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Old 06-25-2020, 11:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rate Steam Locomotives

HI all,
I am looking to add some motive power to my small G scale railroad. I have the Delton 2-8-0 discussed in another thread here, and an Aristocraft U25-B.
I like steam, and loosely model that ERA.
I see LGB, Piko, Bachman & Lionel locomotives on Ebay, and hobby stores on-line. Probably forgot some others as well.
Is there a general consensus on ranking them? I am sure they have all made good and bad products. I am just looking to the experience here for some input.
Thank you,
Aflyer
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Old 06-26-2020, 12:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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LGB's steam locos are generally very well regarded, so it's hard to go too wrong with them. They may be a bit coarse in terms of detail, and LGB tends to play a bit fast and loose with the notion of "scale," but it's rare that LGB has produced a poor-running loco. (Some of their paint is quite garish, but that's nothing a can of spray paint can't fix.)

Bachmann's "Spectrum" line of locos are top-drawer when it comes to detail, and the later models are very reliable as well. Their C-19 is arguably one of the best commercially-available steam locos on the market. They had "issues" with their early forays into large scale, so I would recommend that if you see something you like, ask here for more information for what to watch out for. Bachmann's locos are models of narrow gauge prototypes.

If you're more a fan of standard gauge, then Aristo-Craft's locos will be more up your alley. Like Bachmann, there may be known issues with some models--particularly early ones--but many folks love their Aristos.

I'm lukewarm on Piko. Their European stuff is beautiful. Their US stuff is cartoonish to my eyes, and I've had issues with the valve gear falling apart on mine. That's not a universally-held opinion; there are those who love their Piko stuff.

Other options would be USA Trains and MTH. I don't have a lot of experience with them. USA Trains' steam locos are higher-end die-cast models. MTH's stuff is plastic.

Best bet is to find something that appeals to you, then ask about that specific model.

Later,

K
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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For long term ownership and parts availability (these trains will wear, or get damaged when run) remember that some mfg are gone or long gone, but others are still around.


Old LGB (read split case motor blocks) parts are getting harder to find, newer models are no problem. Long gone are Delton, Kalamazoo. Gone is Aristocraft and the older Crest line of power controls. And now HLW is still with us but for how long.
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Old 06-26-2020, 09:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by East Broad Top View Post
LGB's steam locos are generally very well regarded, so it's hard to go too wrong with them. They may be a bit coarse in terms of detail, and LGB tends to play a bit fast and loose with the notion of "scale," but it's rare that LGB has produced a poor-running loco. (Some of their paint is quite garish, but that's nothing a can of spray paint can't fix.)

Bachmann's "Spectrum" line of locos are top-drawer when it comes to detail, and the later models are very reliable as well. Their C-19 is arguably one of the best commercially-available steam locos on the market. They had "issues" with their early forays into large scale, so I would recommend that if you see something you like, ask here for more information for what to watch out for. Bachmann's locos are models of narrow gauge prototypes.

If you're more a fan of standard gauge, then Aristo-Craft's locos will be more up your alley. Like Bachmann, there may be known issues with some models--particularly early ones--but many folks love their Aristos.

I'm lukewarm on Piko. Their European stuff is beautiful. Their US stuff is cartoonish to my eyes, and I've had issues with the valve gear falling apart on mine. That's not a universally-held opinion; there are those who love their Piko stuff.

Other options would be USA Trains and MTH. I don't have a lot of experience with them. USA Trains' steam locos are higher-end die-cast models. MTH's stuff is plastic.

Best bet is to find something that appeals to you, then ask about that specific model.

Later,

K
K,
Thank you for your response. I appreciate your input, and like the idea of asking for members feedback on a specific make and model.

I like the LGB stuff, but a bit pricey. I have seen Bachmann Spectrum HO stuff at train shows, glad to hear their G stuff is well thought of.
I was surprised to see limited Steam choices in G scale. Seems to jump from Consolidations to diesel, I have not found much available in between.
George
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Old 06-26-2020, 10:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Pierce View Post
For long term ownership and parts availability (these trains will wear, or get damaged when run) remember that some mfg are gone or long gone, but others are still around.


Old LGB (read split case motor blocks) parts are getting harder to find, newer models are no problem. Long gone are Delton, Kalamazoo. Gone is Aristocraft and the older Crest line of power controls. And now HLW is still with us but for how long.
Dan,
Thank you for the input, I agree with what you said about parts and company's that are no longer in business. Makes it hard to keep things running.

Is there no aftermarket parts business in G gauge, as we have in S gauge American Flyer.

George
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Old 06-26-2020, 01:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Bachmann pretty much has all but dropped their 1:20.3 line, the parts department is chronically or permantently out. Aristocraft no parts either. As mentioned MTH and HLW might be problematic.


Accucraft are generally limited runs. So again limited.
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Old 06-26-2020, 02:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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George,
As most manufacturers were modeling narrow gauge, you run into the problem that there weren't many different types. No NG Camelback, or high speed Pacifics. NG lines ran at 25 mph for a few years and then most were converted to SG by the 1930s.
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Old 06-27-2020, 12:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lorna View Post
Bachmann pretty much has all but dropped their 1:20.3 line, the parts department is chronically or permantently out. Aristocraft no parts either. As mentioned MTH and HLW might be problematic.


Accucraft are generally limited runs. So again limited.
Lorna,
Thank you for your input, I have actually been reading about the Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0's, and thinking they are pretty nice. Sad to hear parts aren't readily available. I might like to have one, and hope I don't break or wear it out.
Aflyer
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Old 06-27-2020, 12:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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George,
As most manufacturers were modeling narrow gauge, you run into the problem that there weren't many different types. No NG Camelback, or high speed Pacifics. NG lines ran at 25 mph for a few years and then most were converted to SG by the 1930s.
Pete,
That is what I was finding and wondering why no expansion in the offerings. I have no idea how big or small the G gauge RR hobby is. But seems all rail hobbying is falling off.

I do like the Consolidations, thinking about going for a Bachmann Spectrum. But it would also be nice to have more options.Thank you,
George
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Old 06-27-2020, 12:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hartland locomotives are about as bullet proof drive wise as LGB. Both are sparse on detail for the most part, but running qualities are more important to me in the garden. Bachmann stuff got better as they learned what would "fly" and what crashed and burned. The venrable 4-6-0 once it got to the Annie version with metal side rods and a metal gear box became very well regarded for a solid running model with good detail for a garden railroad. Obviously anything with a tender is much easier to convert to battery RC control. Mike
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