Throw it away and buy a P1K RDC for US$30 or less. A far superior model in
detail, tracking, running and it's also scale length, something the Athearn
Home of the Great Eastern Railway
Yes the Athearn models are not scale length. However that is a plus
for me. Unless one has a really huge layout, say 20 X 40 feet, then
one foot long, 85 scale feet cars look pretty bad when over-hanging
and out-swinging on 22" radius curves.
I love RDC's and don't have to please anyone else (: Grew up next to
the B&O (Wash DC) Metropolitan branch and enjoyed the B&O later MARC
"Budd Cars" So they are here on my layout.
Look at Bill's reply post and get some replacement rubber bands from
Athearn. They last a _long_ time and work well. This is also good
advice for those who own other earlier Athearn rubber band drive
locos. I have a pair of old Athearn B&O GP-9's that are perfect and
beautiful and I love them (:
Further, the old Athearn RDC models are "ready" for upgrading. Put
some frosted paper behind the clear windows, so you don't have to look
at the mechanism inside. Today there are LED, directional and consant
lighting kits, or with a little bit of investigation, you can build
your own. Directional headlights up front and red tail lights in the
back and constant lights inside. Very cool! Nice!
One quirky thing about the Athearn models. is that they have the body
fluting continuing around the ends and on either side of the end
doors. (Sorry I don't have a photo handy) . From the early Budd
Company promotional ads, this was an original design that was not used
on production models. (Anyone help me here? - I don't know if any
production cars were built this way). Production cars had smooth
panels on either side of the end doors where railroads like B&M put
On Thu, 5 Oct 2006 21:56:54 -0700, "Roger T."
Well, if you find an original RDC-4 model from Athearn (yes, they made
them), then that is the correct length at 72'. However, the RDC-1's and
RDC-3's are not since they were 85'.
The problem I found with them is that they start like a shot and stop on
a dime...and then they bounce back and forth. I put the Ernst gearing kit
in a couple, and while noisy and slow, they did run better, IMHO.
And all of that can be done with the P1K versions...except they have an
interior (not counting the RDC-1's and their darkened windows).
The wrap around fluting was, IIRC, prototypical for different Phase
RDC's according to the RDC book. I'd have to look it up to see who had 'em,
and I don't own that book. But the flat face RDC look was far more common,
as both the B&M and the NH (the two biggest RDC owners) all had flat faces.
Paul A. Cutler III
Weather Or No Go New Haven
The Athearn RDC-4's were their early ones made from metal, with cast
metal ends. They had geared power trucks. From the early 1950's I
think. Not the same line as their plastic rubber band models. I have
several of the metal ones as well as a plastic one that I made into an
Athearn has the drive belts (rubber bands):
Bill's Railroad Empire
N Scale Model Railroad:
Flying Saucer and Haunted House Scenes:
Model Railroad Books, Toys, and Trains:
Ernst makes a conversion kit for the Athearn RDC. Item 259-3 for just
$11.98. Uses the existing motor and truck parts, adds a flywheel to the
motor and a gear tower on one truck. Well engineered and can be done in
about a half hour. Did one years ago (before the Proto 1000 was available)
and it works well - one power truck is plenty to move the single RDC car.
Hi I also have two rdc with rubber bands and a GP9 as well..I 'd like to
convert them over to gear as well..when you replay can you forward the
imformation to me as well. If you need a digital picture I can take
Brock R Bailey
Victoria BC Canda
Trainworld has been offering Bachmann RDC-2's and -3's for $19.95, the
RDC-1 for $29.95. Might be worth a look, a lot better deal. They are
as noted proper length, have interiors, lighting, etc. Great models.
It was also noted that NWSL offered a powering unit for the Athearn
model, it is/was one of their PDT powered trucks and was around $60-70
or more. Niot much of a bargain when compared to the better Bachmann
The Ernst regear kit is fairly crude. I bought one years ago but never
bothered to install it. It requires grinding away the frame around
one truck, and converting the truck to take gears. a Rather flimsy
conversion, and you still have the motor taking up much of the
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