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Thread: Need some guidance picking a steam engine

  1. #21
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    No mention of the Model Power line. I have one of their 2-6-0s with DCC & sound. It's worth the money and with couplers fore & aft, doubles as a good switcher. The only thing it lacks (for my preferences) is footboards on the tender but that can be easily added....


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  3. #22
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    Hello. You not make any remark on which radius or kind of track you want to run the loco. For small layout you can forget the expensive Athearn and anoter big engines. I have small teen wheeler from them, DCC&sound ,run and pull like charm. If not, for small yard, small diesel. Good source Spookshow thread to study you choices.

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  5. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mosslake View Post
    No mention of the Model Power line. I have one of their 2-6-0s with DCC & sound. It's worth the money and with couplers fore & aft, doubles as a good switcher. The only thing it lacks (for my preferences) is footboards on the tender but that can be easily added....

    I made the post praising Kato because I did not want to be seen
    as taking an axe to the many problems I have found with n-scale steam engines.

    so to take a walk on the dark side of n-scale steam engines...

    brand new and currently available...
    I can't recommend Model Power because they shirk honoring their warranty.
    (ask me how they handled my failed sound decoder)
    Given how many Pacific drivers I have seen break loose or crack
    I assume the _used_ ones being sold have that problem...
    to share a bit of praise, my re-worked MP pacific is quite good.

    I like the b-mann 2-6-0 and 4-6-0... buuuut
    buy it new and expect it will run for 600 hours.
    replacement chassis is 45 dollars last time I priced it.

    the other b-mann steam is, in my opinion, over priced for what you get.
    Few agree with me on that.
    the main reason I do not state they are ok is because they still seem to make
    truly poor examples. Most got good berks with sound and the rest did a lot of shaking.
    ( it is a design flaw )
    so far b-mann has found good quality control difficult to achieve.

    avoid the 0-6-0 and 2-6-2 as problematic.
    get one cheap and learn steam engine repair is about as good as that gets.

    the smaller athern/roundhouse has the reputation of being good.
    the 2-8-0 I have is good. I can't stand the tender.

    the rest of this shading models and not standing to praise them
    is because most steam engines are a mixed bag. they run ok
    and have quirky difficulties. An example is traction tires barely touching rail.
    The other part of the mixed bag is that most n-scale steam could be a good deal better.
    Despite pretty clear evidence of what works well in an n-scale steam engine,
    some manufacturers ignore the better and often simpler solutions, thereby creating a quirk.


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  7. #24
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    A bit late to the party but ... going against the grain here, I have had/tried numerous bachmann steam engines and ALL of them have failed within a few weeks and a couple within a few hours. The main failures going down to the decoders together along with poorly fitted trucks, in other words - poor quality. I agree with Victor 100%, they are over priced for what you get and are very much a hit and miss buy. Best bet, don't buy them to begin with.

    Model Power - I had one of them as well, a 2-6-0 from memory, and it lasted an entire 2 hours before dying. Another decoder issue and over priced for what you get with virtually 0 customer support.

    I had a HO BLI with Paragon 2 and it ran (and still does from all accounts) very well. Not sure how their N Scale engines compare as I only have one BLI N scale and that is an AC 6000 with paragon 3 and that runs very well, or did on its last run. BLI however, does have some customer service and tech support issues, as do most brands.

    I also have a Dapol 2-6-0 Steamer which is beautiful and does seem to run well, again, it did on its first outing earlier this year.

    Graham Farish also makes a very nice engine, although a little pricey.

    The later two manufacturers are British so they tend to be a little larger in size than the US branded ones.
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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  9. #25
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    Well I guess I too am late to the party...

    I have a number of steam locomotives from a variety of manufacturers and have had (mostly) good luck with them all. While Iíve been very happy with my recent Bachmann steamers, I would echo Victorís earlier recommendations regarding the Kato-manufactured Hudson locos. (The later ones! Spotting features are the plastic siderods and wires between locomotive and tender.)

    There are three ingredients for a solid performing locomotive: 1). Good electrical pickup; 2) Good manufacturing quality; 3) Good (and balanced) weight. Iím sure others will add their thoughts but with these three elements youíll have a solid performer.

    The Hudson has electrical pickups on all drivers (albeit minimal on the ones with traction tires) as well as all 12 tender wheels. It has a bulletproof motor. It is heavy for its size and the weight is well-balanced.... not front heavy nor back heavy. (Itís a stump-puller.) And, of course, Katoís well-earned reputation for quality of assembly.

    What it lacks are the layers of detail that todayís models have... no wheel blackening, no separate handrails, no window glazing, no cab detail, etc. However, they WILL operate on code 55 track. And if you have tight (9.75Ē) curves, itís not a problem. The biggest downside is that itís a massive engine... so if you are modeling a branch line or small railroad, it may be a bit anachronistic.

    Despite these drawbacks, my two Hudsons still have a prominent place on my layout. I donít foresee ever retiring them.

    Enjoy the hobby!


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  11. #26
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    I also have to say that if you buy *new* from a trusted dealer...and even then make sure that new doesn't mean new old stock, then Bachmann *Spectrum* steamers are pretty good.

    In fact, the 2-8-0 Consolidated is quite a stump-puller. Best steam loco that I have other than the Kato FEF-3. I have two of them...double heading, I pulled a 16 penny nail out of a 2x4. Well, I might exaggerate a bit...

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