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In-Box Review
HO scale
ALCo C-420 Phase 2
C-420 PH.2B LN Silver Delaware & Hudson [Ex L&HR] #401
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

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This Atlas' HO C-420 PH.2B LN, in Delaware & Hudson [Ex L&HR] livery, is this model's seventh release since November 2006. Atlas' HO C-420 is part of their premium Master Line range. This review is of a Silver Series model, item 10002950. It is also available in the Gold Series. The Silver Series operate by DC while the Gold Series feature DCC {Digital Command Control) and a sound system. The DC model features and NMRA-standard 8-pin socket for modelers, who choose to do so, to upgrade to DCC. The Gold DCC system is dual-mode, allowing the model to run DCC or DC.

What's the difference? Read these features:
    Newly redesigned AAR type B truck sideframes with optional bearing covers
    Flat or “step” pilots used where appropriate
    Long hood with or without dynamic brake detail used where appropriate
    3,100 gallon fuel tank
    Long Island Railroad units will feature correct air horn placement and include smoke deflectors for the long hood as well as Bowser Hi-AD trucks

    Additional Features:

    Separately-applied scale detail parts include: windshield wipers, metal grab irons, coupler cut levers, multiple-unit hoses, train line hoses, fine scale handrails, drop steps, cab sun shades and more!
    See through step detail on sill
    Etched metal radiator walkway
    Painted crew members
    Factory-equipped with AccuMate® knuckle couplers
    Coupler pocket designed to accept AccuMate® Proto-couplers
    Five-pole skewed armature motor with dual flywheels for optimum performance at all speeds
    Directional lighting with golden-white LEDs

    Atlas Master™ Series Silver Additional Features:

    NMRA 8-pin plug for DCC (Decoder-ready)

    Sound Features for Gold Series:

    DCC Operation

    Supports all DCC-programming modes
    Flexible mapping of function keys F0 to F28.
    A total of six DCC function outputs are available
    Follows all NMRA DCC standards and recommended practices.

    Analog (DC) Operation

    The LokSound Select Dual-Mode decoder allows your Atlas Gold Series locomotive to be used on DC as well as on DCC layouts.
    Please note that the Atlas Quantum Engineer will NOT operate an Atlas Gold Series locomotive equipped with a LokSound Select decoder on an analog (DC) layout. However, the sound and lighting functions of the LokSound Select decoder in the Atlas Gold Series C424/425 locomotive can be controlled by an easy-to-use basic DCC system
    Also note that on a DC-powered layout, a DCC and sound equipped locomotive (such as the Atlas Gold Series C424/425) CANNOT be consisted with another locomotive that does not also have both DCC and sound. (This statement does NOT apply to DCC-equipped locomotives operating on a DCC layout.)

    Sound Functionality

    Over 20 sound effects are available, including engine start-up and shutdown, prime mover sounds through all eight notches, bell, air horn, air compressor, dynamic brakes and more.
    There are 16 user-selectable horns, 2 user-selectable bells, and 2 user-selectable synchronized brake squeals.
    Manual and Automatic Notching modes with the ability to change modes ”on the fly” are provided for true realism.

Atlas tells us of the C420;
    ALCo built a total of 131 Century 420 locomotives between 1963 and 1969, when the builder ceased all new locomotive production.

    Powered by a 12-cylinder, turbocharged, 2,000-hp 251-series prime mover, the C420’s direct competitor in 1963 was the EMD GP18. In fact, EMD did not offer a 12-cylinder, 2,000-hp prime mover until the GP39 model was produced in 1969. The shorter 12-cylinder engine block allowed the C420 to have its distinctive set-back cab and extended short hood.

    The first road to purchase the C420 was the Lehigh & Hudson River, with its first two units built in 1963. The largest fleet was purchased by the Long Island Railroad, with 30 units built between 1963 and 1968. All were equipped with a high short hood which housed a steam generator for passenger service. Over time, the largest fleet of C420s was amassed by the Louisville & Nashville. While only 26 units were purchased new, their total fleet grew to well over 60 units through mergers and acquisitions. The C420 can still be found in daily service today in the US. Currently the largest fleet of C420s is operated by the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad.

This Model
Atlas securely packages this model in a multi-layer package. The model is secured to a plastic base with a pair of screws; that base is held in a plastic cradle that protects the model from both ends, and the top; foam blocks protect the model from the plastic cradle scuffing it; that assemblage is contained by a plastic sleeve that is finally packed into the end-opening carton. It is a very effective system to keep the model safe and damage-free.

Inside that packaging is the model (obviously) with a baggie of optional detail parts, and an illustrated exploded-view parts list.

This model consists of a cast metal frame with a plastic sills and bodies. The model has a modular design allowing Atlas to model bodies for specific prototype railroads:
    Low nose, two types
    High nose
    Phase 1 body with dynamic brake
    Phase 1 body without dynamic brake
    Phase 2 body with dynamic brake
    Phase 2 body without dynamic brake
    Phase 1 or 2 sills
    Phase 1 or 2 handrail systems
    Phase 1 or 2 anticlimbers
    Phase 1 or 2 exhaust stack
    Large or small fuel tank
How many combinations are possible, prototype or freelance?

