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Locomotives

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Locomotives
Posted by countryman on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:00 PM

I'm just curious. What ho scale locomotive brands do you use.

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:08 PM

Uh oh. I have a bad feeling this is going to turn into a "which brand is the best and why you shouldn't buy the rest of them" thread. Please posters, don't do that again...

To answer your question, I tend to favor brands that are cheap(er) for the high quality they offer (e.g. Scaletrains) or ones that make upgradable models (e.g. kato). If I had a bit bigger budget, I would throw in more Kato, Athearn, Atlas, some Walters stuff, etc. But since I don't own any of those (except for the two old kato locos), I can't tell you. Bachmann IMHO is mostly useful for projects where the base model is accurate enough to make superdetailing worthwhile. Other than that, anything goes depending on specific criteria. I can always swap chassi, decoders, and shells or add details if I feel the need.

BNSF: Big and Noisy but Surely Fascinating!

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:12 PM

Stewart, the ones with Kato drives.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by oldline1 on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:13 PM

I have several favorites and it's hard to pin it down to a single one. My faves are Westside Model Co, Overland, KEY and Sunset.

oldline1

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Posted by countryman on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:19 PM
My bad, I need to change the wording of the post. Thanks
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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:20 PM

countryman
I'm just curious to know your opinion.

Yea,Confused OK,   I share BNSF's view, but anyway, I have a few Kato and Genesis locos, along with Atlas, BUT I love to rebuild and upgrade Athearn BB locos, I have many.  The hoods aren't right on older versions, but I still like'em.

Mike.

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:26 PM

The one that produces the road I model: New York Central.  There are, however, certain brands I do not purchase.  And I will forego mentioning which ones because it's a guarantee that someone will take issue with it.

Tom

[Edit: Apparently you changed your original question a 2nd time from "favorite brand" to "brands you use"...]

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by countryman on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:30 PM

Okay, thank you.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:36 PM

Hi countryman,

I don't have a single favourite brand.

I like InterMountain locomotives because they are affordable, reasonably well detailed, run beautifully and their customer service is exceptional.

I like older Kato and Atlas. Both can be had for very good prices. Both run very well.

I like LifeLike P2K and P1K. Decent detail, except that the plastic hand rails and other small details are too delicate.

Let me qualify the above by explaining my general buying decisions:

I don't buy DCC equipped locomotives. I prefer to install my own decoders. The only exceptions might be locomotives that come equipped with Loksound decoders. However, even there, I would be cautious because the Loksound decoders supplied with many locomotives may not have all the features that a decoder sold by Loksound directly would have. I ran into this with an InterMountain FP9 with factory sound. I wanted to install a reverse light as was Canadian Pacific's practise, but the locomotive didn't come with a reverse light so the decoder didn't have a reverse light function. I was able to work around the problem, but I could have spent $5.00 more and purchased a DC locomotive and a full functioned Loksound Select decoder separately.

I have purchased most of my 30 or so locomotives from eBay, but they were all new in the box or very lightly used. I have never been ripped off.

I'm not interested in the high end brands like Rapido. Their products are beautiful and I believe that their service is great, but they are simply too expensive. Maybe if I win the lottery.....Smile, Wink & Grin

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by RR_Mel on Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:26 PM

Well remember this is Weirdo Mel here. 
 
My favorite steam locomotives are Rivarossi Articulateds.  I have 19 restored and remotored Rivarossis, all run great!!!   All with added weight and they will pull your socks off.
 
My favorite diesels are Athearn SD40 frames with Cary E7 diesel shells, close to 2lbs per locomotive for super drawbar.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:26 PM

I have had locomotives from Athearn BlueBox (BB) and RTR,  Athearn Genesis, BLI BlueLine, BLI Paragon 2, Bachmann, Bachmann Spectrum, Bowser, Atlas (Both Kato-drive and non-Kato drive.), Atlas Trainman, Proto 2000, Proto 1000, LifeLike, Intermountain, IHC, Riverossi, Mantua, Tyco, AHM, Walthers, And a RailPower/Proto Power West unit.

I still have some of these ones, but not all. (And some do not run any longer.)

Those that did not fit my era, layout, or operations were sold, or given away, and a few that no longer ran were scrounged for spare parts or scrapped. And a couple became shelf queens.

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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Posted by OldEngineman on Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:57 PM

I've done well with older [LifeLike] Proto 2000, a few Walthers Proto, and some Atlas (not the latest runs).

I only bought one (my first) with dcc/sound pre-installed. I thought I'd like the sounds, but found they really don't do that much for me. I do like the smooth control that dcc offers.

So... most of what I have was bought afterwards was "dcc ready" (no decoder installed), and a few used ones with dcc installed already (but in almost all of them, I found I had to take the existing decoder OUT and put something newer in).

