Etched screens and other details for Red Caboose GP9

DesPlaines Hobbies sells etched metal screen upgrades for the Red Caboose GP9s.

Unfortunately the shop’s web site does not have a photo to give one an idea of what the parts look like. Since I ordered a sample, here’s a photo to give anyone potentially interested an idea of what would be received. I usually reduce the resolution of photos I post here, but for close examination this is full camera resolution. Double click on the photo to enlarge it.

These are not as nicely detailed as ones that Ed Nadolski designed for his P-48 GP9, discussed some years ago on His work is sheer poetry. These would not quite look right if the shutters were left flat. Each vane appears to be designed to be twisted to simulate an open position. A good GP9 reference photo can reveal which way the vanes tilt.

I have a number of GP9 kits with P&D drive kits and DesPlaines brass frames. I’m debating whether to mount a Tang Band 1931 speaker mounted through the middle of the fuel tank and air tanks, firing down, or a 1925S module above the rear gear tower, firing up through the fans and sideways through these screens. The 31 would offer deeper bass response and move the sound stage towards the center of the locomotive, where it should be. On the A&O a lot of the track is chin-high to facilitate “in your face” rail fanning. But the 25 would leave the fuel tank intact so that it can receive a full pour of Cerrobend for low-slung weight.

I always just presumed that Ed sold the artwork to Ron. His MRL gp9 was a really nice build. And best of all, it was p48! :crazy_face:

I’ve had a set or two of the etch through my hands at various points in time. I moved them along to people that needed them more urgently, as they were out of stock for quite a while several years back.

James -

I wondered about that too. Late last year Ed attended an A&O op session and brought his GP9 and covered hopper. I was drooling.

Before the session briefing I asked Ed about his etched parts. He designed them himself and had a company in Scotland produce the sprue. He also confirmed that the O Scale America parts are not his design.

Ed normally models in N-scale, so he brought a modern diesel he re-detailed with scale-size etched stainless hand rails, approximately 5 thousandths wide.

I believe Ed stated in one of the many forum build threads, that he had the etching done by PPD. Which is who a lot of folks use, and I will almost certainly use them as well. They are on board with doing hobbyist work, and their pricing is supposed to be quite reasonable. The only issue for those of us on this side of the pond is the international shipping cost. It can dampen any sort of cavalier attitude about sending parts piece meal, or doing multiple test etches. I’m currently trying to get a worthwhile amount of artwork done, as perfectly as possible, to make the shipping economical. Unfortunately, seeking perfection is often antithetical to actual execution, which a problem I have in many aspects of my modeling. There’s a lesson to be learned somewhere in all of that.

Yes, Ed said that he used PPD.

Here are two more GP9 details I picked up. I’m posting photos here so that anyone potentially interested in them can see photos of the parts. Said photos are not currently available on the respective seller’s web sites.

The first photo shows a set of brass handrail stanchions to replace the easily-damaged and difficult to paint acetyl handrails. These were recommended by fellow O-scale modeler Jeff MacDonald. He reports that he glues them into the side frame holes with epoxy. He also said to keep the factory handrails for use as a bending template for brass or phosphor bronze wire. Great tip, Jeff!

Note that the brass stanchions can be purchased in 2 styles. This is the GP7/early GP9 style with cast T connectors. I’m assuming that the transition from early to late handrails was approximately the same time that GP9 production changed over from 4 small to 2 large radiator fans. DesPlaines also sells a later version with stamped stanchions.

I feel it is worth expending extra effort to install these as the GP9s will be hard-working A&O units that receive a lot of handling during op sessions.

The Red Caboose kits come with tiny, delicate plastic lift rings. The prototype lift ring is a lot bigger, and has a 1.5 inch flange at the bottom. Here’s a photo I shot of Great Western #2233 being cut up in Loveland, CO several years ago. The ring is over 3" diameter.

P&D sells some very nice EMD lift rings of proper size. These come 14 to the package.

Mind you this is all planning at the moment. I have 8 of these waiting to hit the work bench. During the 1960s, the GP7/9 was one of the most common locomotives to work the West Virginia coal fields.

Right now I’m thinking 2 consists of 3, and one consist of 2. I’m a sucker for 3 engine consists with LokSound decoders, each running at a different playback speed. I guess that would be “Tri Phonic” sound.

Again, click on the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks Bob for sharing, please keep sharing the parts and build as you go along. I am in the middle of getting parts for a couple GP9 builds myself and trying to research what parts are needed and where from has been fun to say the least.

Like you I noticed the stanchion difference as well and am assuming the stanchions you have are for the early GP9’s and the stamped stanchions are for the later 9’s but I dont see the change from bolted to stamped as a phase change. Studying a ton of photos from different railroads I see the stamped stanchions used with the 4 small fans alot. I honestly dont know when the change took place yet but on my builds I do plan to do one with bolted and 2 with stamped versions. I will try and upload a video of a GP9 with the 4 fans and stamped stanchions when I can, phones not work right on the train today…

The etches are not to bad honestly, though I havent done anything to start using them yet but I thought they where what Eric used. I am assuming they go into the body pretty much as Eric described the ones he did though… Bob, will you blackening these before paint or just paint over them?