Atlas cut highly detailed tooling for this model. The surface detail is both raised and recessed, as appropriate. Engine access doors and battery compartment doors are sharply molded, as are intake and exhaust grilles. Equally well molded are characteristics such as window and door combing, rain gutters over the windows, headlight collars, and more. However, for a Master Line model, the grilles are not molded open; some Master Line models I've seen have open grilles with photo-etched screens, some don't.

Except for the sunshades and antennas, all parts are factory-applied. Skillfully, indeed. No de-spruing burrs nor glue spots.

The locomotive rides upon Association of American Railroads (AAR) type B trucks. I don't know how many C420s were eventually reequipped with other trucks, like Blombergs, but Atlas' parts sheet does not mention that option.

Separately-applied scale plastic and metal detail parts further enhance the model, including:
    • cab sun shades
    • coupler cut levers
    • drop steps
    • fine scale handrails
    • metal grab irons
    • brake cylinders
    • road pilot or footboards
    • bell
    • multiple-unit hoses
    • sand filler cap
    • Firecracker or Sinclair antennas
    • hand brake
    • train line hoses
    • windshield wipers
An engineer and fireman crew the cab. Quite a feast for detail eyes.

Paint and Finish
Atlas' paint is thin, uniform, opaque, and yet obscure no detail. Printing and demarcation between colors is razor-sharp. I look at the boundaries along the raised and recessed surface detail and wonder just how the colors are applied?

I am not well versed on Northeastern railroads or their liveries. However, the Lehigh & Hudson River RR gray and blue scheme that D&H took possession of looks very accurate. Judge for yourself with these images of the real D&H 401 via Click here for additional images for this review, at the bottom of this review. Looking at the ol' girl also demonstrates why, when painting railroad models, for maximum accuracy and authenticity one must ask what year am I trying to model?

This ex-L&HR unit does not have much in the way of data stenciling. Regardless, it possesses a cool aesthetics, reminiscent of the United States Air Force air superiority schemes that appeared in the mid-1970s. That is irrelevant to this review but I like these colors so I am particularly agreeable to this model.

These are the roadnames for this release:
    Delaware & Hudson (Blue/Light Gray/Yellow)
    Lehigh & Hudson River (Blue/Gray/White)
    Lehigh Valley (Gray/Yellow)
    Delaware & Hudson (Blue/Light Gray/Yellow)
    Lehigh Valley (Delaware-Lackawanna) (Gray/Yellow)
    Delaware-Lackawanna (White/Black/Gray)
    Delaware & Hudson (Ex LH&R) (Blue/Gray/White)
    Ohio Central (Maroon/Yellow)
    Lehigh & Hudson River (Blue/Gray/White)
    Monon (Black/Gold)
    Long Island (Blue/Yellow "As Delivered")
Most of the road names feature more than one road number. Undecorated versions are available, too.

Dimensions, Weight, and Performance
A C420 is 55' 5" from pilot to pilot, and a coupled length of 60' 3". This model scales out to 56' 9" pilot to pilot, and 59' 9" between couplers. It weighs 14.9 ounces. That should allow it to pull a freight train of approximately 34 cars long (weighted per NMRA RP20.1) on level tangent track. I read somewhere that it should be good on 18" radius curves. Atlas hung the knuckle couplers at the correct height, per a Kadee coupler gauge.

The can motor with flywheel assembly, transmission linkage and gearing gives a smooth performance. I tested this unit on Atlas code 83 track, across a No. 6 turnout, and a Peco code 80 slip switch. The good news is the model runs smooth and quiet. The bad news is that the minimum breakaway speed is a drag racing 11 mph.

Let the Light Shine
This model is equipped with golden-white LEDs for illumination. Headlights and number boards illuminate. The lighting is directional.

I think Atlas has released another high-class and -quality locomotive with this HO C-420 PH.2B. It features smooth and quiet performance, directional lighting, and high detail. There are scores of separately-applied metal, photo-etched, and plastic detail parts. I appreciate that Atlas made it modular to offer as close to a prototype loco as practical. The paint and lettering is incomparable.

My complaints are the high minimum start speed and the lack of open grilles for intakes and dynamic brake fan.

HO ALCo lovers can rejoice over this model. Atlas has released a great looking and running model. Whether you buy the Silver or Gold version of this model, you should be very happy with it. Recommended.

Please remember to mention to Atlas and retailers that you saw this model here - on RailRoad Modeling.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Scores of separately-applied metal, photo-etched, and plastic detail parts.
Lows: Minimum starting speed is high. No open grilles for intakes and dynamic brake fan.
Verdict: HO ALCo lovers can rejoice over this great looking and running model. Whether you buy the Silver or Gold version of this model, you should be very happy with it.
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: 10002950
  Related Link: Atlas HO C420 Archive
  PUBLISHED: Feb 15, 2020
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Great review and the model looks good Fred, just needs a touch of weathering.
FEB 16, 2020 - 02:36 AM

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