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, August 23, 2019 4:56 AM

I use Atlas Classic,Atlas /Kato,Atlas/Roco(S4s),Life Like P2K,Walthers P2K,P1K, Athearn BB,Athearn RTR,a Kato GP35,a BLI SW7 and a Scale Trains SD40-2. I also have a rebuilt Genesis/Kato GP9 and a Bachmann DCC/Sound S4..I have a buyer for these engines and my remaining cars.

Of course I have my United Models Santa Fe 2-8-0 and have my eyes on a United Santa Fe 2-8-2. 

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, August 23, 2019 5:59 AM

Diesel or Steam? What era?

I model 1954, I have about 140 powered units for a layout that handles about 30 long trains. I do not own any locos outside my era, except a few "historic" pieces (Mantua General, etc).

Steam: Bachmann/Spectrum, Proto, BLI, Mantua, some older brass

Diesel: Proto2000 (mostly pre Walthers), Athearn/Genesis, Intermoutain, Bachmann (switchers, doodlebugs)

No sound or DCC here.

They all run good and have given good service with minimal problems.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by joe323 on Friday, August 23, 2019 6:37 AM

The I have 6 GP38-2

2 Bachmann ”DCC on Board ”

1 Atlas DCC Ready with a motor only Digitrax decoder, 

1 MTH PS3

1 Bachmann ”Sound Value”.

So far I have to say the Atlas is the smoothest runner but I have not tuned the MTH yet (I posted my MTH follies on another thread ) The Sound Value runs better than the standard Bachmann and at about $90 each is a bargain since I silence it most of the time.

But the bottom line is if I find a Geep with the road name I want (CSX NS and associated fallen flags) I buy it.

 

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, August 23, 2019 7:04 AM

countryman

I'm just curious. What ho scale locomotive brands do you use. 

I buy what brands make good copies of diesels for the D&RGW and SP, which tends to be Athearn/Genesis because they offer SP and D&RGW diesels.  But also ScaleTrains, Atlas, Rapido and a few others.  I avoid Bachmann since they have traditionally had lower fidelity to prototypes I was interested in.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, August 23, 2019 7:58 AM

Locos with Kato motors tend to be the most consistent quality and durability.  In my experience, other brands have a few more lemons show up in the drive than something that's Kato powered.  Not that they are not as good, but the chances of getting one that's not what it should be is higher than a Kato powered loco.

The brands associated wih Kato motors are Atlas and Kato.  Although, I believe vintages of Atlas after about 2013 use a slightly different motor than the Kato, and I believe they are not as good.

As far as details, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Lots of individually applied details raises the chance that shipping realities will cause some to fall off in transit.  If you're squemish about reapplying a few details or simply bothered by the fact some are floating around in the box upon arrival, then take that into consideration.

- Douglas

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Posted by dstarr on Friday, August 23, 2019 8:08 AM

My locomotive roster got pretty full a few years ago so I haven't purchased many lately.  I almost bought a Mantua logger mallet last week but I refrained.  Right now I have:

Athearn Blue Box   ABA set of F7s.  Four GP 38s 

Proto2000             ABBA set of FA2s, BL2 , AA set of E7's, SW9, Alco RS2,

Mantua                  4-6-2 Pacific, 2-8-2 Mikado

Bachmann              2-8-0 Consolidation, 3 Truck Shay, 44 Tonner, 0-6-0 Switcher

IHC /AHM               Pair of 2-6-0 Moguls, 2-8-4 Berkshire

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Posted by snjroy on Friday, August 23, 2019 8:53 AM

As a loco "junkie", I have quite the range: Atlas, Proto (1K and 2K), Bachmann, Bowser, Varney, Trueline, Mantua, Rivarossi, Mehano, Minitrains, Kato, MDC and Athearn of course. I also have some brass stuff, mostly United, but also Tenshodo, Katsumi and Samsonga. I also have some European stuff that I kinda converted to North American standards, including Lilliput, Egger Bahn and Pola. That excludes the kitbashes such as the one in my avatar. No favorites, I love them all!

Simon

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, August 23, 2019 9:22 AM

Doughless
Locos with Kato motors tend to be the most consistent quality and durability. 

Problem with Kato is they don't make much in HO anymore, pickens are pretty slim.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, August 23, 2019 9:36 AM

Ya, to echo some earlier posts, it depends on what it's a model of - the railroad, the paint scheme etc. - more than a brand. Scale modelling isn't like toy train collecting, where someone might only buy say American Flyer O-scale or post-war Marx. In scale it's more like "I could use a couple of HO C&NW F-7 A-units in their original paint scheme, let's see what's available." They might end up buying Intermountain, Athearn, Walthers, Stewart, or someone else's F-7s.

