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Thoughts on Model Power or Tyco locos?

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 10:01 PM

rjake4454
How do you tell the old ones from the new ones? Yeah, I have heard about the pancake motors, always told that they work well as smoke units after a few minutes of running.

The easiest way is to look at the tender. The old ones have the short but very wide motor hanging out the bottom by about 1/4", and the new ones don't. And if you're looking at the "Jupiter," the old ones are an unrealistic red and silver, and the new ones are the proper blue and silver with red highlights. And for the UP #119, the old has a red tender and brown cab, and the new has a black and red tender and tan cab. Those are the only two types they made of the old ones, so a 4-4-0 in any other railroad is newer.

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Posted by Last Chance on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 10:02 PM

 Sigh. Sad

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 10:04 PM

Last Chance

 Sigh. Sad

??

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Posted by blownout cylinder on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 10:19 PM

Darth Santa Fe

Last Chance

 Sigh. Sad

??

Kind of a sad little fellow, ain't he??Whistling

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 10:34 PM

 I started out with Tyco in 1971.  The two engines I had, 4-6-0 and  2-6-2, ran pretty good.  Also had some Atlas structure kits, these were reasonably nice especially given the price - a little paint helped them out.  I soon got some MDC, Athearn, Bowser and eventually Central Valley and LaBelle.  I also did some scratchbuilding before leaving HO. 

I have some Lionel just for fun, but the third rail, oversized couplers, large flanges along with the simplified and frequently oversized detailing on much of the line are too far away from scale for me. 

Currently, I am in S scale.  I avoid American Flyer, for the same problems as Lionel.  But both S and O gauge/scale have a number of product lines that are acceptable on a scale layout and many come with Hirail or scale wheels - Showcase Line comes set up for hirail with scale wheels in the box except for their steam locomotive.

But really, this is a hobby and there are many ways to have fun with it.  Go with whatever works for you.

Enjoy

Paul

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Posted by SteamFreak on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 2:50 AM

Darth Santa Fe
That may be true for the older Bachmann 4-4-0s, which had a cheap pancake motor in the tender, but the newer ones are improved. They now have a 5-pole motor and pretty nice paint, and I believe they have a metal shaft and bearing for the worm.

In the new versions the worm is unchanged, but it is contained inside a plastic cage that acts as a bearing at both ends. The older design trapped the worm between the rear of the diecast boiler weight and the back of the axle cover for the drivers. The new model also has a lot more lateral play in the drivers, which seems like it would cause the pilot to do a lot of hunting back and forth. The older design was capable of negotiating much tighter than an 18" radius, so that change was unnecessary. It's a shame they haven't brought them up to Spectrum standards, but like you I've turned my old pancake special into a respectable model.

  Rjake, the pancake-era Bachmanns come in white and yellow boxes, while their current standard line box artwork is blue.

jwhitten
Nowadays though I very much do not like the look of 3-rail track. I have seen a number of beautifully-constructed railroads that are, in my view, cheapened with the use of 3-rail track. It blows the whole illusion for me. I can overlook almost every other anachronism, incorrect detail or lack thereof, except for 3-rail track. It looks toy-like to me. If I were to sit down and run a train on such a layout, I would probably enjoy it-- it would bring back lots of those good memories from earlier years, but it would still feel like a toy.

I've always found the third rail distracting, blackened or not, but then I started life as a 2-rail American Flyer elitist. Whistling I was never impressed much by the stubby, foreshortened locomotives and rolling stock you find in O27 equipment. The Lionel Hudson pictured is a scale Hudson, which was a beautiful piece of work, but atypical. Beautiful scale equipment is being built today by Lionel and others, though, and they are eye-catching at shows, almost enough to make me forget about that black strip running down the center of every track. They certainly have the advantage of sheer size and weight, and it's fun to listen to them loosen up the benchwork as they rumble past.

As for the vintage HO being sold at the hobby shop, I would stay away from them unless you are looking for a bit of nostalgia, or a fun upgrade project, and even then wouldn't consider paying over $20 for any one of them. The Model  FA's, Sharks, and E-units were built by Roco, and while sometimes noisy, were heavy pullers with the largest can motor ever used in HO. As starter locos, they could be a lot of fun for the right price.

