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Bought my first N scale steam locomotive and....Wow!

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  • Member since
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  • From: Kokomo, Indiana
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Bought my first N scale steam locomotive and....Wow!
Posted by emdmike on Saturday, May 1, 2021 8:50 PM

As I continue my toe dip into the world of N scale, I picked up a lightly used Kato FEF #844 in the excursion scheme at the local shop today.  All I can say is wow, nearly silent in operation, bright golden glow headlight with lighted side boards with the tiny road numbers back lighted.  Goes around my starter set cruves with ease.  Like anything Kato in N scale, the WOW factory is off the scale.  If rumors are true that Kato is working on tooling up a Big Boy in N scale, I will be preordering a 4014.  Now if they would do the DD40AX!  While the USA might be 2nd fiddle to the home market in Japan for them.  What they do make is top notch.  That was my one requirement when I decided to give N a try, nothing but Kato engines or older Atlas with the Kato drive.  Since I just like to watch them run, I am just going to do passenger trains.  I started with the Metra F40ph set, added one more coach and LED light kits to all cars, its beautiful.  Now I am hunting the excursion 7 car set and a water bottle car for the FEF.   Next on the list is the CB&Q Silver Streak Zephyr followed by the Hiawatha.  How soon depends if Kato offically announces a Big Boy as that will not be cheap.   While its a bit harder for me to see and work on N scale at nearly 50 yrs old, it fits my space better than HO or Lionel.  Its also very quiet so I can run trains at 1am when I get home from work and not wake up my wife, and quiet is good for someone on the autism spectrum who is very sound sensitive(me!).      Mike the Aspie.   P.S.   Pics soon.   

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted by emdmike on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:53 PM

Here is a short video of it pulling my Metra Bi level coaches.  Silky smooth and quiet with its coreless motor drive.  Cant wait to get the excursion consist for it to pull and I will light up those coaches as well.  

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted by MARTIN STATION on Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:09 PM

 Mike, sounds like you are having lots of fun with this, great! I have more Kato N scale locomotives than any other brand and have never had problems with any of them purchased new or used except one that just needed the wheels and axle contacts cleaned. I just turned 63 and still have no issues with seeing things in N scale. 

 I have Kato's UP Excursion set to go with my FEF, IC passenger car set with E8s and modern Amtrak pulled by pulled by P42s. All are great. The CB&Q E5 is one beautiful engine that I've pined over but never purchased. I too am looking forward to the Big Boy. As far as the Metra F40's I have seen them heading south on CSX trains here in Southern Indiana. I am told that they contract out heavy maintance on these to a company in KY or further south, anyway it gave me an excuse to throw one in behind my Kato CSX GEVo's.

Have fun,

Ralph

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:11 PM

Mike, Kato N scale equipment is top notch.

I have said a few times before that when I got my N scale Con-Cor PA1 with a Kato drive back in the mid 1980s, all my other locomotives immediately became shelf models.

When I had my dream house, I owned over 100 Kato driven N scale locomotives, and one Life-Like BL2.

-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 trwroute on Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:17 PM

I'm the same way with my N scale locomotives.  I only want Kato and Atlas / Kato.  In fact, the only thing China on my layout is the Atlas code 55 track.  Pretty much everything else is old school stuff (not China) and I love it!

Chuck - Modeling in N, HO scales and anything narrow gauge

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Posted by emdmike on Sunday, May 2, 2021 8:17 AM

Metra has been sending the aging F40ph's out to Progress Rail for heavy rebuilds into F40ph-3's I think is what they call them.  They come back in that new paint scheme like the one I have is in.  Metra plans to keep the ageing commuter warriors in service yet for many years to come from the looks of things.  I dont think the MP36's have equiled the old EMD's to Metra's satisfaction.  I keep hoping that Kato will do the Zephyr set that 9911a "Silver Pilot" still pulls to this day.  Kato offers the Silver Pilot, they just need to do the articulated train set now.  I am betting that passenger car set would be in instant sell out if Kato offered it as that would allow the modern era modelers to run it on thier layouts in prototype fashion.  Just as IRM was doing before the lack of PTC on 9911a put an end to it for the time being.   Hopefully we will see something official on Kato USA's website about the Big Boy here soon.  I am hearing from a few dealers that supply issues with materials(mainly the plastic pellets for molding all the parts) is delaying things including our trains.       Mike the Aspie

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, May 2, 2021 9:59 AM

emdmike
Hopefully we will see something official on Kato USA's website about the Big Boy here soon.  I am hearing from a few dealers that supply issues with materials(mainly the plastic pellets for molding all the parts) is delaying things including our trains.

I tried to find one, but it does not look like an N scale big-boy has been made before by Kato?

I thought they had done it already. I must be remembering something else.

-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 Lastspikemike on Sunday, May 2, 2021 10:46 AM

N scale may be small but it gives a better representation of prototype in the spaces we have available. 

Lack of detail is less annoying in N scale also, you'd never see it anyway, which is instructive to HO enthusiasts just by the way. 

The key has been miniaturization of motors and electronics. CAD/CAM has also revolutionized model railroading. You routinely see N versions of HO models and vice versa being released sequentially. The same design can be used easily to machine the required moulds at the two scales.

It's a great time to be in this hobby. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by emdmike on Sunday, May 2, 2021 3:35 PM

Kato has not done it yet.  But the rumor is that is what they have been working on thru the Covid crisis, a UP Big Boy.  Ever since 4014 returned to service, its been a rumor that Kato was going to tool up one since they have done the excursion cars(and can always make a fresh batch of them).  They almost have the UP excursion fleet covered, Kato has done the E units, 844 and both the business train and the excursion coaches along with the water bottle tenders that are tacked on behind the steamers own tender.  They just need the Big Boy and the DD40AX to finish the active fleet since 3985 is out of service for awhile.  

If you are able to watch the replay of the Worlds Greatest Hobby Virtural even from this past weekend, they kind of announced the Big Boy project is in developement and showed some artwork and discussed it.  So its in the pipeline, just not officially on the website or open for preorders as of yet.  I suspect soon depending when its due, guessing next spring as I would think preorders would be open if they were gonna get it to market by this coming holiday season.  

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, May 2, 2021 4:19 PM

Very nice Steamer Mike.  I'm with you all the way on buying Kato locomotives as they are definitely the best.  I read somewhere those side panels on the front divert the smoke and steam up away from the cab crew.  They look coolYes

 

 

 

TF

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Posted by emdmike on Sunday, May 2, 2021 4:31 PM

Correct, smoke deflectors, elephant ears ect.  Many German, British engines had them.  Only a few in the USA did.  Helps lift the smoke up higher so the crew can see signals and the track ahead clearly when at speed when the smoke wants to lay back right along the boiler.  

 

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted by angelob6660 on Sunday, May 2, 2021 4:36 PM

Kato will be future release FEF in two tone gray passenger scheme. 

I was going to buy FEF train, but it didn't fit my timeframe. The locomotive was in storage during the 1990s and early 2000s. So the only excursion steam locomotive to purchase would be the Challenger. 

I don't need to get another Big Boy I recently bought one from Athearn's. I only needed one, it may not be 4014 it's 4004. I'm not planning for purchasing another $430 locomotive or more if/when Kato announces it.

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

Amtrak America, 1971-Present.

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Posted by emdmike on Sunday, May 2, 2021 7:39 PM

I was not impressed with the Athearn offering, only one that has impressed me was the Trix model on HO scale, or older brass that needs loads of work to get beyond being a shelf queen.  If and when Kato does it, I know it will be a smooth and silent runner like my FEF3 is.   

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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