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N Scale - Life-Like - 920-75011 - Locomotive, Diesel, EMD GP38-2 - Rock Island - 4379

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N Scale - Life-Like - 920-75011 - Locomotive, Diesel, EMD GP38-2 - Rock Island - 4379


Brand Life-Like
Stock Number 920-75011
Manufacturer Walthers
Body Style Life-Like Diesel Engine GP38-2
Prototype Locomotive, Diesel, EMD GP38-2 (Details)
Road or Company Name Rock Island (Details)
Road or Reporting Number 4379
Paint Color(s) Blue, White and Black
Print Color(s) Black and White
Paint Scheme The Rock
Coupler Type AccuMate Magnetic Knuckle
Wheel Type Chemically Blackened Metal
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Body Material Injection Molded Plastic
DCC Readiness Friendly
Announcement Date 2006-05-19
Release Date 2006-10-01
Item Category Locomotives
Model Type Diesel
Model Subtype EMD
Model Variety GP38-2
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era IV: 2nd Gen Diesel (1958 - 1978)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: This model was first released by Life-Like in 1988. It was later made by Life-Like for Bev-Bel in the early 1990's. It was overhauled in 2006. After the acquisition by Walthers, it was again updated in 2015 and sold under the Walthers N brand. This has always been an economy model that runs well and doesn't cost as much as the Kato and Atlas equivalents.

The original design was a simple open-sided 5-pole motor with weights and truck-mounted rapido couplers. The 2006 version went to a split frame design with flywheels, LED lights and body mounted Accumate couplers. The motor is NOT isolated from the frame so this version is not DCC-Ready. The 2015 version does accept a drop-in decoder and is DCC-Ready. This most recent Walthers version has Micro-Trains couplers.

DCC Information: The early 1988 version is not DCC anything.
The 2006 redo is marginally DCC-Friendly. A DCC decoder installation for this version can be found on Brad Myers' N-scale DCC decoder installs blog and in this article. Using a drop-in decoder for Atlas locos is also possible, pending some modification of the chassis and some soldering, as shown on the same article.

The 2015 version is fully DCC-Ready, and will accept the following drop-in decoders:
- Digitrax DN163L0A: 1 Amp N Scale Mobile Decoder for Walthers/life-Like Proto GP20 and similar locos
- TCS L1D4 (Installation in Life-Like GP20, very similar to this GP38-2)

Prototype History:
The EMD GP38-2 is a four-axle diesel-electric locomotive of the road switcher type built by General Motors, Electro-Motive Division. Part of the EMD Dash 2 line, the GP38-2 was an upgraded version of the earlier GP38. Power is provided by an EMD 645E 16-cylinder engine, which generates 2000 horsepower (1.5 MW). Most built still remain in service in the modern era due to ease of maintenance and exceptional reliability.

The GP38-2 differs externally from the earlier GP38 only in minor details. Its most distinctive identifying feature is the cooling water level sight glass on the right side of the long hood. The battery box covers of the Dash 2s are bolted down instead of hinged. It can be distinguished from the contemporary GP39-2 and GP40-2 in that its Roots blown engine had two exhaust stacks, one on each side of the dynamic brake fan, if equipped, while the turbocharged GP39-2 and GP40-2 has a single stack. The GP39-2 has two radiator fans on the rear of the long hood like the GP38-2, while the GP40-2 has three. It was also available with either a high-short-hood, common on Norfolk Southern units, or a low-short-hood, which is found on most other railroads.

From Wikipedia

Road Name History:
The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (CRI&P RR) (reporting marks RI, ROCK) was a Class I railroad in the United States. It was also known as the Rock Island Line, or, in its final years, The Rock. At the end of 1970 it operated 7183 miles of road on 10669 miles of track; that year it reported 20557 million ton-miles of revenue freight and 118 million passenger-miles. (Those totals may or may not include the former Burlington-Rock Island Railroad.)

Its predecessor, the Rock Island and La Salle Railroad Company, was incorporated in Illinois on February 27, 1847, and an amended charter was approved on February 7, 1851, as the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad. Construction began October 1, 1851, in Chicago, and the first train was operated on October 10, 1852, between Chicago and Joliet. Construction continued on through La Salle, and Rock Island was reached on February 22, 1854, becoming the first railroad to connect Chicago with the Mississippi River.

In 1980 Rock Island was liquidated. The railroad's locomotives, rail cars, equipment, tracks, and real estate were sold to other railroads or to scrappers. William Gibbons (the trustee) was able to raise more than $500 million in the liquidation, paying off all the railroad's creditors, bondholders and all other debts in full at face value with interest. Henry Crown was ultimately proven correct, as both he and other bondholders who had purchased Rock Island debt for cents on the dollar during the low ebb in prices did especially well.

Read more on Wikipedia and Rock Island Technical Society.

Brand/Importer Information:
Life-Like Products LLC (now Life-Like Toy and Hobby division of Wm. K. Walthers) was a manufacturer of model railroad products and was based in Baltimore, Maryland.

It was founded in the 1950s by a company that pioneered extruded foam ice chests under the Lifoam trademark. Because ice chests are a summer seasonal item, the company needed a way to keep the factory operating year round. As model railroading was becoming popular in the post-war years, they saw this as an opportunity and so manufactured extruded foam tunnels for model trains. Over the years, Life-Like expanded into other scenery items, finally manufacturing rolling stock beginning in the late 1960s. At some point in the early 1970s, Life-Like purchased Varney Inc. and began to produce the former Varney line as its own.

The Canadian distributor for Life-Like products, Canadian Hobbycraft, saw a missing segment in market for Canadian model prototypes, and started producing a few Canadian models that were later, with a few modifications, offered in the US market with US roadnames.

In 2005, the company, now known as Lifoam Industries, LLC, decided to concentrate on their core products of extruded foam and sold their model railroad operations to Wm. K. Walthers.

In June 2018, Atlas and Walthers announced to have reached an agreement under which all Walthers N scale rolling stock tooling, including the former Life-Like tooling, will be purchased by Atlas.

Read more on Wikipedia and The Train Collectors Association.

Item created by: Alain LM on 2017-05-23 17:50:32. Last edited by gdm on 2018-03-06 19:50:45

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