In December 1968, Atlas announced the release of three different locomotives simultaneously. These were the WDT industrial switcher (the original Mehano version), the USRA Pacific (4-6-2), and this model of Electro Motive Division's GP40. The GP40 and the WDT were manufactured by Mehanotehnika and the Pacific by Rivarossi. The GP in the prototype's name stands for "General Purpose" The prototype was introduced in 1965 and there were over 1200 units built throughout the production run. So, here we have Atlas finally selecting a "mainstream" freight locomotive to model! The E8 also saw widespread use but was a passenger unit.
The construction of these locomotives is virtually identical to the RSC-2s (same motor, drive, etc.), the only differences being in the detailing to match the frame and trucks to the EMD configuration. There are two weights, one in the rear that sits on top of the gear tower and frame and one under the unit in the fuel tank area. A single screw that goes through this weight, extends up through the frame, and into a threaded hole in the motor, holds both the weight and motor in place.The body is actually a pretty good representation of the prototype. The proportions look better than the RSC-2's and Mehano seems to have refined the detail features. Gone are the gaping vents in the side. They are replaced by openings in the fan moldings on the roof. Of course, there are still the kind of clunky handrails but they're really not too bad (except for Mehano's annoying design of having stanchions right along the cab which aren't there on the prototype. And the open ends for the truck mounted couplers are there but this was common on N scale locomotives for many years.
The duration of time that Atlas sold these is unclear but they were pretty much available on the market until Atlas released the F9, GP30, and GP9 of the second generation of motive power in the mid seventies.
Atlas Identification: "ATLAS YUGOSLAVIA" molded into the bottom of the front truck with "ATLAS" in larger letters on the fireman's side and "YUGOSLAVIA" in smaller letters on the engineer's side. These same Mehano locomotives were marketed by several different importers (Life-Like, Model Power, etc.) in the years following Atlas' discontinuance of them so be on the lookout for the Atlas name on the truck.
Variations: I am not aware of any variations in these locomotives. Please contact me with any information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to images of the available liveries. Click on the description or thumbnail to view a full sized picture:
The Burlington example has the trucks painted gray and Kadee (MT) couplers installed.
The Santa Fe, Penn Central, and Southern Pacific images courtesy of
|#2171||SANTA FE||Road #1347|
|#2172||ATLANTIC COAST LINE||Road #960|
|#2173||BURLINGTON||Road # 989|
|#2175||SOUTHERN PACIFIC||Road #9263|
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