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Thread: Need some guidance picking a steam engine

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    Default Need some guidance picking a steam engine

    Hey guys. Aside from the KATO Mikado, there doesn't appear to be a lot of affordable options when it comes to N scale steam engines.
    Athearn Challenger: Love it! Very expensive
    Athearn Big Boy: Love it! Very expensive
    Bachmann Berkshire: I don't like Bachmann's stuff
    I have had my eye on the m1A from Broadway Limited Imports but I have never owned anything of theirs. Can anyone let me know if it's a good running engine? Are there any other options out there that I don't know about?
    Thank you!
    -Christian

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    Here's a good place to start - http://www.spookshow.net/locos.html

    -Mark

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    Guide to buying a steam locomotive:

    Step 1- Forget about buying a steam engine.
    Step 2- Buy a Diesel locomotive.
    Step 3- Beware the stampeding Moose.

    Done!
    Bronman - "Trains and Legos... you can't have too many of them."

    My Layout Build Thread - The Spokane & Eastern Washington
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    _________________________________________________
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    Wow. What a resourceful website. Gotta bookmark that site. Thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronman View Post
    Guide to buying a steam locomotive:

    Step 1- Forget about buying a steam engine.
    Step 2- Buy a Diesel locomotive.
    Step 3- Beware the stampeding Moose.

    Done!
    Dang, and I thought I was the only one who liked to the play with fire? Now I wonder where he's vanished off to again?

    @cboisits
    Yup be sure to bookmark it and visit often.
    Mark has done and excellent job for us and it has become a very valuable resource.

    Thanks Mark!
    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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    It would also be helpful if we knew what it's intended purpose was, if it's something special. Are you looking for a smaller engine or for big steam? DC/DCC/DCC Sound? Ruling out Bachmann tends to disqualify a number of smaller, affordable engines like the 2-6-2 or 4-6-0. But if you're looking for big steam then there are a few other choices. You also need to specify what's "affordable" in your situation. N-Scale steam that's good, other than the out of production Kato Mikado, tends to be more expensive than diseasals. Are we talking around $100? Or $200-275? Then new BLI Mikado has had good reviews. They are selling out quickly though but they can be had for $229 and up. The BLI M1a/b is generally well reviewed, but it's a PRR specific engine - nobody else had them. Same for the Kato GS4 - generally nice, but SP only. They also haven't been produced in a year or so which means finding them on Ebay or an online shop that hasn't sold out yet.

    Using Mark's (Spookshow) site you can probably figure out most of this yourself now. It's a marvelous place.
    John H. Reinhardt
    PRRT&HS #8909
    C&O HS #11530
    N-Trak #7566

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    Quote Originally Posted by reinhardtjh View Post
    Ruling out Bachmann tends to disqualify a number of smaller, affordable engines like the 2-6-2 or 4-6-0
    . . .and rules out the potential of buying a lemon due to spotty quality control.

    YMMV though.

    Quote Originally Posted by reinhardtjh View Post
    Then new BLI Mikado has had good reviews.
    And I saw one in person last weekend. Quite impressive! If the decoder can hold serve, it will be a winner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronman View Post
    Guide to buying a steam locomotive:

    Step 1- Forget about buying a steam engine.
    Step 2- Buy a Diesel locomotive.
    Step 3- Beware the stampeding Moose.

    Done!
    What in tarnation are you thinking?! That's right, you weren't! One Moose stampede coming up! :MooseAngry:

    :MooseStampede: :MooseStampede: :MooseStampede:


    Steam rules, disease'els drool!
    :4884: :4664: :4884:

    P.S. Moose never had problems with modern Bachmann steam locomotives, so suggest reconsidering them...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose2013 View Post
    P.S. Moose never had problems with modern Bachmann steam locomotives, so suggest reconsidering them...
    Yeah, but you're Da Moose! They don't dare malfunction!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    Yeah, but you're Da Moose! They don't dare malfunction!
    True dat!

    Moose does have a small Bachmann disease'el switcher. It malfunctions nearly since first arrival on layout. Moose no know if it is Bachmann's fault or if one of the steam locomotive crews sabotaged it...
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    Nothing wrong with the newer Bachmann stuff. I have numerous Bachmann steam engines and they all have been great!

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    Have quite a many Bachmann Spectrum steamers, no problems with any !

