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Rivarossi H-O Steam Locomotives

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Rivarossi H-O Steam Locomotives
Posted by trainnut57 on Friday, February 22, 2008 5:54 PM
SoapBox [soapbox] In general, and on a scale of 1 through 5 with 5 being the best, how would you rate Rivarossi steam locomotives, both old and new for performance and reliability?  Just curious.
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Posted by twhite on Friday, February 22, 2008 6:05 PM

I had one of the first of the Rivarossi 2-8-8-2's when it came out in the 1960's (it was advertised as a USRA but was actually a N&W Yb-6), and at that time it was considered a smooth running, powerful locomotive.  The wheel flanges were oversized, but at that time few people ran HO on anything other than Code 100 track, so it worked well.  I always thought the un-prototypical articulation was a little weird, but all in all, I liked it.  It lasted quite a long time on my first MR--I eventually replaced the original Rivarossi motor with an early 'can' style. 

When Rivarossi introduced the Allegheney 2-6-6-6 some years back, I bought one, and I still think it's one of the best-running, most powerful plastic steamers I own.   The traction tires didn't last very long, and instead of replacing them, I just left them off--hasn't seemed to affect the loco's pulling power very much at all.  I've heard very good things about the new Hornby/Rivarossi re-release of the same loco. 

I don't know too much about the other Rivarossi steamers that have been released over the years, but the two that I have owned I've liked quite well.  I'd give them a 4+.  The 2-8-8-2 was fine for the time it was released, and the newer Allegheney is just a jewel IMO. 

Tom   

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Friday, February 22, 2008 6:21 PM
I'd give the old ones a 4 on performance after being tuned properly. The new ones are a definate 5.Big Smile [:D]

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Posted by SteamFreak on Friday, February 22, 2008 6:45 PM

As Tom said, the Allegheny would be a 5. The 1960's style with the large flanges I would rate about a 3, although they could be very nice performers. The large flanges take them out of the running if you're using anything under 100 code anyway. I've kept some for sentimental reasons.

The retooled versions from the 90's onward have been excellent, with Japanese motors in the boilers, and RP25 blackened wheels. The Big Boy I bought in '92 will pull the paint off the walls with the traction tires they use, but those tires also swell if they absorb any oil, so they don't last long. I replaced them with Stewarts tires, and have had no problems. It still runs beautifully. I would give the majority of their retooled steamers a 3.8, since the detail level is still from the 1960's. Fortunately, their tooling was excellent for the time.

There are a few exceptions. Stay away from their newer Heavy Pacific, since they have a weak gear pin in the gearbox that shears off, leaving the worm gear rattling around inside. There were also reports from Tony's Train Exchange that later 90's runs of the articulated engines had fewer electrical pickups, and were a problem with DCC especially. I haven't seen any of those units personally, but Tony stopped carrying them because of that issue. Hornby claims to have made some improvements under the hood, so I assume that's not a concern with their current production.

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Posted by rs2mike on Friday, February 22, 2008 6:57 PM

I have an old 2-8-4 berkshire and I rate it as a 5.  It runs better than my bachman.  I also have a heisler that after some cleaning and lubing i would rate this one as a 4.  Both have good pulling power with no traction tires on either.  I plan on running them till they don't run anymore then repowering them with newer can motors.

alco's forever!!!!! Majoring in HO scale Minorig in O scale:)

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Posted by twhite on Friday, February 22, 2008 7:33 PM

Nelson brings up an interesting point about the Rivarossi's--my original 1960's 2-8-8-2 had both loco and tender pickup, but I understand that some later runs just had the tender along for the ride.  My cousin had a Rivarossi Cab-Forward with only loco pickup, and it always seemed to run a little 'rough'.   I know that the Allegheney has both loco and tender pickup, which makes it an incredibly smooth runner.  Most of the complaints I've heard about Rivarossi locos from their so-called 'middle' period have to do with only the loco being powered. 

