Adding a CN Comfort Cab to the Athearn C44-9W
I have tried really hard to not get carried
away in detailing my C44-9W that I have in Canadian National. Why?
Because CN does some very major alterations to their locomotives.
Pilots have ditch lights front and back. There is a small wedge shaped
plow on the rear pilot and the most noticeable of all are the cabs.
I don't think I have seen a single C44 here in Calgary with the factory
GE cab. The most prominent cabs I see are the "Australian" cabs.
These are tricky to describe. They have the side windows of a comfort
cab with nose of the GE cab, but the angled corners are much more pronounced
and the front windows look more like that of a 2 windows EMD SD70 unit.
The cab that I purchased is of Canadian
design. It is a standard "Canadian Comfort Cab" with 4 windows across
the front. It is manufactured by H&D's Own and is made of resin.
It has dimples for the wire details on the front and dimples for the side
railings to enter on the side. Both the doors have dimples for the
door handles to be installed. H&D did an outstanding job with
the cab, it has very nice detail molded on and looks really sharp.
Well worth the $19.95+tax I paid for it. I removed the old cab off
the loco and placed the new on and it fit like a glove.
The window openings need to be cleaned
out as there is a film of resin across all the openings. A knife
and a file fixes this up fine. That was the only flash I had to remove
from the whole cab. I drilled out the hole for the grab irons and
the windshield wipers. I installed all the grab irons but didn't
glue the second one up from the bottom. I will need to be able to
remove it so I can apply the CN "wet noodle" on the nose. I then
primed the whole thing with a black spray paint. Once that was dry
and things look good and ready I sprayed it with Badger Model flex Southern
Pacific Daylight Red (16-36 ). This paint is an almost perfect match
for the Athearn red that the unit comes with. A few coats airbrushed
over the black and it is now looking good. The new cab, like the
old, doesn't have to be glued to the shell. The railings hold it
in place nicely. The Lights have yet to be drilled out on the nose.
I already have bulbs in place from the old cab and mounting them in place
will be easy. At this point I need to find numbers for the sides
and the small lettering designating the unit the go below, as well as the
CN logo for the front.
I am not aware of any aftermarket window
sets for the Canadian Comfort Cabs, I have one from Cannon and Company
that came with flush fit windows. Unfortunately it only has the sliding
side window. With a little filling I got the windows into the front
and the side. The first and last window on the side, as well as the
rear windows still have to be done. I talked to H&D about the
windows and they suggested cutting clear styrene to fit. I will probably
do this for the remaining windows as they are of a standard rectangular
shape. I ended up using left over trees from two AMI Laser cut windows
for the Athearn SD40-2. I was able to obtain enough clear area to
be cut and filed to fill the remaining side windows. The two rear
windows were covered with the windows off the cab that provided the front
windows. The modification went suprisingly well as I was rather worried
about doing it so they fit well. There was one window on the side
that was a little short but I installed the clear so that the space was
at the top where it would be hidden by the sun shade. All that is
left now are the CN marking for the cab.
The Markings are now on and the completed unit has
been weathered. The above image shows the unit before the cab conversion
and then after with the new cab and weathering.
I am really pleased with how this small
project has gone and look forward now to doing the same to an SD40-2.