Got to run, Anthony

I got this pic from a Matt Peterson collection on If it works you can see the stamped stanchions with the 4 fans…

Thanks again Bob, for sharing this info! Unfortunately, Des Plaines only has 1 Handrail Stanchion set in stock for the early GP9, although they have 16 left of the later GP9. I wonder how effective a set of O Scale GP9 handrails would be coming out of a 3D printer. They’d probably be sturdier than the kit handrails and based on Gene Fusco’s custom 3D-printed G Scale experiences they’d definitely be easier to paint. :thinking:

Also unfortunately, of all of the stuff Dad has been able to grab during Intermountain’s pre-spring cleaning, there have been no lighting sprues. Anyone know where I could get a few of those? All my internet searches have left me hanging.

P&D handles OSA detail parts. The OSA 1032 is currently listed on their website, and in my experience, if it’s listed, it’s in stock.

The trick with finding the OSA parts on the P&D website is to look under the Custom Finishing tab. Des Plaines bought out the O scale Custom Finishing tooling a while back, and simply migrated the parts into the OSA branding, maintaining the same part numbers. Pat carried the parts when they were still Custom Finishing, and apparently still thinks of them in that light.

To Bob’s point in the original post, about the lack of images on the Des Plaines website, that has always been a problem. It used to be the same with P&D. However, P&D has really stepped up their game with photos while rebuilding the website after their server company packed up in the middle of the night. You can now see photos of most if not all of the detail parts offered, at least in O scale. And he has started in with the HO inventory as well, of which he has a ton of parts in stock. Pat doesn’t carry all of the OSA line, all of the time, and he won’t have things on the website that he doesn’t carry or are out of stock.

I’ll try to upload a pdf of the old Custom Finishing catalog that I got from Pat a couple of years ago. It has drawn images of any parts that were being produced up until the sale to Des Plaines, which would correspond to OSA 900 through OSA1052. Items in the OSA800 to OSA 899 range, as well as items above OSA1052, are tooling done independently of the Custom Finishing parts.

Between this Custom Finishing catalog, and the online PSC catalogs, plus now the photos on the P&D website, it’s a lot easier to know what you are buying before you lay your money down.


It appears that I cannot upload a pdf file here. If anybody can suggest an alternative method to share the file, please pipe up.


Junior -

There were a lot of GP9s with 4 fans, yet with the later stamped handrails, so feel free to mix and match.

Junior -

3D printed handrails would be delicate. Go with the later brass OSA units! We work A&O horses hard and put them back in the barn while still wet. Even the brass stanchions on Overland brass sometimes get broken where they attach to the side frame.

Junior, a question:

So if your dad wants to build one GP9, and one early handrail set is available, what’s the problem? Or are there more than one in the mix? Hmm?

Thanks for the additional info. The 3D printing was just something that popped into my head so I threw it out there, not knowing the differences in plastic types, densities, etc. Certainly good to know!

And Jim, I found them on the P&D site, they’re listed under “CUF1032” as opposed to “OSA.” As to the PDF documents, maybe screenshot each page and upload the resulting JPG/BMP/PNG file?

I thought about converting them to jpg’s. I’ll probably do that tomorrow.

As an additional point, talk to Pat at P&D about the light tubes. He’s got plenty of spare parts sprues for the Red Caboose gp’s for things like the fans and handrails. He may have clear sprues as well. I can’t remember from the shows, but then I never have really been looking for those parts.

Also, if you order from P&D, try to talk to Pat. They have a standard flat rate shipping price, but he will normally adjust it for shipping things like small parts. If you talk to one of the other guys, they have a tendency to stick to the published info on shipping costs.

“…there have been no lighting sprues. Anyone know where I could get a few of those?”

Hey Jr, I have a couple of extras, I’ll bring them on Saturday.


I can help you with the lighting sprues.


Thanks for the responses, all. Good to know people have each other’s backs in this hobby!

Bob, Dad was given one undec GP9 when he started at Intermountain the first time, the plan with that one is a surprise, one that I think will be enjoyed by more than one person here. When he started at Intermountain the second time a few weeks ago, he found 2 undec shells and was given a decorated Pennsy shell, so we have 4 of them in the works!

Also, he was told to go through a large stack of decals they found and throw anything away he didn’t think would suffice. I delivered the O Scale decals to David at the last session, there were a bunch of N Scale Pennsy decals that we found a home for, there were a few more HO decals that he couldn’t quite figure out to do with (I think we still have them), and he kept several sets for himself…including 2 O Scale locomotive sets, so 2 of the GP9s will get those decals, while 1 will get A&O livery.

Those 2 are the first ones I’m working on, as a pair of guinea pigs before diving into the more details of the A&O and the surprise GP9.