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Is incredibly detailed freight cars really necessary?

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  • Member since
    May 2014
  • From: Berwyn, PA
  • 636 posts
Posted by Trainman440 on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 4:23 PM

Sams Trains on youtube did a test to see how long a Hornby cheapo trainset 0-4-0 would run before it died. Managed to clock around 341 real miles before it stopped due to overheating. After it cooled down, the engine still worked! 

Given a more expensive engine with proper bearings, metal/brass gears, and a better 5 pole motor, engines made today can last a lifetime! (given there is no major fault such as split axles)

 

Anyways, back on the topic, I believe items that matter to you should have extra detail, whereas items that you care less about dont. Personally, I care a lot about my engines, my passenger cars, and my cabooses. Everything else(trackwork, buildings,scenery, most freight cars), I couldnt care less. That's why my engines, passenger cars, and cabooses have lots of attention to detail and operating characteristics, whereas my AAR 40' boxcars are mostly from bluebox kits, my tack is not handlaid, my buildings are kits and not scratchbuilt and scenery isnt even finished on my layout! 

But things change. For example, when I first began modeling, I didnt really care about passenger cars. I knew little about their history, and little about how they worked. I had athearn bluebox, and rivarossi heavyweight cars. Later, I began learning all about them, their consists, modifications, and prominance, and as a result my standards improved. Looking at my completely unprotoypical cars, I became disappointed. I sold off all those cars, bought branchline/walthers cars, added constant dim lighting, handrails, interiors, shades, figures, underframe piping, etc. and now they're some of the most detailed pieces on my layout. 

Its all about what you find important. 

Charles

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 6:08 PM

riogrande5761

The Proto 2000 SD7 and SD9 were not crude by todays standards, and many laud the GP30 as being quite good also, and don't really think it needs a modern tooled high fidelity replacement.  Really, for those two examples, the body's were pretty nicely detailed; it was the chassis/mechanicsm that many have noted is not up to par.  Some of the other models have had legitimate needs for improvements has noted.  Blanket comments the a line of models is crude misses the fact that some maybe, but others not so much.

 

Exactly, well said.

As for running qualities, I have never had any trouble getting any Proto2000 model to run well with just the most minor work.

And maybe that is generational, vs the expection of perfection out of the box.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 6:14 PM

I recently bought a whole bunch of Proto 1000 and 2000 that were either NIB or close to it. Very, very nice models, all of them. All the ones that needed new gears already had them, bar the GP 30 that had barely ever run.  The vendor had no idea it was defective in that way. The gears had split just sitting there on the shelf for all those years. The vendor agreed to supply new gears (Walthers sells the completed axle units for very little money) and I agreed to install them, very easy to do.

So far I have a C Liner (with three more on reserve awaiting diagnosis and repair), GP 38-2 and Budd RDC3 in Proto 1000, as well as a GP7, GP9 III, GP30, SD40 and SW 9/1200 in Proto 2000. My son in law still has his SW 9/1200 he originally bought new at age 13. It travelled to the floor a couple of times when he was a kid and it is certainly well run in. Super smooth and a very good puller, still after 20 years. Very durable and well made units, all of them. 

I recently acquired a couple of Proto 1000 Thrall door "boxcars" which are quite nice.

Walthers Proto rolling stock continues that tradition, I have a couple of their recent tank cars.

I'm not sure anyone needs any better runners than the Lifelike stuff. The few models that suffered split gears are super easy to fix and the parts are readily available (probably because so many were needed, some irony there). They should run forever in modelling terms.

The Proto Heritage 0-8-0 steam locomotive I acquired is really quite lovely and runs well with a dummy plug.

Genesis are pretty good, I picked up a light Mike which won't pull the skin off a rice pudding but looks oh so lovely while trying to do so. Built by a brassy maker way back last decade. I bought a new GP 38-2 DCC sound which is a great runner and sounds really good even in DC mode.

BLI are certainly good quality and run very well. The steam locomotive sounds are certainly assertive, I cannot imagine the cacophony if Paragon 3 subwoofer were to be added. A Mikado and a Pacific.

Atlas locomotives are first rate, I have a new S3 in their silver line which is super smooth and looks great. 

Even the Bachmann Spectrum line, and the current lines which are basically made to the former  Spectrum standards, are really quite superb. Two rock solid 2-8-0 (once I fitted DCC dummy plugs), a wonky 2-10-2 which I am still diagnosing (lead a rough former life) and some much more recent NIB used Decapod, new Ten Wheeler and NIB American are good runners and good looking, imho. 

I have also acquired one of those IHC Mehano 2-10-2 with RP25 wheels which is very nice indeed, especially considering how old it is and how inexpensive it was when new.

"Good enough" may be a reasonable target if operations are your preferred aspect of this hobby, as they are for me.

