Life Like trains sets

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by dannyceralde, Jan 13, 2002.

  1. dannyceralde

    dannyceralde New Member

    Jan 13, 2002
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    Does anyone know if the engines and cars in the Life Like sets are decent. I've read that the Bachmann stuff is junk, and Life Like seems to be much better in quality. I'm getting started in the hobby and wanted to purchase a set, rather than buy the pieces individually.
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Jun 13, 2001
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    Welcome to the Gauge, Danny. It's a good place.
    From what I can tell, the quality of what you get in most train sets is lower than what is available separately. There a related thread on the Atlas forum right now:
    Related thread
    That's not to say that it's not a good way to get started. Just don't give up thinking that there's not better equipment available.
    Bill K
  3. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    Aug 8, 2001
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    Hi Danny -

    A word of warning - there is a great difference in the normal "Life Like" trains and sets, which are of fairly low quality, and the Life Like Proto 2000 (P2K) or Proto 1000 (P1K) series.

    The P2K series of locos and rolling stock is of the highest quality in terms of shell detail and running capability - up there with Atlas and Kato as the "top" models.

    If you do want to buy a train "set", I would suggest looking at Athearn - the quality is usually better than "regular" Life Like, IMHO.

    But as Billk told you, you are usually better off buying individual locos and cars - you might pay more in the short term, but you will have a much higher quality model railroad when you are done. Especially if you stick with quality makers like Athearn Genesis, Atlas Master, P2K, Kato and Kadee.

    As in most things, you get what you pay for!

    Good luck!!

    - George
  4. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Jun 4, 2001
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    Some of Life-Like's sets are better than others, from what I understand. Here is a list of the sets that they currently produce:

    Little Joe - Comes with an 0-6-0T engine. This engine is probably fine for running around in circles, but it probably doesn't work well if your layout has switches/turnouts. The is because of the short wheelbase--it can't reliably pick up current over the insulated frogs of the turnouts.

    Diesel Charger - According to Spookshow, the GP38-2 included in this set is supposed to be a pretty decent locomotive.

    Freight King - The GP20 used in this set is widely considered to be a good locomotive. Micro-Trains uses it in a couple of their train sets (Hershey's and Pepsi Cola collector's sets).

    Diesel Transport - I've heard from different sources that the SD7/9 is one of the best bargains available in N-scale. Check out Spookshow's comments on it. I'd like to get one of these engines myself.

    Yard Master - The new one comes with the SW9/1200. This is widely considered to be the best switcher engine available in N-scale. I've got one and it's fantastic. It's so small, but it runs very smoothly, even over the turnouts.

    The sets come with nice rolling stock, and most (if not all) come with their Power-Loc track. Some sets also come with kits of buildings. All come with power supplies (except the Micro-Trains sets), but these are the cheap kind. I'd invest in a better power supply (like one made by MRC). A decent power supply will make a HUGE different in the operation of your locomotives. Those cheap ones generally only have two speeds: stop and too fast!

    I hope this is useful!