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Hello 2-railers!  I picked up a Weaver Missouri Pacific GP38-2 a few days ago.  After repairing a broken u-joint, it now runs well.

Weaver 2R GP38-2 2Weaver 2R GP38-2 5

I've read that it's not an accurate model of a GP38-2, but the price was right.  There are a few things I plan on changing:  Mopac GP38s & GP38-2s did not have dynamic brakes, so I'll make this one non-DB.  I plan to shave off the molded grabs and add wire grabs, and maybe add lift rings.  I'll add cab window glazing, sunshades and replace the fans.  The blue paint Weaver used is too dark, and the road number font and spacing is incorrect, so I'll repaint it in Modelflex 16-86 Mopac Blue and add some custom decals.  I'm planning on renumbering it to MP #2137:

It won't be perfect, but will be a little closer to what Mopac had.

Question:  The previous owner had glued the delrin stanchions to the sill, which were broken in a few spots.  I plan to upgrade the side handrails to brass wire with either Precision Scale brass or plastic stanchions.  Has anyone used Precision's plastic stanchions and how they hold up versus brass?  Any feedback is welcomed.




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Original Post

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Thanks Mark.  I couldn't figure out how to remove the truck side frames, but saw a post from you back in 2015 that they are press-fit.  I was able to remove the wheelsets, so I may cheat and just paint these assembled and not chance breaking something.  One of the axle gears on the front truck is chewed up a bit and not meshing well with the worm gear, causing a noticeable bad spot when turning by hand.  Looks like P&D has the parts I need.  The body and sill are soaking in 91% alcohol.

I remove Weaver sideframes by putting a pair of needle-nose pliers in between the two center posts, inside the truck frame, and opening the pliers. At least one of the frames will pop out.

Edit:- just to add that P&D also do a 'flush glazing' set for the Weaver GP38, too, which is very nice & helps disguise how thick the cab walls are.

That's a good approach, regarding the side frames. 👍

Hmm... wonder if they have a similar window set for the RS3...?

Mark in Oregon

Last edited by Strummer

Good stuff!  Thanks!  I have the P&D GP38 cab glazing on my list, but was waiting for the Atlas GP15 cab glazing to show up first.  The Atlas glazing has the wiper detail molded onto the panes, so I'm thinking about adding some separate wipers to the P&D windows instead of using the GP15 windows.

Atlas parts were sent to the wrong zip code, so hoping USPS figures it out.  In the meantime I ordered some stuff from Des Plaines Hobbies:  a replacement axle gear (one of mine is cracked), GP/SD38-2 fan hatch and radiator screens, and fuel tank filler and gauge details.  The Weaver radiator grilles were bugging me.  They extend too far and should only cover the rear four doors, about halfway over the 5th door from the rear.  In the first photo, you can see that they extend over 5 1/2 doors, a door too far.  I also removed the fans since they were centered on the grilles and were too far apart.  We'll see if the Atlas SD40 fans on the way will work.  The brake cover will use the Weaver square blower box and a section from an Atlas non-DB GP15 cover.  The width of the Weaver GP38-2 and Atlas GP15-1 shells seems dead on. 


The Des Plaines grilles are the corrugated style, so I'm changing the model to #2254, one of the (52) former Rock Island Phase 1c GP38-2s that Mopac bought after The Rock went under:

These had corrugated grilles, square blower housings, cab vent on the engineer side, and old-style EMD square font on the number boards.

Thanks again for the tips and info!



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Thanks guys!  The Atlas parts showed up, so it's now officially a non-DB geep.  I also roughed in the new fans based on Michael Eby's Phase 1c drawing:

The forward fan may need to go back - I'll figure it out final locations when the new radiator grilles show up. 

The Atlas GP15-1 cab windows were a bust and don't fit the Weaver cab openings, so I'll add a P&D window set to the order.  That's OK since they were cheap.  Now I'll install separate wipers and do it right.  I was hoping to hang the bell high on the long hood, but the former Rock Island GP38-2s all had bells under the frame, so I'll need to fill the slot on the brake cover.  A few more pics of the progress:


Have a good night!



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Quick update.  Holes for wire drop grabs were drilled.  Radiator grilles installed.  Fans roughed in.  Waiting for parts from P&D.  A big thank you to them - I ordered an HO horn by mistake, so they called me to confirm instead of shipping the wrong part.  Now, should I move the sight window to the correct door...hmmm




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From what I've read, the corrugated radiator grilles were introduced on Phase "1c2" GP38-2s.  The  Rock bought the between September and November 1976.  At least four units in that order had wire grilles (4300-4302, 4312), with pics of 4306 and up with corrugated grilles.  Mopac got ROCK 4300-4351 in the R-I bankruptcy.

