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N Scale - Kato USA - 176-010 - Engine, Diesel, GP38-2 - Undecorated

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N Scale - Kato USA - 176-010 - Engine, Diesel, GP38-2 - Undecorated Image courtesy of Kato USA


N Scale - Kato USA - 176-010 - Engine, Diesel, GP38-2 - Undecorated An image of the prototype.


Brand Kato USA
Stock Number 176-010
Original Retail Price $54.95
Manufacturer Kato
Body Style Kato Diesel Engine GP38-2
Prototype Description Engine, Diesel, GP38-2
Road or Company Name Undecorated (Details)
Paint Color(s) Undec
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Wheel Type Chemically Blackened Metal
DCC Readiness No
Release Date 1987-04-01
Item Category Locomotives
Model Type Diesel
Model Subtype EMD
Model Variety GP38-2



Model Information: Kato introduced this model in 1987 and then revised it in 1988. Prior to this release, all Kato manufactured engines were made in Japan but then imported and re-branded in the United States (mostly if not all) by Atlas. In 1987, Kato formed a wholly-owned subsidiary, Kato USA, to market their products directly to the North American consumer base. This engine represents the very first locomotive offering of this new enterprise.

This engine was not only interesting for being part of Kato USA's launch, but also because of its mechanical innovation. It features "blackened" locomotive wheels in combination with flywheels. Technically, this was not the first use of flywheels in an N-Scale engine, but certainly the Japanese engineers can be credited for making excellent use of them to produce a smooth running, quiet engine which has been emulated by every other major manufacturer.

Note that 2nd run of 1988 reused the same reference numbers as the 1st run, though the road numbers are different. 1st run models are labeled "GP38/GP38-2" on box, whereas 2nd run ones are labeled "GP38-2". Second run models have an "A" added to the Kato part number under the fuel tank.

DCC Information: No provision for DCC.
A wired DCC decoder installation is shown on Brad Myers' N-scale DCC decoder installs blog

Prototype Description: The Dash 2 locomotive series, unveiled by EMD in 1972, featured significant changes, such as a solid-state, modular electrical control system and improved engine components designed to increase traction and reduce exhaust emissions. A reliable work-horse, the GP38-2 remains one of the most successful locomotives ever built. Most are still in service today.
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.

Read more on Wikipedia.

Road Name History:
Although they may be molded in color, unpainted and unlettered, undecorated products are marketed to modelers who seek to custom decorate their models for private roads and/or road and/or company names that were not commercially produced by any of the major manufacturers.

Undecorated models are frequently also unassembled or only partially assembled and required modelers to be comfortable with glue, paint and sometimes solder in order to prepare their models for display. Materials for these models can vary but often include plastic, pewter and resin. Models may or may not come with decals or other decorations such as plastic signage, railings and ladders to enhance the appearance of the final product.


Brand/Importer Information:
KATO U.S.A. was established in 1986, with the first U.S. locomotive model (the GP38-2, in N-Scale) released in 1987. Since that time, KATO has come to be known as one of the leading manufacturers of precision railroad products for the modeling community. KATO's parent company, Sekisui Kinzoku Co., Ltd., is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

In addition to producing ready-to-run HO and N scale models that are universally hailed for their high level of detail, craftsmanship and operation, KATO also manufactures UNITRACK. UNITRACK is the finest rail & roadbed modular track system available to modelers today. With the track and roadbed integrated into a single piece, UNITRACK features a nickel-silver rail and a realistic-looking roadbed. Patented UNIJOINERS allow sections to be snapped together quickly and securely, time after time if necessary.

The Kato U.S.A. office and warehouse facility is located in Schaumburg, Illinois, approximately 30 miles northwest of Chicago. All research & development of new North American products is performed here, in addition to the sales and distribution of merchandise to a vast network of wholesale representatives and retail dealers. Models requiring service sent in by hobbyists are usually attended to at this location as well. The manufacturing of all KATO products is performed in Japan.

Supporters of KATO should note that there is currently no showroom or operating exhibit of models at the Schaumburg facility. Furthermore, model parts are the only merchandise sold directly to consumers. (Please view the Parts Catalog of this website for more specific information.)

Item created by: gdm on 2016-03-24 13:15:29. Last edited by gdm on 2016-03-24 13:15:30

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