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    Quote Originally Posted by UP4-8-8-4 View Post
    One Moose stampede coming up!
    I refuse to photograph this impending stampede... as they say, "photos or it didn't happen". No photo, no stampede.
    Bronman - "Trains and Legos... you can't have too many of them."

    My Layout Build Thread - The Spokane & Eastern Washington
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    _________________________________________________
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    "That's just dumb, D-U-M, dumb." - Me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronman View Post
    I refuse to photograph this impending stampede... as they say, "photos or it didn't happen". No photo, no stampede.
    I like the way you think!
    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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    Another thumbs up for newer Bachmann steam engines!
    Bo D.
    B&O Keyridge Subdivision
    I'm not allowed to run the train, the whistle I can't blow. I'm not allowed to say how fast the Railroad Train can go.
    I'm not allowed to shoot off steam, nor even clang the bell. But let the damned Train jump the track, and see who catches hell!


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    @RailKing50, @UP4-8-8-4, @gatrhumpy

    All right, youse guys, you're gettin' on my lawn, see? After admiring @Moose2013's BLI Mikado last weekend and gettin' wistful about steam again, now you three have me pondering some iron horse trading for a Bachmann 2-8-0. They are a bit like some of the 2-8-0s found on the Interstate Railroad.

    Dadgum testimonials are ruining a good curmudgeonly stance. ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    @RailKing50, @UP4-8-8-4, @gatrhumpy

    All right, youse guys, you're gettin' on my lawn, see? After admiring @Moose2013's BLI Mikado last weekend and gettin' wistful about steam again, now you three have me pondering some iron horse trading for a Bachmann 2-8-0. They are a bit like some of the 2-8-0s found on the Interstate Railroad.

    Dadgum testimonials are ruining a good curmudgeonly stance. ...

    Paul!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!
    Hang on buddy! I'm throwing you a rope!!!!!!!

    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by reinhardtjh View Post
    Ruling out Bachmann tends to disqualify a number of smaller, affordable engines like the 2-6-2 or 4-6-0
    . . .and rules out the potential of buying a lemon due to spotty quality control.

    YMMV though.
    Yeah. I won't deny that. The newer ones are better (DON'T buy a "white box" Bachmann on Ebay) but you can still have a lemon from time to time. It often works out if you can test one at the hobby shop and buy it if it runs well.
    John H. Reinhardt
    PRRT&HS #8909
    C&O HS #11530
    N-Trak #7566

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    @Paul Schmidt

    It helps that I wasn't around for the early days of N scale where the B-Mann earned their bad rap! My first N scale steam engine purchase was a Spectrum 2-8-0 Consolidation, so I've been spoiled!

    I did receive a defective 2-8-8-4 from their last (first) run of the Yellowstones. One of the driver sets would lock up in reverse, but it would run fine forward. B-mann offered to trade me for a different loco type (I really wanted the 2-8-8-4), they told me that I could keep it and they'd put me on a list for a new one IF/WHEN they did another production run. Well, fast forward three years later, they announce another run and I called them immediately to make sure that my name was on that list still. The lady said that they will still honor their word, and that I should call back at the end of August to see about setting up the return just to make sure that the production run wasn't pushed back.

    Here is to hoping!
    Bo D.
    B&O Keyridge Subdivision
    I'm not allowed to run the train, the whistle I can't blow. I'm not allowed to say how fast the Railroad Train can go.
    I'm not allowed to shoot off steam, nor even clang the bell. But let the damned Train jump the track, and see who catches hell!


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    advice on steam engines...
    for n-scale...

    What I have a hard time saying is which new models are 'reliable.'
    You should consider the Kato FEF if there is no concern for
    what road you are modeling. buy it new, if at all possible.

    by reputation as I have not purchased BLI products
    there are few problems with what they sell.
    The stories heard here are that BLI does honor their warranty.

    Anything with b-mann on it is; try it before you buy it.
    they also honor the warranty they print.

    After that is said, it becomes difficult to find praise without qualifications.
    so lets just address the 'qualifications...'

    Presently, no one makes a solid bullet proof steam engine model in N-scale.
    At some point the engine will need tinkering.
    the best reputation for steam and longest run time before the need to tinker
    is held by Kato.

    If you run steamers, expect you will need to learn to lubricate them.

    If you want a good loco to learn and grow confidence,
    hunt a Kato 4-6-4 with plastic siderods (con-cor and made in Japan)

    victor

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