I will say I don't mind putting a little time and effort into a model, so I might spend $100 for an engine that I have to install the handrails and grabirons myself (like a Kato diesel), versus paying $150 for essentially the same model but with everything already in place.

Stix
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Posted by peahrens on Friday, August 23, 2019 9:53 AM

tstage
The one that produces the road I model: New York Central. There are, however, certain brands I do not purchase. And I will forego mentioning which ones because it's a guarantee that someone will take issue with it. Tom

Like Tom, in my case I look for what is available in my HO, UP theme.  I can think of only one brand that I have avoided entirely. 

I like to have many examples of loco types (over a very wide range of time period), and of course at a given time it is often the case that no manufacturer offers a current model of a particular type, so I willingly accept "new"/unused or like new EBay locos of a type to round out my roster.  I have DCC, but enjoy converting to DCC w/sound (not to save money), which expands my options.

Of course, of a given loco type, there are detail differences as well as performance differences between brands, and even differences in a manufacturer's loco with later releases, an example being Athearn Genesis steamers that went from earlier MRC decoders to Soundtraxx Tsunami a number of years ago.

That said, I have steam and/or diesel Athearn Genesis, Atlas, Bachmann, Broadway Limited, Kato, Life-Like Proto 1000 & 2000, Intermountain, IHC, and a Walthers gas-electric.  Brands I have not yet acquired include Bowser, etc. but it is a matter of an interesting type becoming available on EBay.  One brand I have I now tend to avoid basis my experience, but it is one where most report ok performance.  

 

 

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by selector on Friday, August 23, 2019 10:36 AM

No particular order:

Lionel HO

Broadway Limited Imports

Life Like Proto 2000

Trix

Rivarossi

Atlas (Gold or same level)

Athearn Genesis

Mine all run reliably, so no complaints. I purchase locomotives that interest me, so across several roads (mostly fallen flags).  Some might call me a 'collector', but I use everything I own in rotation over about a year or so and enjoy the novelty all over again.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, August 23, 2019 10:37 AM

These kinds of "what brand" topics come up fairly often, but I don't really understand the fixation with brand. 

Brand is part of the picture but only part, and it seems illogical to fixate on a particular brand, especially when it might be unnecessarily limiting.

And even brands with a good reputation can have their lemons.  Take Kato for example, at one time they were a bigger player in the HO market and had developed a reputation for smooth chassis and nice models.  Then they offered the SD40-2 with chassis with a different pick up system and it turned out to be a bad design and cause issues for owners.  Eventually the redesigned the chassis to correct the issue. 

Intermountain had issues with some of their HO engines too, with weak motors.

Some of the older LifeLike Proto 2000 engines had/have a reputuation for cracked gears.  Otherwise nice engines and the problem can be easily corrected by getting replacement gears, but a caveat to be aware of.

Blindly buying a brand based on brand reputation can have it's pitfalls as can be seen by past experience.

Best practice is to do take things case by case, and it never hurts to do some research before buying.

 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, August 23, 2019 10:49 AM

Some facts everyone should keep in mind.

One less than perfect product from any given company does not mean all their products have problems.

Bigger companies like Bachmann, Wathers, Athearn, etc, make products for different segments of the market, beginner, intermediate, advanced.......don't judge the whole product line based on something they make for the train set market. Maybe you think they should not bother with those "lessor" products, but others feel differently.

Running quality and prototype accuracy have nothing to do with each other........

How much detail is enough? Everyone must decide that for themselves. 

How accurate is close enough? Again, we all have different opinions on this.

One company may make a great steam loco for your era, but not make any diesel you would ever want, just saying......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, August 23, 2019 11:03 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
One less than perfect product from any given company does not mean all their products have problems.

Kinda goes without saying but occasionally there are people who will threaten to never buy another engine from said brand due to one negative experience.  

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by csxns on Friday, August 23, 2019 4:02 PM

Scale Trains#1, Athearn Genesis#2,Atlas#3 my top best.

Russell

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Posted by kasskaboose on Friday, August 23, 2019 5:13 PM

Is there a way to test out the different brands before you buy?

I like any that are DCC-friendly, reliable, and inexpensive.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, August 23, 2019 6:51 PM

No, but you can ask others about their experiance with a specific model. As explained above. Going by brand does not insure satisfaction. As about a specific model and those who have that model can offer their thoughts.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, August 23, 2019 7:38 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Going by brand does not insure satisfaction.

Sheldon,I can't complain about my Atlas/Classic,Atlas/Kato or my four Atlas/Roco S-4s since they are smoth runners as is my lone Kato GP35.

A 40 year old Atlas/Roco S4 runs as smooth as my Atlas/China S2. That alone speaks well for Atlas locomotives.

Of course my 50 plus year old United Models Santa Fe 2-8-0 with its Pittman DC70 motor still runs good.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.

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