Mind you my current favourites are all Rapido: Royal Hudson FP7 x 2 and FA2 and FB2. More on order.

We are in a golden age of model railroading and it seems to me it is getting even better right now.

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by E-L man tom on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 8:35 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Crude? Not sure I know what models you are comparing them to today? Just my view, but to make a comparison you need to compare a GP7 to GP7, an FA to an FA, etc. Is there stuff today like Rapido that really does go that extra mile, sure. But there are a fair number of products built in the last 20 years that had similar price points without detail as good as Proto2000. I consider most BLI diesels disapointing when compared to their Proto equivalents. My Intermountain, Proto and Genesis F units are all "about the same" with the Genesis maybe having a small edge in detail/fineness. Crude, I think not, even 30 years later.

Well Sheldon, Maybe that's too much of a generalization. I guess maybe for the price point of P2K vs. R-T-R today, they are, say, a little less detailed. For a lot of that I can't talk from personal experience, as I have not purchased a "high end" locomotive in several years, the most recent being a Genesis A-B set of F3's. As for today's Rapido, BLI, etc. I really don't know how they compare. I wholeheartedly agree with you, that the P2K line is still an excellent locomotive, and a great value for the money; and, "good enough" for me!

Tom Modeling the free-lanced Toledo Erie Central switching layout.
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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 10:07 PM

Lastspikemike
...Genesis are pretty good, I picked up a light Mike which won't pull the skin off a rice pudding but looks oh so lovely while trying to do so...

There's a how-to on improving their tractive effort HERE

Lastspikemike
...The Proto Heritage 0-8-0 steam locomotive I acquired is really quite lovely and runs well with a dummy plug....

Yeah, I have one and it was a nice-running loco, but like the Genesis Mikado, has trouble pulling its own shadow.  It's mentioned (and shown) in the link offered above.

Wayne

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, September 17, 2020 8:30 AM

Yes, thanks, I've actually previously book marked that extensively detailed description. Thanks. 

The disparity in pulling power for these steam locomotives has me pondering coefficients of friction on nickel silver...

However, I noted an extensive thread on locomotive drawbar force as it may relate to the coefficient of friction of steel on steel as well as steel on sanded steel comparing prototype to HO.

In light  of the significant disagreements evident there I decided not to make my own contribution.  The topic seems surprisingly controversial, given that the physics have been well understood for over 100 years.

Interestingly, diesel models seem quite predictably uniform in their pulling power and roughly correspond to prototype patterns: bigger and heavier pull proportionately better. This is not the case for steam locomotive models which is frankly a bit weird. 

 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, September 17, 2020 8:37 AM

doctorwayne
Yeah, I have one and it was a nice-running loco, but like the Genesis Mikado, has trouble pulling its own shadow.

I have four USRA light Mikados, one Genesis and three Oriental Powerhouse.

My Genesis 2-8-2 was worthless. The three Powerhouse locomotives are A+ in my book. Tenders are bad, but with new tenders and a few details, they are quite good locomotives.

My next USRA light Mikados will be Key brass models.

-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 ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, September 17, 2020 8:54 AM

Lastspikemike

Yes, thanks, I've actually previously book marked that extensively detailed description. Thanks. 

The disparity in pulling power for these steam locomotives has me pondering coefficients of friction on nickel silver...

However, I noted an extensive thread on locomotive drawbar force as it may relate to the coefficient of friction of steel on steel as well as steel on sanded steel comparing prototype to HO.

In light  of the significant disagreements evident there I decided not to make my own contribution.  The topic seems surprisingly controversial, given that the physics have been well understood for over 100 years.

Interestingly, diesel models seem quite predictably uniform in their pulling power and roughly correspond to prototype patterns: bigger and heavier pull proportionately better. This is not the case for steam locomotive models which is frankly a bit weird. 

 

 

It is not weird at all. Model steam locos, even with spring drivers suffer from a lack of even weight distribution on the drivers, as well as other traction losses on our sharp curves, etc. This problem increases with the number of driven axles.

The physics of the prototype does not scale down.

The flexibility of diesel trucks solves this problem.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, September 17, 2020 9:12 AM

Discussion of physics of model pulling power need to be in a properly-titled new thread -- they are only remotely, if at all, on-topic for the thread as titled and what may be a rich discussion will be missed by those not following the already-beaten-to-death nominal topic.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, September 17, 2020 11:06 AM

Overmod

Discussion of physics of model pulling power need to be in a properly-titled new thread -- they are only remotely, if at all, on-topic for the thread as titled and what may be a rich discussion will be missed by those not following the already-beaten-to-death nominal topic.

 

I know you and I could write pages and pages, I just want to point out the obvious minimum explanation. I will let Mike explore the details on his own or with your help.

I have 19th Century houses to restore...

Sheldon.

    

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