Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

N Scale Steam?

1952 views
18 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
N Scale Steam?
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 15, 2001 12:47 PM
While visiting my local hobby shop this weekend, I was able to see the new Roundhouse locomotive and was quite impressed. I am eagerly awaiting the Bachmann Spectrum Consolodation. When I mentioned the KATO Mikado, the store owner informed me that KATO was currently working on more N-Scale steamers. Has anyone else heard this. Could the wait for quality N-scale steam finally be coming to an end?
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 15, 2001 5:08 PM
The only Roundhouse I know of has rubber traction tires which make the loco wobble and fouls the track, it also has lousy low speed performance. I know 3 people who bought the Kato Mike. All 3 leave it on display on a shelf it was such a poor runner. Don't know anything about the Bachman. In answer to your question I don't think the wait has even started yet, much less is over. Even if one of them was a good runner who can afford them . My layout depicts a rural shortline in only 32 sq. ft. and it still needs 6 locos to operate.
  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: Niue
  • 735 posts
Posted by thirdrail1 on Monday, October 15, 2001 8:34 PM
Some people wouldn't be satisfied unless they got custom built performance for 50 cents. I spent twenty years in the real short line business, I know of very few short lines that could afford to have six locomotives! Kato has always made a number of steam locomotives, which most people consider excellent runners, however all but the heavy USRA Mikado have been models of Japanese prototypes. The owner of GHQ Miniatures has kitbashed some of these into beautiful models of Northern Pacific locomotives. Don't forget, Con-Cor also makes an NYC 4-6-4 and a GN 4-8-4 that most consider excellent runners. Those with whom I have talked that have purchased the MDC 2-8-0 have been very pleased with its running qualities but not so pleased with the size and lack of detail on the tender.
"The public be ***ed, it's the Pennsylvania Railroad I'm competing with." - W.K.Vanderbilt
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 15, 2001 8:55 PM
Gregg you may have been in the REAL shortline business but you forget they HAVE to connect in most cases with another railroad! In my case 2 other railroads which run doubleheaders out of staging and back. I don't mind paying $150 plus if you get performance. I am not familar with Kato's Japanese prototypes but it's Mike SUCKS!!!!!!!! So does the Roundhouse. The rest that you mentioned I don't know about but hope you are right. But by good runners it should be able to crawl thru the yard over switches at the same speeds as the Atlas and Kato Desiels, better even if you consider they cost twice as much.By the way the Great Smoky Mnt. Railroad in W.N.C. (Where I live) has 4 desiel and 2 steam locos. Uses steam and desiel to haul tourists and desiel to haul freight. That comes out to about 6 I think. Mike
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 15, 2001 9:01 PM
I don't know anyone who has the Roundhouse steamer so I can't say how it runs, but the looks of it really turned me off. From photos I've seen of the Bachman Consol, it's a decent looking model, better looking than the Roundhouse one. It's just that I have a hard time trusting N scale Bachman locos, especially steamers. It's not likely that I'll be first in line to buy one. If the reviews and other modelers I talk to say it's a winner, then I'll buy. I also have friends who have Kato Mikes, and they love em.

To each his own I guess.....
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 15, 2001 11:33 PM
Well Mike, I'll have to respectfully disagree with you re: KATO's Mike. I've had 2 and both were EXTREMELY good runners (especially at low speed). There were 3 in my old club and they all ran perfectly. Most of the reviews and test evals I read about them before I bought mine were extremely positive. To say it "sucks" is simply not accurate. I agree that the Roundhouse could have had a bit more detail for $150 but the one I saw demo'd ran very well. I feel the same way about the ConCor/Rivarossi's - they simply lack the detail to be worth the price.