Be that as it may, I know that Rivarossi certainly filled in a much needed gap in more affordable non-brass 'big steam' for a lot of modelers.  It will be interesting to see if Hornby releases more of the older Rivarossi product with improved and up to current standard detailing.  Frankly, their Allegheney is as beautifully detailed as any brass version I've ever seen.   

Tom  

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Posted by lvanhen on Friday, February 22, 2008 7:49 PM
I have a 4-4-0 about 10-12 years old - gotta convert to DCC - in DC it's a 5+!  Runs smooth and slow over switches that usually give my other 4-4-0's the hiccups!!  (Bachmann & IHC)Smile [:)]
Lou V H Photo by John
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Posted by amsr on Friday, February 22, 2008 7:59 PM
I have an Allegheny and I love it. Its the most recent iteration. I have yet to add DCC/Sound to it, but it runs great and is very detailed.
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Posted by SteamFreak on Friday, February 22, 2008 8:11 PM

 twhite wrote:
Nelson brings up an interesting point about the Rivarossi's--my original 1960's 2-8-8-2 had both loco and tender pickup, but I understand that some later runs just had the tender along for the ride.  My cousin had a Rivarossi Cab-Forward with only loco pickup, and it always seemed to run a little 'rough'.   I know that the Allegheny has both loco and tender pickup, which makes it an incredibly smooth runner.  Most of the complaints I've heard about Rivarossi locos from their so-called 'middle' period have to do with only the loco being powered. 

Tom, I still have my original Big Boy without tender pickup, but it had 4 wheels picking up power from each rail. The articulateds with fewer lead or trailing wheels probably suffered more.

The period I was referring to was in the late 90's or early 00's when they apparently eliminated the lead and trailing trucks for extra pickup.

Lou,

Gotta love their pre-1900 locos. Thumbs Up [tup]

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Posted by CNCharlie on Friday, February 22, 2008 8:47 PM

 I have a Rivarossi 0-4-0 B&O dockside that I got in 1959. It still runs great and can run smoothly at low speed plus it will easily pull 8 cars. The detail is quite good too with a seperate brass bell, and some seperate piping.

CN Charlie

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Posted by ICRR1964 on Friday, February 22, 2008 8:59 PM

I have 2 of the 0-8-0 yard goats, One cab forward, Berk, and a Hudson. They all ran  pretty well for being the older units, had to tune them to get them to run smother though. One of the 0-8-8's I have is a newer one and ran very good right out of the box.

I always thought Rivarossi made a decent product even the old ones. I have replaced all the motors in the older unit because of bad motors, and they are really nice slow motion machines now. If I was going to rate the old a "4" would do. The new ones would get a "5" though.

ICRR1964

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Posted by Berk-fan284 on Saturday, February 23, 2008 8:01 AM

Hi trainnut57, First off I'll admit to a definate bias for Rivarossi before I start.

Older loco's 3-4

Y6b,Cab Forward,2 Yellowstones,2 Sante FE types 2-10-2

Newer loco's 4-5

2 Big Boys, 1 Allegheny,Cab Forward, Y6b,Berkshire,FEF-3,B&O articulated,Heavy Mikado,Challenger

The early Y6b I bought used and promptly burned it's motor out, the early Cab Forward was an ebay special that needed a little quality time with a voltage tester and soldering iron (and has been purring along just fine ever since) otherwise everything else is running just fine.

Unabashedly biased

    Andrew

 

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Posted by New Haven I-5 on Saturday, February 23, 2008 10:35 AM
 I had a Berkshire when I  was little. I brought it out a couple of years ago to run it. It wouldn't run on life like track so I tried to take out the pizza cutter flanges. I am mad that I did that because now I run code 100.  If it were still running today, I would rate it 4.