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Posted by Metro Red Line on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 2:54 AM

Allegheny2-6-6-6

 Don't ask me why but those things almost have a cult like following. I answered an add posted on craigs list for wanting to buy old Tyco and Model Power trains. I happily answered his add and he was very happy to take all the old clunkers off my hands. So it was a win/win for the both of us. When I asked him why he said these were what he had as a kid and was just in it for the fun. Hey good a reason as any I guess. Maybe being not too serious about the hobby isn't such a bad thing.........nah just kidding.

Maybe the reason that guy still has Tyco's in stock is because he thinks he can get $120 for them. I can't say I ever remember them selling for that much way back when god was a kid and dirt was new.

 To each his own I guess.

 

 

Tycos are kind of popular on the collector's circuit, provided they're in like-new condition. It's purely nostalgia appeal, just like all the Lionel O27 stuff (but of course we all know Lionel's stuff is built to last).

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Posted by blownout cylinder on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 7:43 AM

SteamFreak
As for the vintage HO being sold at the hobby shop, I would stay away from them unless you are looking for a bit of nostalgia, or a fun upgrade project, and even then wouldn't consider paying over $20 for any one of them.

The key for this little puppy would be as an upgrade project. The pancake motor gets thrown out and we upgrade to a can motor and we do any modifications to frame, gearing and whatever-----as for the cost of the upgrade( some do think that this may be an issue)---that is why one should see this project as one done for fun------after all--one can buy RTR for a lot more if they so desireSmile

SteamFreak
The Model  FA's, Sharks, and E-units were built by Roco, and while sometimes noisy, were heavy pullers with the largest can motor ever used in HO. As starter locos, they could be a lot of fun for the right price.

I'm assuming you were referring to the Model Power versions here---I agree about their pulling power. The motors generally ar good little performers overall. My old HO scale model Powers that I had from way back whenWhistling I still use when at a friends HO scale layout in our roundrobin groupSmile

Any argument carried far enough will end up in Semantics--Hartz's law of rhetoric Emerald. Leemer and Southern The route of the Sceptre Express Barry

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Posted by Last Chance on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 3:31 PM

 For what it's worth, the Lionel's Hudson in Metal going back decades is a very well done engine on three rail. I know of one that is in top condition, just needs a little TLC before running. Then you had the Blue Comet, Crescent and other name engines using metal engines back in the day as trainsets. I think in those days it was 350 for engine, 40 each for cars. Now today the same set will be in the thousands if mint.

 

Tyco was a brand that was not as good as Cox or any number of brands... but at one time, they were all I had to work with. Physics worked against me along with bad track so...

 

Base Bachmann was not TOO bad.. but did not pull well at all. I bought a 4-8-4 at great expense in the early 80's cash and found it could only pull 4 cars at the time before wheel slip set in. Years later the true horror of it's split frame construction with axle halves requiring gluing to stop the slipping... would become apparent.

 

Now I enjoy Bachmann's finer engines because I am able to. Back then, the Lionel Diecast in O was where it was at. I happened to see the plastic O and G gauge kid trains in walmart the other day and realized that these expensive trainsets might not have the beef to last more than a short time.

It is hoped that they will run well enough being ALL plastic to hook a kid into Model Railroading permanently. With all the old guard dying off lord knows we can use fresh blood.

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Posted by SteamFreak on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 4:44 PM

blownout cylinder

SteamFreak
The Model  FA's, Sharks, and E-units were built by Roco, and while sometimes noisy, were heavy pullers with the largest can motor ever used in HO. As starter locos, they could be a lot of fun for the right price.

I'm assuming you were referring to the Model Power versions here---I agree about their pulling power. The motors generally ar good little performers overall. My old HO scale model Powers that I had from way back whenWhistling I still use when at a friends HO scale layout in our roundrobin groupSmile

I did mean to say Model Power, but it was a victim of my editing job. BlushOops

As basic motive power or project locos, you can't beat 'em. Every one I've come across has had green epoxy putty added to the light side of the armature in an attempt to balance the motor, often unsuccessfully. Some of those E's can drown out many O scale locos. Laugh

blownout cylinder
The key for this little puppy would be as an upgrade project. The pancake motor gets thrown out and we upgrade to a can motor and we do any modifications to frame, gearing and whatever-----as for the cost of the upgrade( some do think that this may be an issue)---that is why one should see this project as one done for fun------after all--one can buy RTR for a lot more if they so desireSmile

You mean like this? Whistling

This is a less radical alternative to Darth's complete tender drive rebuild of the Tyco 2-8-0, with the motor block ground out to accept a disk drive tray motor. It runs very well, although gear noise is still an issue. Guys over on the Tyco forum do this all the time to their old Powertorque Tycos. Ultimately I want to find an appropriate motor to install in the firebox and use a different tender.