I suppose we all have our standards of excellence. Perhaps yours are a bit higher than mine.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 6:46 AM
Guys I said I knew several people who own the Kato Mikes and none of them were happy and that is true. If you had better luck that's great,but from what I have seen so far they might be alright for a runners layout but not for operation. The ones I have seen will not pull their own tender up a 2.5% grade, stall in the yards and run run jerky at low speeds if they are pulling anything other then there own tender. For the record MR's reveiw was lukewarm at best. Maybe these guys all got a lemon, I don't know but for that kind of money I want to do something more then sit it on a shelf.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 10:26 AM
Right on Mike! I bought N scale and they don`t even sit on a shelf. They`re put away in a box because to me they look like toys, and they don`t run as good as HO scale. I like good runners and good detailing. After all,isn`t realism what we are striving to create? Uh oh,I`ve opened another can of worms. Gerald
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 11:23 AM
Well I agree the bigger the scale the easier it is to detail modeling. For the record my layout is N-Scale because of space restrictions. I also think there are N desiels that run about as good as HO, steam on the other hand is a lost cause as far as I am concerned. The Reid bros. have some very good running steam, however if you take the body off there is very little there that came from the manf. I won't pay $150 plus for a loco that has to be gutted and completely rebuilt. I think people like the Reid's and Art Fahie have proved you can do some fantastic modeling in N-scale. Granted it might be a little harder but it can be done.Nothing wrong with opening a can of worms, that's what these forums are for. Mike
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 18, 2001 8:28 AM
That comment had some truth to it up to about eight to ten years ago. I've been into N scale since the late '70s. Back then there was some decent stuff for its time available, but most of it was pure crap. Sometimes I wonder how N scale survived, much less grew in popularity. Over the years the quality and quantity have greatly improved. Now the N scale locos comming out of Atlas, Kato and even Life Like are every bit as good looking and smooth running as their HO counterparts. Rolling stock from Micro Trains, Intermountain, Deluxe and now from Atlas rival what is available in HO.
I admit because of the size it is harder to detail to the degree of HO or larger scales, and if you do, its harder to see it. What N has over the larger scales is the ability to have a detailed operating layout in a small space or a more realisticly operating layout in a larger space. As the saying goes; If you want to model a train, go with HO. If you want to model a railroad, go with N.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 19, 2001 4:35 AM
I got switched in here on the wrong track, but while I'm here I will share with you my HO steam disasters
4-8-4 ,three Rivarossi 4-8-4 Northerns.
4-6-6-4, Rivarossi Challenger, all failed during the 30 satisfaction guaranty Modelexpo policy.
2-8-8-2 Rivarossi Mallet failed after two years.
2-8-2 ,two Mantua Heavy Mikado also failed during
Modelexpo's 30 day satisfaction guaranty policy. Have one Mantua 4-6-2 Light Pacific, now without the lifetime warranty since Mantua is closing down
HO has its problems too, seems like a lack of quality controls. The new Athearn Mikados and light pacifics, under weight but nice looking from
from what I understand. My time sharing program has expired, got to catch a train.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 19, 2001 11:50 AM
Sounds like the companies that produce quality products need to check their quality. Thanks Charles. Gerald
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, October 20, 2001 11:46 PM
Don, I haven't heard anything on the KATO steam devopment, BUT word for the wise. NEVER BUY A BACHMANN! I've been ripped off and pissed off twice. I've found that if it's not an Atlas, KATO, or Micro Trains DO NOT BUY IT!!! Hope this helps.
  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: Niue
  • 735 posts
Posted by thirdrail1 on Sunday, October 21, 2001 9:58 AM
You're not very helpful. Personally, I have four recent Life-Like locomotives, GP18, (2) SW9's, and an E6, and find them excellent performers and superbly detailed. I would rank the SW9's and the E6 right up there with the Kato and Atlas engines I own. I also have some Bachmann's that I paid very little for and perform adequately. And, as far as freight cars go, I'd rank the recent Atlas, Intermountain, Red Caboose, and Fine-N-Scale as at least as good as Micro-Trains.

Personally, I think Bachmann realizes that expectations are very high indeed for the 2-8-0, after they came out with the same in HO and added a Shay, and will not release a "junker".
"The public be ***ed, it's the Pennsylvania Railroad I'm competing with." - W.K.Vanderbilt
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, October 21, 2001 9:58 AM
Actually, I just got a letter back from KATO confirming that they are indeed working on more US steam prototypes in N scale. This is good news to me at least.

As for Bachmann, I've also had some junkers. However I've not tried their Spectrum line. I was under the impression these were supposed to be fairly decent.

Anyone out there have one of their N scale Spectrum deisels?
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 22, 2001 8:18 AM
I disagree about the traction tires. I have a Kato C57 4-6-2 steamer. It runs as well as the SD9043mac I have, and it has traction tires. It does not wobble, or foul the track. The Kato Mikado did have some pulling issues, but that is why they released the traction tire driver.

I have seen the Bachmann model pre-selling for $71. The Roundhouse is selling for $114 -$130 at most places.
  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: US
  • 377 posts
Posted by jsanchez on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 2:30 AM
You should try some of the Japanese made steam loco's they run beautifully. Kato, Tomix, Micro-ace,Kawai,etc. Most are under $100. Deluxe Innovations is coming out with an American prototype steam loco using a Tomix drive and GHQ metal body. Can't wait.

James

James Sanchez

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 8:43 PM
Hello, I'm new to this board and I've been in N scale for over twenty years. One thing I have found is we have a lot to be thankful for,I have had my fare share of all types of locomotives steam and diesel and I have some steam as old as I and still RUN Great! There are some weak links when it comes to motive power but you run what you can the rest give it to someone who can make it run. chris
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 16, 2001 8:34 PM
Well, I guess I'll throw in my 2 cents here.
I've dabbled in both N scale & HO since the late 60's, & it's been my experience that if you want to model steam (plastic, out of the box steam, that is), you'll do a lot better going with the larger scale. That's true for both better quality, & wider selection of products.
But there has to be hope. 30 years ago, N scale diesels were a pretty pathetic lot too! Now I have N scale diesels from Life-Like, Kato, & Atlas, that look & run as good as their HO counterparts.
Alas, I have also built up a small collection of old N scale steamers over the years, of various makes, none of which run any longer. So, on my current N scale layout, I have a scrap yard, with a length of dummy track, which is lined with "bad-order" equipment, including several rusty old steamers, waiting for the cutting torch!

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!