The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Kemtron GP-7

I have wanted to post a photo of the OO scale Kemtron GP-7 for a long time. Finally, this past week, I made some decisions about a couple issues that had me stuck in the rebuilding process of this model, a 2002 eBay purchase, and it is now running and ready to paint!

This is a Kemtron GP-7. When it came to me I believe it had been built up completely then stripped and was being worked over by a predecessor when they for whatever reason abandoned the project. I suspect part of the reason was the drive. I fiddled with it a while but decided that the original Lindsay drive unit was pretty much a lost cause due to gear issues. Another drive I knew would work was the power truck from a version of the Tyco GP-20, with the horizontal motor in the drive truck. In the description of this model here they call it the “PowerTorque” drive truck. A few years ago I re-gauged one and had the model to where it ran with it but was not sure how to mount it and if I wanted to use it or go with other options. So it sat for several years but finally I decided to go with the drive at least for now. It has under scale wheelsets but they are not very obvious and the wheelbase is correct. There were a few other repairs to do, I needed to add a weight, etc., and yesterday it all came together and it runs fairly well! Someday I would like to put in a better drive, however. UPDATE: It now has a better drive (and paint).

As to the model itself, I have the original instructions and they begin “This GP-7 Locomotive was produced by Kemtron as a test to see if limited production in OO scale is feasible.” It was priced on the instructions as $27.50 for a complete kit (soldered) and $20 for a complete but unsoldered kit. The Kemtron-Lindsay drive would set you back an additional $16.50, and all of the parts were available as well as items for separate purchase.

It is a somewhat rare item that I am very glad to own. I also have one more example of this model, nicely built up with vintage paint and decals. It is also not operable and has a Baker drive unit that I believe can be returned to operation with some TLC. I was however waiting to get this one set first, and after this one gets past paint and decals that model will be one closer to being up to work on. But there are other things I will be working on first.

Introduced in 1953, as you can see in the photo this etched brass kit built up into a very fine model comparable to the brass models imported in that same time frame. One to certainly keep your eyes peeled for.

UPDATE: This model may be seen in operation in this video (with a Kemtron-Lindsay drive).

ALSO: For more on the introduction of this model in 1953 see this article.

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