Lifelike N scale quality?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by alexander, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. alexander

    alexander Member

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    hi, first post here

    I am planning on an adventure into N scale, and am wondering what the quality of these are.

    thanks

    Alex
  2. alexander

    alexander Member

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    'nother question, who makes the best N scale starter set?

    thanks

    Alex
  3. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

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    Welcome on the N scale forum Alexander.
    I can only talk about the Life Like locomotives, I own their GP18 ( Missouri Pacific ) and their SW9/1200 ( Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo ) . I am very impressed because both locomotives run so smoothly.
    As far as I know ( I might be wrong here ) there is no Life Like locomotive that comes factory equiped with a digital ( DCC ) decoder. So if you want to go the Digital way in your N scale adventure maybe LL ( life Like ) is not the right choice for you.

    About an N scale starter set: I can't be of any help because I want to model European prototype so I purchased a Fleischmann starter set.
    Life like has a starter set " Yard master " with a SW9 locomotive but I cannot give any opinion about it because I don't own that starter set.

  4. alexander

    alexander Member

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    i forgot to clarify, i'm talking about their standard line

    i'll have a look into it

    thanks,
    Alex
  5. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

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    I own two Proto-N LifeLike diesels and they look and run flawlessly. The motor in both is very quiet with good low speed control. The more basic LifeLike (have a couple of them too) are good but not the same quality level as the Proto N. I would opt to buy a better engine, and go ahead and buy a starter set just for the additional track. Realize that almost everything in that starter set may or may not be the highest value or quality. You might consider buying all items seperately - power pack, rolling stock, diesels, track. The overall operation of the layout might give you less problems than starter set quality. That being said...if you opt for a Kato starter set, the quality is almost always first rate - at a bit of a higher price - but you won't sorry. Another to consider is the Bachmann Spectrum starter kits. Their engines run well, a bit noiser than the LifeLike Proto-N and other higher end diesels, but you get a pretty good power pack, EZ track, some cars that are pretty good, and the diesel runs pretty well with good detailing.

    Have fun deciding!
  6. alexander

    alexander Member

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    yeah, well, being on a budget, i'll prolly go with the cheaper ll starter set, or see what sort of prices i am looking at.

    Alex
  7. DavidB-AU

    DavidB-AU Member

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    Starter sets aren't cheap. You'll be lucky to get change out of $80 and many are over $100.

    You can get a Proto-N SW8 for as little as $40 or a GP20 for ~$50 if you shop around.

    Cheers
    David
  8. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    You do. Pick the engine and cars you like. Add some track and power supply. Ta-da! :D

    I'd suggest an Atlas engine which seem to offer the best bang for the buck. Shop around at online hobby stores and find a less-popular model being closed out at a nice price. Pick up some of their "Trainman" freight cars which are older models recycled with new paint schemes and couplers and you've got a great starter setup. I'm going to sound like a broken record, but I'd also suggest a little of the classic Atlas code 80 Snap-Track to get started, too. It's cheap and durable and can take a little of the setup and putaway on the kitchen table before you finally get around to building a layout.
  9. alexander

    alexander Member

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    yeh, i'll go with code 80 track, and i do ahve a spare transformer.

    i'll shop around, see what i can get for, say a regular LL geep, tranmsformer, rollingstock, track, and some accessories

    I dont like using those (to me at least) overseas shops, much rather my LHS

    Atlas seems just a tad too expensive, i just want somthing cheap to get my feet wet

    thanks

    Alex
  10. DavidB-AU

    DavidB-AU Member

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    By all means check out your LHS for bargains, but if you're on a limited budget you really are throwing a LOT of money away buying RTR Life Like or similar at a Brisbane hobby shop. What sells for US$50 can be over A$150 by the time it hits the shelves here. Remember the importer has ordered in bulk and had to pay import duty which is passed on to you, and the retailler adds GST. Even when you add air freight from the USA you'll pay about half the retail price at your local shop.

    For heavy or bulky items such as transformers or flex track, the LHS is cheaper.

    If you want something dirt cheap just to try out the scale, then try the second hand stall at an exhibition.

    Also of interest, there are at least two clubs in and near Brisbane which specialise in N scale. They will also have some good advice about sourcing products locally or elsewhere at the best price.

    Cheers
    David
  11. alexander

    alexander Member

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    yeh, i'm about 2 hours away from brisbane, but there is a place that has decent prices at Brisbane

    its not too much of a markup now the exchange rate has gone down

    i'll check out secondhand tho.

    I often check some places for pricing and a B'mann set is about 125 AUD
  12. DavidB-AU

    DavidB-AU Member

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    Trust me, even with the current exchange rate there has to be markup due to customs duty and GST.

    Cheers
    David
  13. alexander

    alexander Member

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    yes i know

    But then there is also the coat of shipping to add
  14. DavidB-AU

    DavidB-AU Member

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    As I said, even with shipping from the US I pay around half the local RRP.

    Cheers
    David
  15. alexander

    alexander Member

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    interesting, i'll see what comes up
  16. 3railguy

    3railguy Member

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    Life Like starter sets headed by SW switchers, FA diesels, GP-18's, or SD-9's are excellent intros to N scale You get nickle silver Power lock roadbed track which is pretty good stuff and a power pack. Most sets include a building kit to assemble, and some trees.

    Bachman's 0-6-0 pennsy style switcher (the one with the tender) set is another decent set. I do not like Bachman diesels. The gear towers break easy and/or the gears crack.

    Hobby Lobby carries Life Like sets mentioned here. If there is one near you, you can get 40% off any set with this cupon:
    http://www.hobbylobby.com/site3/weekly/weekly.cfm

    With this cupon a Life Like SW or Bachman 0-6-0 set should set you back around $40.00 which is a good price.
  17. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

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    Hi Alex, welcome to the Gauge. :wave: I guess the first thing you need to do is to consider what you want out of the hobby. Do you just want to set up some track and run some trains around or do you want a permanent (or semi-permanent) layout with scenery and operations etc....That's the great thing about this hobby, you can get involved as much or as little as you want. :thumb: :thumb:
  18. alexander

    alexander Member

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    bit of both, i have a Meter by meter table to use, i'm seeing what i can get out of this
  19. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

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    If you are planning a full layout, even a small one (to begin with :D ) I would recommend saving your money and buy the better quality items. That doesn't mean that you have to only buy the super high priced locos etc. Some Kato, Athern, Atlas, Lifelike Proto and Bachmann Spectrum series are all pretty good choices that can be picked up for fairly reasonable prices. I'm sure that some one will dispute that, :rolleyes: :D :D but those are pretty good bets.
  20. alexander

    alexander Member

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    the only problem, is that being 14 years old, money is scarce, and, if the cheaper stuff will suffice, then its what i use