Even the cheap stuff can be great project material, but for someone looking for RTR, I would recommend keeping an eye on the discounts at Trainworld, M.B. Klein, and even certain eBay sellers for some real steals. And let's not forget about the Ho Yard Sale group...

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Posted by Oregon_Steamer on Thursday, March 28, 2019 2:52 AM

rjake4454

I went to a hobby shop tonight that specializes more in selling O gauge and G scale equipment but they had a small HO section as well. Many steam engines rested behind the glass but I noticed that none of these were high end yet why are they presented as such and why the high price tag? I counted several Bachmanns, Tycos, most were Model Power though. There were no locos by Athearn or Broadway limited. No diesels by Atlas either. $120 for a Model Power engine? That seems steep. Even $85 for a Bachmann 4-4-0 seems ridiculously high.

First off, I don't want to offend anyone that buys these brands. I do understand that not every person out there can afford the higher end stuff, and I don't want to knock the enjoyment that you may get out of these or the starter sets. We all have our likes and dislikes.

However, my post is more directed at the HO purists who insist that you must run an engine on 2 rail track and that anything else is toy like. I don't mean to come off as antagonistic, I just wish to know your thoughts if you hold to this idea. Do you consider a model power, tyco, or bachmann steam engine to be a 'model' whereas a die cast lionel hudson would be a 'toy'? If so, do you feel this way only because of the third rail or is there another reason?

I have noticed the same thing with scenery. O gauge buildings get knocked because of the plasticville stigma, but at the hobby shop tonight, every single structure for HO, whether pre-made, or kit, had an equally toy like appearance. I actually went there tonight to look for some scenery ideas for my layout, but came back empty handed.

And a lot of stores out there only stock this stuff for HO. There selections are rather limited, infact, without the internet, I doubt many of us would even know that high end engines or accessories even existed for trains. HO seems like one of the most inaccessible scales to the beginner.

For those of you who had the option (financial resources and space) would you advise a beginner to buy one die cast lionel engine or an HO starter set put out by Bachmann? Which do you consider closer to modeling? For me, the answer is simple, the third rail is easy to ignore when you have heavy duty rolling stock and a die cast engine coming down the track. I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

Again, please don't take this post the wrong way. Even I myself am tempted once in a while to buy the Bachmann 4-4-0 or the John Bull set, they do look beautiful, but for that amount of money, I would want them to at least run for a good long time. From a number of reports on these pieces, I have heard to expect just the opposite. I don't know if this is true, but even the owners of the stores often tell me to steer clear of them.

 

I think the only good locomotive they ever made were the ones that Mantua first made.

The Pacific, Mikado, General, & Shifter make good project locomotives.

Add a few brass detail parts and you've got a sweet little heavy hauler.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, March 28, 2019 8:53 AM

It's important to remember that a hobby shop is generally going to list products for their full list price, which is often higher than you would see at an online dealer or on Ebay or wherever. So an engine in a hobby shop selling for $85 is probably selling for $45 somewhere.

Also, over the years manufacturers have had different levels of products. Mantua was a 'state of the art' manufacturer long ago, great modelers like John Allen used some of their engines, which came as kits. Tyco was originally their 'ready to run' line, and was geared more towards starter sets for new modelers and kids. The Mantua 4-6-2 and 2-8-2 used a pretty basic metal shell boiler with little detail. Later Mantua developed more detailed engines like their 2-6-6-2 and 4-4-2, and started offering engines with smooth running can motors around 1989-90...by which time I believe they had dropped the Tyco line.

Similarly, Bachmann 30-40 years ago just made lower-end "train set level" equipment, although some of their steam engines had good enough plastic bodies that modelers bought them and repowered them. They introduced their Spectrum line in the 1980's, which was a much more detailed / better running line aimed less at kids and starter sets than at 'serious' modellers. Same is true for Life-Like and their Proto line.

The Lionel name has been associated with a wide range of O gauge products, from plastic boilered steam engines to high-end scale models. Comparing say a current Lionel "made to order" scale model to say a 1980's Model Power steam engine is comparing apples to oranges.

