Model Railroad News Product Reviews’s Unique C&NW SD45s

You’ve never seen a model of EMD’s SD45 in HO scale like this before! From either end the amazing signature Chicago & North Western features are apparent on’s Rivet Counter model.’s Unique C&NW SD45s

by Andy Dorsch /model photos by Shane T. Mason’s release of its first group of SD45 diesel locomotive models presents a unique and uncommon example of this popular mid-1960s prototype. For the first time ever in plastic HO, Chicago & North Western (C&NW) enthusiasts can purchase an accurate reprodution of the road’s original SD45 units. While HO-scale SD45s have been around since the prototype was in production a half century ago, has brought something totally new to the market.


Above: Chicago & North Western 904 was ready to work on what appears to be a cold, but sunny, early 1967 day at Proviso Yard in the Chicago area. – Jim Boyd photo, Kevin EuDaly collection

Above: The rear view of the locomotive brings the SD45’s distinctive flared radiator into perspective. packed a tremendous amount of prototypical detail into the radiator grilles and radiator fans on this HO-scale Rivet Counter reproduction.

I could not believe my luck that I would get to do a second Rivet Counter locomotive review for Model Railroad News, let alone one of the hobby company’s new EMD SD45 locomotives. Going back to my childhood in the 1980s and 1990s, models for SD45s were uncommon and finding them in Chicago & North Western was even more of a rarity. I know that other manufacturers released SD45s between my childhood days and today. Life-Like had its Proto 2000-series SD45s, Kato had a release of this locomotive in the 1990s, and in later years Walthers would put out a release of the engine as well (using Life-Like’s tooling as the basis for a Walthers Proto release). However, by the time those locomotives came around I would be on a “model railroading hiatus” (due to cars and girls), and those offerings would pass me by.

Fast forward to today, and has released its version of EMD’s SD45. To my delight, their first release of this locomotive included a Chicago & North Western road name and it wasn’t reproducing ex-Conrail or ex-Burlington Northern versions with dynamic brakes. released C&NW’s original SD45s — the ones without dynamic brakes! To my knowledge the only HO-scale C&NW SD45s without dynamic brakes were only available in brass; has made them available in plastic, much to the delight of the Chicago & North Western modelers! is offering the Rivet Counter model of this version of EMD’s SD45 with six different road numbers for C&NW (943, 958, 962, 965, 974, and 976), each available in standard DC or with factory-installed Digital Command Control (DCC) and sound. My review will focus on a DCC and sound version (C&NW 965).

Rivet Counter series HO-scale
SD45 diesel locomotive

with DCC and sound
Chicago & North Western 965
SXT32172, Inc.
7598 Highway 411
Benton, TN 37307

About the Author – Andy has been a regular Model Railroad News contributor for several years. Andy Dorsch and his family reside in Wisconsin. Andy is an active model railroader building and operating his HO-scale C&NW Marshline Subdivision set in the 1970s. Check out Andy’s YouTube Channel and Facebook page for updates, how-to videos, and more. 

November 2020Read the rest of this review and see more pictures in the November 2020 issue of Model Railroad News!

This article was posted on: October 21, 2020