Last night I got the brass stanchions cleaned and glued to the handrail wire.  Today I kept the razor saw busy and hacked off the thin "air tank" detail from the sill and made new tanks from 1/4" tubing.  I also cut off the pilot footboards and the batten strip at the back of the dynamic brake cover to use with my non-DB cover.  Most of the grab irons are glued, except those that will interfere with the Mopac chevron stripes - those will be added after decaling.  I also assembled the Nathan P5 horn.  Based on pics, the P5 looks close to what Mopac inherited from The Rock.  I also added an MU connector to the front, and fit an Atlas GP15 snow plow.  I'm not a fan of the wide coupler opening so I may upgrade it to a nice brass one if this thing looks good in primer.  I got some 24ga. eye pins to use for lift rings, but they look too big, so based on searches on the forum I'll probably go with Precision Scale #48278 (brass eye bolts, 0.030" dia., 12 count).

Thanks for the comments!  They motivate me to keep going on this.IMG_1721IMG_1722IMG_1724IMG_1725IMG_1728


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Last edited by Tim Mc

Last night I finished up the spark arrestors, which were a very visible feature on many Mopac GP38-2s.  These were made with Evergreen #258 3/16" x 5/16" rectangular tubing with the sides cut down with a razor saw and with 0.040" x 0.100" styrene strip cut, beveled, and added to the ends.  Wire screen was cut to fit, folded and inserted from the bottom of the arrestor base.  I glued some scrap styrene inside the stack and mounted them with a short piece of brass wire and CA.



Not satisfied with Precision Scale's sunshade kit, I decided to make my own using styrene channel for the sunshade guide.  Sunshades are made from a tougher plastic I had, and were pinned with brass wire into the cab sides.  In the pic below you can see I also added some ribs to the blower duct to match the prototype.


I also wasn't happy with the snow plow, so I started goofing around with some scrap styrene.  Brass plows are $20+, so a few beers and some spare styrene pieces seems like a good deal to me.  I think this one turned out OK, and may take another crack at it.  MU hoses were made by drilling into the Weaver pilot detail and gluing brass wire, then stripping some black electrical wire and using the insulation for hoses.  The "hoses" aren't glued yet, so a few of the brass wires are visible for now.


I am waiting for brass lift rings since the 24ga. eye pins I got are too large.  I may also shave off the cast cut levers and redo them with brass wire and lift rings.  That's it for now. 

Have a good week!



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Thanks guys!  It's all one color now - pics to follow later today. 

atlpete, I was going to first use Modelflex gray primer, but Modelflex states that dark colors don't require primer, so I shot the parts just with Modelflex Mopac blue with good coverage.

Greg, I've had to reglue a few stanchions, so I'm second-guessing my decision to use brass.  The short ones don't have much surface area for gluing.  I should have soldered a section of brass wire to bend and secure through the sill.  The lift bars were trial and error until I got the look of the prototype.  To save on wire, I should have drawn a template to follow.  It only took a few tries, and I started from the middle and worked my way outward.



A few pics of it in solid blue.  Not my best airbrushing, but it's covered!  Sill striping, chevron stripes and builders plates are added.  I am redoing the cab logo decals to better match the paint.  Funny thing, the Weaver number board detail on the cab is smaller than the number boards on the rear of the long hood, so I made decals to trim for each.  Some may notice that I cut the tabs from the fuel tank halves.  I am planning on gluing the fuel tank shell to the large tank weight and mounting the fuel tank to the base/sill differently than Weaver did.  The drive shafts will still be visible, but at least the tank will look more prototypical from the sides.


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Last edited by Tim Mc

Thanks Mike!  Here are some pics of the mostly finished model.  It's definitely not perfect, but should be a good runner that looks more like a Mopac GP38-2.  The paint finish is a bit rough as the airbrush and Modelflex paint weren't cooperating.  I decided not to strip and respray as it was "good enough".  I did not relocate the sight window.  I still need to weather it a bit and add window wipers.  I also included a few pics of an Atlas GP15-1 I did a few years ago with the same paint color.  The GP38-2 turned out a shade lighter.  By the way, I really like the Weaver Pittman tower drive and can see why some prefer it over the twin upright motors.


Thanks to all for the comments!



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Thanks Mike and Pat!

I kept this a simple DC operation, at least for now.  Once I build the "real" layout I'll probably add DCC and maybe sound.  The Sunset/3rd Rail SD40-2s I have on order will get me motivated.

The stripes and chevrons are Virnex #9151, 7/64" white.  The other decals were based on artwork I had made for my GP15s years ago, printed on white inkjet decal paper and sealed with clear gloss.  The hood numbers were a pain as I had to trim those by hand with a #11 X-Acto.  I noticed that one of the "7"s was too short on its top line, so that has been extended another 2mm.  There is a very thin white edge on the cab decals, which I may touch up.  I tried using a matching blue Sharpie on the edges before soaking the decals, but that didn't work.  To avoid the white edge, I could have done what I did on my GP15s.  For those I printed the cab logos on clear decal paper, which went over a slightly smaller white background, eliminating the white edge. 

Have a good week!


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