Stix
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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, March 28, 2019 11:34 AM

This thread was 10 years old!

 

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Thursday, March 28, 2019 11:36 AM

wjstix
Tyco was originally their 'ready to run' line,

There were also a number of Tyco locomotive kits.  They still show up occasionally at train shows.

Paul

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, March 28, 2019 11:46 AM

If assembled carefully and remotored, a Tyco steam locomotive kit is pretty rugged and reliable.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, March 28, 2019 12:39 PM

rrebell
This thread was 10 years old!

Seems to be a reaccuring thing, the last few months, anyway.  

Although Mr. Oregon Steamer is not exactly new, but, still?

Mike.

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Posted by richg1998 on Thursday, March 28, 2019 2:39 PM

WOW.

Rich

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Posted by thatweirdwriterdude on Friday, April 26, 2019 11:36 AM

rjake4454
advise a beginner to buy one die cast lionel engine or an HO starter set put out by Bachmann?

if it's kids who are into trains, (say 7-9 yr olds) HO scale is better because it is smaller and cheaper dpending on brand, i suggest early 90's era Life-Like or newer Bachmann, but TYCO can be OK if you can get them to run, the TYCO engine i got from my dad doesn't work, still have the rest of the set, but i would suggest some HO scale things because even the top brands like Athearn Genesis engines are cheaper than some Lionel 3-rail O scale sets, 

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Posted by thatweirdwriterdude on Friday, April 26, 2019 11:51 AM

STEELERSFAN
Same with Bachmann. Some of it is true junk!

yeah same thing with those old Model Power E8's with the huge ass roco motor, they stalled and jerked so much it wasn't even funny

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, April 26, 2019 1:37 PM

Ten year old necro thread alert!  Warning will rogers!

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, April 26, 2019 2:17 PM

thatweirdwriterdude
yeah same thing with those old Model Power E8's with the huge ass roco motor, they stalled and jerked so much it wasn't even funny

You must've got a bad one.  The ones I had, along with a dozen-or-so Model Power FAs, using the same motor, were all excellent runners and fantastic pullers.  You could fill the remainder of the body shell with lead, and they'd pull pretty-well anything that you coupled to them, whether it had wheels or not....

E8A  unit...

...E7B - Phase II, made from two A-units...

...some FAs and FBs, all powered...

...and an FPA-4...

...and its companion FPB-4...

Even though I'm no longer modelling the diesel era, I especially regret selling the latter two.

Wayne

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Posted by thatweirdwriterdude on Monday, April 29, 2019 11:09 AM

well, the santa fe E8 i got from a train show in oklahoma last year wasn't in the best condition when i got it, i had some fun with it, but i gave it away to a friend because he needed a new engine for his layout.

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Monday, April 29, 2019 12:09 PM

Old thread! Smile Always funny when a thread pops up full of people you’ve never seen!Confused

I must comment that Elora Gorge and Eastern needs to settle on one paint scheme! Reminds me of the Lehigh Valley!

I must comment that regarding Model Power/Tyco locos, Tyco seems to be more a low quality train set manufacturer, but I know of a Model Power E7 that runs fine, even with DCC!

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, April 29, 2019 2:57 PM

SPSOT fan
...I must comment that Elora Gorge and Eastern needs to settle on one paint scheme! Reminds me of the Lehigh Valley!...

Yeah, the original scheme for all diesels was the double grey and green, as seen on the FAs, but also appeared on various geeps, SDs, and a few ALCo Centuries, while the green on the E-units was for a "name" train, with all the passenger cars in the same colour - the only decals used for that entire train were those in the number boards of the A-unit...all other lettering and striping was painted.

The paint scheme of the FPA/FPB-4s is based on that of the CNR's cab-unit freight locomotives, and I used SMP paint, along with their Accucals for the striping, while the lettering was done with dry transfer alphabet sets.
The FA/FB combos are the only EG&E diesels left, and all are now in a display case.
If Bowser had come out with their big ALCos sooner, I might still be modelling in the diesel era.

Wayne

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Posted by joe323 on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 6:36 AM

Ah the bad old days!

I would avoid Tyco and old Bachmann locomotives but the rolling stock can be upgraded to modern body mount Kadee couplers for a little bit of work.

Thus for example I bought a blue Tyco Morton Salt hopper on Ebay and modernized it.

Joe Staten Island West 

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