Mike, is there a question in there somehow? ;-D
I have a fair size collection of Maerklin gauge 1 wagons and locomotives, spanning all three production styles. My views;
The 70's & 80's style, including the starter set BR80 and Henschel DHG500, and all the waggons, are very sturdy, also suitable for childrens play. All the waggons actually share the same two axle frame, and have very good plastic wheels. No easily broken off detailing - yet I think they are quite nice models. They are very affordable 1:32 models - get some on German e-bay, if you like! Only serious drawback, is that the claw-couplings are cast to the frame. Exchanging them includes sawing & modification.
During the 80's this style was coplimented with increasingly detailed models, and much larger steam locomotives, obviously aimed at adults.
In the 90's came "the new gauge 1" - some extremely detailed models, correctly depicting their real life prototypes, with sprung buffers, and all could be fitted with prototypical screw-couplings. These are the wagons I run with my live-steamers. But they are quite expensive & fragile.
Two different sets of Swiss waggons have been made. The first set was especially insanely detailed and beatiful. The sets cost an arm and a leg, but would match your new Aster engine very well. You also won't find them in the USA.
In the mid 90's came the MAXI line. Intended to compete with LGB - but adding the selling point they were all metal. The models revived the crude but charming tin-plate style. They are intended to survive harsh childrens play. Probably also intentional, the MAXI line attracted a nishe of slightly nostalgical adults, remembering their tinplate HO models in the 50's & 60's.
Some of the locomotives evolved into rather finely detailed cast metal models, that come very close to the "PROFI" line detailing.
The MAXI line made no significant dent to the LGB market ;-) A big drawback to the all metal MAXI waggons, is that they are very heavy. Running more than ca 4 waggons behind a small loco, isn't feasable.
The MAXI line was finally scrapped when Maerklin bought LGB. At the same time, a few smaller firms stole the largest part of the market for very detailed models. One of them was Huebner, who actually was the driving man behind Maerklins "Profi" line as a subcontractor. As he retired, Maerklin bought his firm, and hired his only (!) employee. However, Maerklin has all but lost the market to the competitors. Way to late, Maerklin has adopted the same museum level detailing and product quality, like all metal locomotives (hand built in Korea). Maerklin tries to compete with slightly lower pricing, market reach and brand aura. They still are insanely expensive.
The more simple standard gauge models are now produced in the realm of LGB, to some fantasy variable scale. But they do it well, and there is a market. Play is the main thing, regardless of some precise scaling to many! This compliments the narrow-gauge line, but are intermixable in size.
As for your Henschel DHG500 , you may have to replace the coal pieces feeding the rotor in the motor at some point in time. Also, lubricate from time to time. It will run forever with a bit of cleaning and oil! The noisiness on my BR80, actually mainly is the resonating superstructure. Putting some rubber cushioning betwen it and the chassis, took away most of it. (Perhaps I replaced with longer fastening screws also - I don't remember ;-) )
Sadly, I cannot recomend the Maerklin gauge 1 track system, because lots of large scale equipment cannot be run on it. The "spike-head" / rail fastening, is cast to high. It's a blunder, because PECO has an even smaller railhight, but will accept ALL large scale brands of waggons and locomotives. (We use it on one of Stockholm Livesteamers layouts.) I found this out in a sad way, when I invited my friends to run on my track - and half of them couldn't run their models. I would never have bought the Maerklin track, had I known. :-( Go for som USA brand code 215 or 250 instead!
Member of Stockholm Livesteamers, Sweden
Owns Märklin gasfired BR89 (sort of T3), BR18 (S3/6) and alcohol fueled Aster P8 (BR38)
Last edited by Pauli; 06-21-2017 at 09:26 AM.
Reason: comment on track