Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

Dedicated to Sharing the Heritage of Redwood Empire Railroading

Hey guys,

I'm working on rebuilding an old Athearn SD9 that was given to me into the  ex-Southern Pacific SD9e number 4436 that currently sits in the Schellville yard. This locomotive will sport the early 1990's patched out red and bloody nose North Coast Railroad logo/scheme, or the new NWP bloody nose..haven't really decided yet. 

To do the rebuild I am using a fully stocked Details West SD9e rebuild kit. I removed the shell just to work on it, and stored the frame/motor. 

What I need guidance on is the snowplow. I sanded down the front two steps, removed MU and brake hoses, the drawbar and drilled two holes for the snowplow. I am running into the dilemma that when I glue the snowplow on, I will not be able to put a coupler in. It won't fit if its attached to the frame and I try to put the shell on, or if I attach it through the gap between front walkway and plow when the frame and shell are snapped together. The other option is to make it snowplow-less, but I would like to keep it close to how it looks today as far as parts and such.

Just curious if any of you guys have run into problems like this before. I can post pictures, too.

Thank you for your help:)


Views: 220

Replies to This Discussion

It used to be a common practice to mount the coupler box to the shells, on the old blue-box Athearns.   You have to clip/saw/whatever the coupler mount off of the frame.  Then, using the correct width plastic, shim under the walkways.  Drill and tap a hole and mount the coupler with coupler box.  When mounting the shim, make sure you take into account the dimensions and thickness of the coupler box to determine the final height of the coupler.

Chad, are you sure that the Athearn shell is what you want to use for this? It's a scale foot too wide, there are all kinds of cast on details that don't match up with newer standards and need to be shaved off, and so on. There's plenty of old Proto 2K sells floating around you could use, and you don't have to struggle to make end ladders because the ones they use are perfect.

Ed Merrin

It is true the "Blue Box" SD's are a foot too wide, but the price is right! I admire your choice of where to go with this unit. One thing you will gain is an increase in your modeling skills. When you are done, you will have something unique. Another thing is that these units are great runners and will last forever. Only the true rivet counters will deride your efforts. Keep up the good work!

Hey Chad

On my model of 4451 a Kadee No.5 coupler box slides through the opening in the snow plow and body after the body is mouted. I might have filed out the opening in the plow, don't remember for sure.

Hope this helps.

Hey guys, thank you hugely for your help and comments!

Mr. Hallman, I think thats what I'm going to try and do, a couple of chat forums on SP and other sites mention that as a viable option. 

Mr. Merrin, Yes, because as Mr. Todd pointed out its really just the beginning of super detailing a locomotive for me. I'm really new at this and want to use what I have available to me first to practice before I spend money on a better model. 

Jason, go home.

Mr. Peers, thank you! I'll look into the No 5. box. It looks like I will be filing the plow down a tad as well. 

Thanks everyone for your help!


I know this is for an SD7 but many parts can be used on an SD9. Either way good reference.


That is perfect Mr. Palomarez. Did the steam tanks apply to early SD9's as well? 


Details West makes a great kit for SP-9E's.






© 2017   Created by Mark Drury.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service