I got extremely lucky today and purchased my very first Atlas locomotive. It is an Atlas Master series SD-35 in CSX Blue and Grey paint without a road number. It was the locomotive that ran on my LHS's layout for the past year or so and she still pulls like a champ. (besides I only paid 40 dollars for it :thumb: ) I have an IHC SD-35 in the Stealth all grey with blue lettering scheme as well. I decided to compare the two today. All I have to say is the IHC is not exactly a bad model, not by any means, but the Atlas just puts it to shame in details. Side by side from a distance you cant tell much of a difference. But when you look more closely at them the details on the atlas just leap out at you. all the tiny extra detail parts really do make a huge difference in things I have learned. The reason why I am writing this however is for those folks who are either discouraged at the complexity of the hobby or are getting sticker shock from the prices of some of the high end Loco's and rolling stock out there. My Atlas Loco lists for I believe 159.95 as the standard version and the version I got I am unsure of due to the DCC decoder being factory installled but I am sure it is probably close to 200 dollars or so. My IHC sells for apprximately 60 dollars plus another 30 for the Digitrax decoder I installed. (BTW the IHC uses the exact same Digitrax decoder that the Atlas would if it didnt have the Atlas factory decoder installed ) Here is my point For probably about 20 dollars worth of detail parts my IHC can be brought up to the exact same level of detail as my Atlas. The running mechanisms are comparable as well. the IHC is slightly more throaty in motor sound however. So don't get discouraged by the costs of things. As Shaygetz and I were discussing in his Flea market thread, you can make some fantastic looking rolling stock for next to nothing but a little time and effort just by fixing up these "toy" train cars that most "serious" model railroaders out there. (you know the type, the ones who look at you like a little kid if you so much as mention anything but P2K, Atlas or Bachmann Spectrum) The whole point of this hobby is that it is YOUR model railroad. You don't have to please anyone but yourself. If you want to paint a locomotive up like the partridge family bus then go right ahead. No one will think less of you. We are all here to enjoy a very relaxing and enjoyable hobby. I do it presonally so I can spend time with my mother ( I am 30 she is 29 and holding ) And we both love watching our trains run around out little 4x8 loop of track with next to no scenery. Sure it may look like the same setup I had back in 1976 when I was 3, but we still both love to work on it. So Have fun and get those creative juices flowing and find ways to make you less than perfect equipment put those show offs who just bought there nice perf4ectly detailed models to shame. Especially when you tell them that piece of rolling stock was something they would have thrown in the trash can.