X2F anyone?

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NP2626

Well-Known Member
#1
My latest acquisition as far as locomotives are concerned, is an actual Life Like Proto 2000 SW9/1200 painted up in Northern Pacific Livery. This is not a Walthers loco; but, from back when Life Life produced locomotives and Car kits. This latest journey into model railroading for me started in 1988, when I started this layout. This was before Life Like got into their Proto 2000 phase! I remember when P2K first came out and was very impressed with both their cars and locos.

I bought the SW9/1200 on Ebay. I think this loco was near the beginning of LL P2Ks advance into the hobby as it still has X2F couplers on it. I bought a couple of LL P2K GP-7s in N.P. livery that came with X2Fs just after Life Like offered them, so this loco would be from around this same time.

Does anyone have a guesstimate on when this locomotive hit the market?

Another fascinating thing about this loco is that I doubt it spent much time being used. The warrentee card was still in the package! This must have been someones purchase who immediately lost interest in the hobby; or, is old inventory from a hobby shop that had it's inventory auctioned off. However, it came to Ebay for sale is anyone's guess!

Anyway, I found it interesting to open up this box of Times Gone By!
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#2
I picked Life Like Geeps up when they were first introduced. Finding any Northern Pacific locomotives factory painted was really difficult years ago.

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I wanted an NP geep over 25 years ago and ended up having to custom paint an undecorated Athearn GP-7. This required a bit of work to remove the air tanks from below the frame and enlarging the fuel tank and installing air tanks on top of the long hood and removing the dynamic brake blisters. The paint job and decaling was a major pain in the butt, especially the decal for the red stripe. This locomotive also received a motor transplant getting a new can motor. Sometimes you just do what you have to to to get what you want.

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I did pick up a pair of these SW switchers also. Had to change the road number on one of them because only one number was available.

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When it comes to the question of when they were offered, all I can say is that it was a long tome ago. I am guessing around 15 or more years ago.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#4
Mine were both # 138. It would be nice if they would have offered them in some different numbers. I also installed all weather cab windows on them. They are excellent running locomotives. That really suprised me. Excellent slow speed capabilities.
 
#5
Does anyone have a guesstimate on when this locomotive hit the market?
My guess is late 1980s or early 1990s. I have some Athearn BB Hopper car kits that I received shortly after I came to NJ (1986), and a LL P2K GP18 all of which came with X2f couplers. My Stewart F7s and Atlas RS-1 and S-2 also from the same era came with X2f couplers. With that in mind, I imagine LL P2K NP switchers and Phase 3 GP9s were only slightly later than the engines I mentioned.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#6
Does anyone have a guesstimate on when this locomotive hit the market?
I believe I have one. I'll check my inventory when I get home and see when I purchased it. The BL2 was the first, and first produced in 1989. FA was next. And, by the way, all the Proto by Walther's loco's I've purchase recently still include X2F couplers in a little plastic bag should one wish to switch them back.

The warrentee card was still in the package! This must have been someones purchase who immediately lost interest in the hobby; or, is old inventory from a hobby shop that had it's inventory auctioned off.
I would guess that 90% of my locomotives still have the warrantee card in the box, so I don't think one can make either of those assumptions about its history.

Now that I think about it, I believe the only warrantee cards I've ever sent in were the original Proto-2000s because I was requesting replacement parts for the PA motors, cracked gears in the GP, and extra pickups for the 0-8-0 trucks. I sent them all to Life-Like together in a single fat envelope, that took more than one stamp. It was all for naught because just as soon as I sent it, Walther's bought them and I assume the registrations went straight into the trash can.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#7
Ok, checking the inventory I have two Proto-2000 SW units. I got the first one in September 1998 and the second one in 2000. Since my notes say I got the first one used at a swap meet, they had to have been brought to market at least a bit before that. I really miss the old Life-like site. They had a model search that said exactly when each of their units were produced, including the road name and road numbers that were produced in that run. Walther's continued that link on their site for a while, but it was really hard to find and I am certain they have long since abandon it now.

Silly me. Just looked it up in Model Railroader. The Product Review for NP SW1200 #138 was in the May 1996 issue. Merchants were taking advanced reservations in Feb 1996, and looks like in stock in April.
 
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#8
Silly me. Just looked it up in Model Railroader. The Product Review for NP SW1200 #138 was in the May 1996 issue. Merchants were taking advanced reservations in Feb 1996, and looks like in stock in April.
Advance reservations have been around for longer than we care to remember, eh? I just realized how much of my stuff, especially my B&O stuff has been around, unused since 1996 or before.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#9
The mid 90's sounds about right. I usually don't purchase many locomotives unless it is for either the Northern Pacific ot the Milwaukee Road. So few NP units for the era I am modeling have been offered so I don't have too many. I do have a couple of Atheran units like the geep that I had to custom paint because nothing was available years ago.
 
#10
It might be a good idea to pick up a bunch of Athearn gears or NWSL for the axles of the Life Like diesels, so you have them on-hand when those Chinese plastic gears crack, which they will even sitting in the box! Apparently, whatever plastic material they use shrinks over time and will eventually split/crack/disintegrate! The plastic that Athearn uses doesn't do that. NWSL gears are also great, but are more expensive.
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
#11
I will replace the axles when the become a problem. Like I said this loco appears to be from one of Life Likes runs of SW locomotives and unused. The loco's gear train seems to be in very good condition as it runs very quietly. The mid 1990s seems about right for the production run although I guess thinking this, because it was supplied with the X2F coupler appears to be a wrong assumption.

The job at hand is to convert the loco to DCC. What Decoders have you guys used to to do so? Has anybody done a sound conversion?
 

cajon

Active Member
#12
I will replace the axles when the become a problem. Like I said this loco appears to be from one of Life Likes runs of SW locomotives and unused. The loco's gear train seems to be in very good condition as it runs very quietly. The mid 1990s seems about right for the production run although I guess thinking this, because it was supplied with the X2F coupler appears to be a wrong assumption.

The job at hand is to convert the loco to DCC. What Decoders have you guys used to to do so? Has anybody done a sound conversion?
Check the TCS website on installing decoders: http://tcsdcc.com/Customer_Content/Installation_Pictures/HO_Scale/HO_Search/search.html
It doesn't matter which decoder you actually use. Installations are pretty much all the same.
 



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