MTH? Walthers? Proto? Athearn? Broadway?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by MrAllied, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. MrAllied

    MrAllied New Member

    Nov 30, 2010
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    After being out of the hobby for several years, I now want to start up again, in HO scale. I sold all my equipment and have NOTHING right now, so I am looking to find out what the BEST equipment is. I'm not into brass models, so let's leave those out. I find the MTH line appealing, as well as the newer Walthers, Proto, Athearn & Broadway Ltd. That said, I don't know much of anything as far as real quality goes. I would appreciate any pointers you folks might send my way. I am interested in buying the BEST quality models. I hate really fragile models, where if you look at them sideways, detail parts fall off. If you were starting out with nothing and had a pretty good income and could pretty much afford any type of equipment, what would you do?
  2. cajon

    cajon LAJ #1 at Engine House

    Sep 17, 2004
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    Best advice is go to your local hobby shop &/or model RR club & ask alot of questions about the different locos. Look for Yahoo Group forums for each manufacturer and read all the discussions there. You can also type their names in your browser to find even more info.
    All the ones you listed offer DCC/sound. So you're going to have to learn which systems fit your wants & tastes.
    My preferences would be: Broadway Limited, Athearn(Genesis), Walthers/Proto 2000(P2K) then MTH. BLI & P2K use QSI DCC/sound. Athearn is now using Tsunami vs the lesser quality one they were using. MTH has some issues w/ their DCS system being compatible w/ other DCC systems.
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Jul 9, 2005
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    First off, you have a couple of contradictions. Usually, quality is defined as accuracy of detail and/or very smooth running. Top end brass models usually have both nowadays. Detail is generally sturdier when made from metal and soldered in place, as compared to plastic detail.

    But you said you don't want brass, and you don't like fragile plastic models.

    So perhaps you need to define what you mean by best quality.

    Personally, I take a different tack. My means are much more limited, so I'm not into collecting locomotives that don't belong or fit on my layout. Rather, I prefer to come up with the best model I can of a particular engine in terms of both detail and running qualities. Since my layout is free-lance, a particular engine is usually one representative of what my railroad would likely have used in the era I model. Commercial model locomotives are seen as a starting point for modifications to end up with what I want.

    MTH - from what I have seen 2nd hand, I don't own any and am not likely to - is following the trends they have used successfully in 3 rail O. The MTH model locomotive is a fairly detailed replica, although many of the details are cast on rather than applied separately. This makes the detail more rugged, but just slightly more toy-like in appearance. To date, MTH engines have needed DCC or DCS to run well. They do not run at realistic speeds on 12V DC.

    Most sound-equipped model locomotives of any make do not run all that well on DC, because the sound electronics prevents them from moving until 7-9 volts is on the track. If you want sound, and the ability to control it, you need to have a DCC system.

    my thoughts, your choices
  4. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Dec 15, 2008
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    Fred is right again!

    I seem to be in the habit of agreeing with Fred. I don't have any experience with or knowledge about MTH.

    I have two proto 2000 locomotives one with sound and DCC and the other plain DC. The USRA 0-6-0 has DCC and sound. it lives at the club, and has been the best running and sounding locomotive there. That said it has some issues with the valve gear parts of which unexpectedly turned out to be plastic. I have some repairs I need to make to it because I stupidly assumend valve gear pates would be metal. This was my error, and I will fix it, it is an excellent locomotive, and has details my brass locomotives don't have.

    For my home layout I have a DC proto 2000 0-8-0, that serves as my Southern railway interchange locomotive for my Eastern Tn logging RR (documented very extensively in the logging and mining section. This locomotive looks and runs great. It runs as well as any rod locomotive I have ever seen, after my experience with the valve gear of my 0-6-0 I will be very careful with it's running gear, but it is an extraordinary locomotive.

    I also have a Broadway paragon 2 Y-6b. some of the guys at the club have some earlier Broadway offerings, and I was not impressed. I felt the detailing was sub par for the cost, and that the sound wasn't great. also, a deal beaker for me, they had dummy couplers on the pilot. If I can't switch with the pilot of a steam locomotive, it had better be a 4-4-0 with a cow catcher: every other locomotive type is expected to work for a living from both ends. The Y6b has better detailing and awesome sound. My sample had a gear issue, but the support people have been fantastic. I took mine apart, and it is very well designed and at two pounds is a hoss.

    As Fred said DCC/sound locomotives are puny when run on DC. Likewise Dc locomotives are puny when run on DCC. I'm beginning to think that everything else equal , you have a power loss on DCC. This is important to me as I like to fight monster grades. It is kind of like an automatic transmission in a car, is it really worth losing 15% of my power so I can eat a cheeseburger in stop and go traffic.

    The more I learn about DCC at the club, the less I like it. the sound is great fun for a while, but at some point it turns into noise.

    Lots of good advise so far, may I add figure out what kind of operation you like, so that the good locomotive you get fits well with what you want to do; as sugested, enlist as much help as possible, and remember, one really good locomotive will do more for you satisfaction with the hobby than six or seven poor running locomotives.