Athearn has posted on their Facebook page that there are errors in the shell of their new Genesis GP7/9 models. Specifically, they says the side doors and grills are .04″ low and the cab side front and rear windows are .02″ high. To their credit, Athearn has not only acknowledged the errors, but committed to fixing the tooling. Several runs of the GP7/9s have already shipped, including the Pennsylvania (PRR), Southern Pacific (SP), Seaboard Air Line (SAL), and Union Pacific (UP). However, those that are announced, but haven’t shipped, will have the corrected dimensions. These include the Boston & Maine (B&M), New York Central (NYC) and Nickel Plate (NKP). Future models will also use the new tooling.
This is a bit of a complicated issue. On the one hand, I’d like to commend Athearn for fixing the issue. On the other hand, you have to ask yourself how something like this can slip though the cracks, especially after the errors were identified on pre-production models. Did they really not notice it? If they did and initially decided not to fix it, but are now, what made them change their minds? Like most things, it probably came down to dollars and cents. Of the four roads already produced, the errors are most noticeable on the SAL and UP models because of their paint schemes. It would be nice if Athearn offers to swap the shells if they re-run affected models in the future.
Here’s Athearn’s full statement (it’s getting harder to find as it’s pushed down the wall on Facebook):
Concerning Athearn Genesis GP7 and GP9 products: some dimensional discrepancies on these products have been pointed out and we regret any inconvenience to our customers. Some small measurement errors occurred in the development process and were not realized until after the first models were shipped. In order to address these issues we have measured actual full scale units in detail and are in the process of making the necessary tooling changes to ensure that, while our measurements show the current model is already the most accurate reproduction available, the revisions will make it even more so. These changes are limited to moving the side doors and grilles up .040″, and the cab side front and rear windows down .020″, but since these changes are important to our customers they are most important to Athearn. Already announced road names to be produced with the changes include the Santa Fe Zebra Stripe, New York Central, Boston & Maine and NKP, as well as any future announcements. We sincerely regret any inconvenience to our customers and continually endeavor to produce the most realistic, accurate, and affordable model railroad products in the industry.