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Thread: Frustration with finding locomotives

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    Default Frustration with finding locomotives

    So limited with locos and road names.

    also so few with DCC installed. Too afraid to break these expensive locos by installing myself and the hobby shops near me don't.

    prefer kato diesel power, but they don't have much beyond the 6 axle ones....which I have for main line, but need some 4 axle locos for inner line and switching yard.

    basically none.

    ding BNSF but also could include Santa Fe I guess.

    what should I do......mix in other road names, I am freelancing basically but wanted to focus on Chicago and BSNF but don't need to be totally prototypical and what about other engine and other manufactures ...Atlas?

    also frustrating that they don't all use MT couplers.

    Thoughts, suggestions,

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    What era are you modeling?

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    Quote Originally Posted by EFchicago View Post
    So limited with locos and road names.

    also so few with DCC installed. Too afraid to break these expensive locos by installing myself and the hobby shops near me don't.

    prefer kato diesel power, but they don't have much beyond the 6 axle ones....which I have for main line, but need some 4 axle locos for inner line and switching yard.

    basically none.

    ding BNSF but also could include Santa Fe I guess.

    what should I do......mix in other road names, I am freelancing basically but wanted to focus on Chicago and BSNF but don't need to be totally prototypical and what about other engine and other manufactures ...Atlas?

    also frustrating that they don't all use MT couplers.

    Thoughts, suggestions,
    Atlas makes excellent locomotives, most of which can be purchased with decoders -- NCE and LokSound are their decoders of choice these days.

    Installing plug-and-play decoders is not difficult, but does require a bit of patience and finesse. It does not require completely taking apart the chassis. Simply loosening the two screws which hold the split frame together will provide sufficient wiggle room.

    Replacing a manufacturer's proprietary coupler with a Micro-Trains coupler is not all that difficult either. MT's web site has a chart showing which conversion kit works with which locomotives.

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    Fifer hobbies www.fiferhobby.com, or nscalesupply.com, or katousa.com .

    ___________Just do it in Vinyl!__________


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    Also, check in at a local hobby shop, if you have one around you. Or eBay. I have two DCC engines and got them both on there.

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    +1 on Atlas for four-axle locomotives. They are a little harder to install a decoder in than a Kato, but not bad once you figure it out. All the releases for the last several years are available with DCC, or more recently, with DCC and sound.

    With a little patience, I've actually had good luck on ebay in finding a particular locomotive that is no longer available in hobby shops.

    Also, I would encourage you to learn how to do the "drop in" DCC installs. I think it will actually increase your enjoyment of the hobby in the long term, and help you troubleshoot the little problems that will inevitably come up over the years.

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    Consider learning to custom-paint and decal your locos. It's not that hard, with a little practice you'll have nice results. You don't need an airbrush, either, though they are nice. I don't have one. I do everything with brush and rattle can. I use relatively inexpensive Testors enamels and Krylon and Rustoleum rattle cans, and for select things I use inexpensive acrylics from a tube. Decals aren't that hard, even the tiny ones. Tiny brushes and tweezers make your life less difficult there...and practice makes perfect.

    I'm sure there are lots of us that can donate carbody and loco shells for you to practice on. I have a bunch of derelict cabeese you can have. Most roads are available in decals, and there are custom ones available too.

    I stick with DC only for my layout, I have enough damned frustration with digital crap in my life, I don't need more.

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    Kato is/was primarily a "japanese" manufacturer, making models of japanese trains........then they expanded into early (40s to 60s) American Passenger equipment, and more recently into large modern diesels. There have been a few exceptions like their SD40 and 45 locos , some GP38s and 50s and some RS locos. They also make a nice NW2 switcher. Some of those would fit BNSF, and I know they made the SD locos in both BN and SF paint schemes but none of the smaller locos were made in DCC although most are easy conversions. Part of your problem is that BNSF doesn't have a ton of 4 axle locos........most of their branch lines have been handed off to smaller railroads, and even in the yards they need larger power. At the large BNSF yard in Laurel,MT the switching duties are handled by MRL, which uses 6 axle SD35s,40s and 45s as switchers. Since there aren't a lot of smaller BNSF locos out there, manufacturers don't make a lot either. There are still a few locos out on the BNSF lines running in SF and BN paint, although the number gets smaller all the time, but you would be OK running either of those with your BNSF power. I wouldn't be afraid to get a few Atlas locos......I personally think they are as good as Katos. The main issue is Katos run at a higher speed at equal throttle settings (Katos tend to have 150 to 200mph top speeds) but that's easy to compensate for with DCC, and it sounds like you wouldn't be mixing the switchers and branch line locos in with the main line locos anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRLdave View Post
    Part of your problem is that BNSF doesn't have a ton of 4 axle locos........most of their branch lines have been handed off to smaller railroads, and even in the yards they need larger power. . .Since there aren't a lot of smaller BNSF locos out there, manufacturers don't make a lot either.
    Ehhh, not so fast. I think using Montana as your sample size might be a mistake. They're still lots of four-axle power on BNSF that I see every day -- GP26s (some sort of rebuild I've not looked into), GP38-2s and -3s, GP39 rebuilds (ex GP30s), GP50s, GP60s (B units), all working local switch, transfer and yard jobs, and even a few SWs still working Stacy and Balmer yards.

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    Have to agree with Paul on this one.
    Here in town (Nebr) they have had upto 4 sets of two locos that switch the Havelock shops and also run as locals.
    Most are the GP26's, 38-2's, 50's and a lot of the rebuilt units now classified as GP39's from former GP30's, GP35's and GP40's.
    Now and then you'll see some of the ex-ATSF B40-8's as well as the occasional SD60's and C44-8/9's
    So that opens up a lot 4 axle units to use. Most of which are Atlas.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    I personally like Atlas Locos a lot . They are super smooth at low speed , and offer a wide variety . Katos are nice , but as mentioned run a rocket speeds out of the box . Atlas with the scale speed motor are more realistic . Sure all can play nice together with speed matching , but not everyone gets into that , especially at first

    Steve

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    Got an atlas dash-8 4 axle in war bonnet Santa Fe, DCC installed.

    Nice loco, runs nice. Really see the speed difference. Must also say that while the Atlas is very nice, the Kato is for sure smoother (6 axle).

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    Once upon a time I didn’t think I would ever see the locos I wanted in N Scale. Then I learned to build them myself. I’ve done the BN 5 man cab GP50, I did the BNSF Smurf GP38-2s before they were available from Atlas (who makes a ton of 4 axle BNSF engines), as well as detailing and painting my own C44-9Ws, SD50s, SD60s... These projects helped me understand the modeling side of model railroading. Can’t find what you want? Build it.

    The one I have left to tackle is the BN GP28M, such an iconic engine. Odds of it being commercially built are nil. There were too few built. I plan on building one (maybe that will be my 2020 project) and resin casting it. I know there are a few people out there looking for them.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    I plan on building one
    Which is like saying Rembrandt just dabbled in oil paints. ... I wager it will be amazing.

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