- Luke

Modeling the Southern Pacific in the 1960's-1980's

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Posted by georgev on Saturday, February 23, 2008 10:47 AM

I have a mid-period Challenger (purchased new about 1999) which has the blackened RP-25 wheels and can motor.  Looks OK but I would rate it only a 2.  It has pickup only in the locomotive, on only two wheels of each driver set. Pickup is by a spring loaded pin which presses against the wheel, which isn't very solid pickup.  Adding to the problem, the rear driver of the rear set, which has the pickup pin, also has a traction tire - meaning this driver is effectively insulated.  So, two drivers pickup on the left rail, and one on the right.  Lots of stalling every time it moves into a turnout or curve.  I have not tried removing the insulated driver - having read these posts I may do that. 

I added pickup to two axles of the tender, which has metal wheels on plastic axles.  I was able to fabricate a brass sleeve for each axle half that touched the metal wheel.  I then added wipers to pick power off the axle sleeves.   This works, but it squeaks!  The loco cost $150 when I bought it.   I bought a P2K 2-8-8-2 from Trainworld a few years later for $195 and the difference is night and day. 

So, I would be careful which vintage of Riv you get.....

George V.

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Posted by trainnut57 on Saturday, February 23, 2008 11:38 AM
SoapBox [soapbox] I'm glad I posted this question and wish I had years ago. I have passed up opportunities to own Rivarossi steamers because a couple of "local" guys said they were terrible. Come to think of it, these guys specialized in Lionel. Thanks for all the "come backs" on this subject; I really appreciate it.Thumbs Up [tup]Sleepy [|)]Sleepy [|)]Bow [bow]
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Posted by SteamFreak on Saturday, February 23, 2008 11:49 AM

George, that's really odd that they would use a wheel with a traction tire for electrical pickup. I've never seen them do that. Plus, all they eliminated were the 4 metal disks for the lead and trailing wheels, and the pickup wiper for the trailing truck, so how much cost savings could there have been?

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Posted by mmartian22 on Friday, February 29, 2008 8:19 PM

 i rate my three engines at 5 they are great proformers  despite the poor pick up ,i am adding more pick ups  in the tenders to improve the  performace,also i added tsunamis in them and  they run just as good as the hi priced ones.  . mine were made the mid 90s.

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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Sunday, March 02, 2008 9:47 PM

I have 17 Rivarossi engines mainly bigboys and mallets and a few cabforwards I think there's a hudson in there some where as well. The old stuff is just that "Old Stuff" if you want a cool looking engine to sit on a siding or in your engine terminal then and old AHM is just fine. Problmes with them are many. A: Old style 3 pole motors are noisey as an old coffee grinder and produce no where near enough power. B: It's virtually impossible to get parts for them. To my knowledge there is only one guy in the country who has a decent stock of Rivarossi part. Gulf Manor Hobbies in Ohio. All I'm gonna say is good luck.

The new Hornby Rivarossi's are head and sholders above the old stuff. Can motors, better gearing, quiter running gear, extremely better low end speed control and I feel much better detail. I have upgraded most of my old stuff with can motors. It can be done and no it's not an easy retro fit. I have used many different motors etc. so I have no one set preference. I got tired of spending a lot of money for somethign I could do myself.

In short if you want a big monster to run on your pike and don't have a lot of money (like any of us do) Then the Bigboy isn't a bad choice. How ever if you want to run a big articulated and it doesn't have to be a Bigboy then you have a lot of better choices in my O/P.

Cabforward: Intermountain makes a beautiful runing as well as looking cabforward. DC or DCC if you want to run a nice big articulated you get the most bang for your buck with a Proto Heritage 2000 2-8-8-2. I have 2 of these now and plan on running one more eventually. The detail is fantastic, the overall qualitiy is as clsoe as you'll get to a nice brass import in plastic, parts are readily available, they run absolutley fantasitc either slow speed or pulling a 30 or 40 car coal drag.

 

I have so many RR's becasue way back when it was either that or brass. There is not one of my original Rivarossi's that I paid more then $50 for. Why would you want to pay some guy at a train show $200 for an old clunker that has been sitting in abox some where when you can buy a new one from Micromark for another couple of bucks. I got tow of my new ones from them for some where betweet $200 & $250.

 

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?

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