I tell ya, Pete. I'll only recommend a geared loco for the budding enthusiast. You can hastily track down (in most cases), and have rewarding, forgiving performance from these crawlers.
My opinion only: you need $5K to get into this hobby comfortably....put $2K or so into a loco...do it right. Track, switches, leveling, etc will fill in the other $3K or so... Can always quickly sell (a quality loco) if steaming winds up not being your thing..
Of course, I've yet to operate a proper rodded loco....that may change within days...if I can find something... hmm Wilson....
Originally Posted by Pete Thornton
An excellent observation. Those of us who have tried a Ruby and moved on to something better would agree with you. (Especially those with R1 curves. Note that the Accucraft specs call for 4' radius, 8' diameter for the Ruby!)
When asked, I always suggest the next 'grade' of Accucraft model - the $1,000-$1,800 Shay, Mogul, or similar medium size locos. They are much easier to handle and run very nicely.
BTW, don't be put off Accucraft by the Ruby. The medium size models, while not foolproof like a Roundhouse, are very nice and great fun to steam.