Tim Hayman's original picture from Flickr (2013)

As you can see, once the cab nose paint is extended near a little bit near the round filler, the Atlas version isn't far to look as good as Athearn. What do you think about it? It doesn't address the wrong nose height and cab window, but at least the cab get a more bulky look.

Photoshopped Atlas nose (black paint)


If readers have had the chance to compare both locomotive running performance, I'd be really glad to hear about it. I only had the chance to see Athearn GP40-2W once, but couldn't operate them by myself at slow speed. As you know, train speed on our layout never go over 20 mph and most of the time we are crawling at 10 mph and less.

6 comments:

  1. I run out of the box athearn genesis Dc/ dcc with sound locos. Out of all of the manufacturers I have the athearn locos are the most inconsistent runners some run smooth others run with a jerking motion. which I can detect by looking at the couplers between the cars and the engine, which I have termed " coupler bounce". I was also told that they are using cheaper motors, but I think the DCC modelers can overcome this by adjusting the motor polarity. I'm not an expert on Dcc just an observer JOHN

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John. I also recently experienced that "coupler bouncer". When doing slow operation, it really is annoying. My last Athearn was a BB kit. There's people who do wonders with them, but I don't have that kind of dedication!

      Delete
  2. Matt,

    Great post - I roster currently 2 Atlas GP40-2 standard can but have been thinking of acquiring 2 of the widecabs to grow my existing fleet. I can tell you that I plan to do an aftermarket Soundtraxx Install with the AT-1000 board. Since these have ditch lights they are probably very similar to the process for install that I did on the Atlas genset. From a handling and use perspective Atlas models in my opinion fair better and run smoother right out of the box. Since I will be repainting if I acquire the 2W's the CN details are not a deal breaker, but good to know.

    GM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Greg. Your comment echoes what Jérôme just told me a few minutes ago. Operation is top priority so, just like you, he's ready to overlook some not so perfect details. Yesterday, a friend of mine picked up a Tsunami AT-1000 in Montreal. I'll conduct some tests and probably will upgrade the other accordingly.

      Delete
  3. Good deal - not to say Athearn has a bad product as I just installed soundtraxx sound in a RTR SD45 (now Modeller as SD40-3) and results were great and the price point for purchase was very generous. Since I have silver series models and plan to acquire more I am checking with the folks at Soundtraxx and Railmaster Hobbies if they have a direct replacement for the speaker weight you will find inside where the round speaker would be. If no exact replacement is available I will prob use a Railmaster DS1425-8 speaker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing against Athearn at all, I just think it's better to work with what I have.
      The built-in speaker enclosure accepts 28mm speakers. I think you should be fine with the DS1425-8. I enquired Atlas, but GP40-2 parts are unavailable until later this falls. I ordered Soundtraxx 28mm speakers. Hope to do the install next weekend. First time I'm doing sound.

      Delete