Poll: Favorite Steam Manufacturer

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Kanawha, Dec 9, 2008.

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What is your favorite HO scale steam engine manufacture?

Poll closed Dec 19, 2008.
  1. Athearn Genesis

    2 vote(s)
    6.5%
  2. Bachmann Spectrum

    9 vote(s)
    29.0%
  3. Broadway Limited Imports

    4 vote(s)
    12.9%
  4. IHC

    3 vote(s)
    9.7%
  5. Life-Like Heritage

    4 vote(s)
    12.9%
  6. Mantua (rest in peace)

    1 vote(s)
    3.2%
  7. MTH

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. Precision Craft Models

    1 vote(s)
    3.2%
  9. Rivarossi (also rest in peace)

    3 vote(s)
    9.7%
  10. Other

    4 vote(s)
    12.9%
  1. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

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    Like many of you out there, I'm an avid steam engine fan. :thumb: Particularly I like C&O, NKP, and NYC power. Thankfully, in recent years there have been dozens of awesome ready to run models available for those of us who haven't the money for brass. :mrgreen: I thought it might be interesting to survey everyone's favorite steam engine manufacture and find out why they like them. And for all you kitbashers, which models are the best to start from? :wave:
  2. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

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    bachmann spectrum so far.they usually run good.there customer service is fantastic and i find there the biggest bang for the buck.IMOHO--josh
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Bachmann Spectrum is an excellent choice. For kit bashers the biggest problem is that every railroad's steam fleet was pretty much custom built for that specific railroad. The closest thing to standardization were the USRA designs, and some were more popular than others, but of the hundreds of railroads in operation during the steam era, only a handful used the USRA designs. Because the USRA designs are a little more common in terms of use across railroad companies, that is what most manufacturers build. How many manufacturers make a USRA light Mikado and a light Pacific? The reason is the same boiler/cab combination can be used with either drive. If your railroad didn't use the USRA design, you either have to compromise or fabricate your own boiler/cab to match your prototype. Bachmann makes a Santa Fe 4-8-4 which is correct for the 2900 series and the externally identical 3785 and that number series when ever it started. They put "elephant ears" on the Santa Fe Northern and number it as U.P. 844. It really isn't a U.P. protoype. I'm not sure, but I think they add some other details to the same model and call it an NYC Niagara. There is just a lot of steam that really can't be kit bashed, it almost has to be scratch built on a production drive if you can find a production drive that is right for your prototype.
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Bachmann Spectrum is an excellent choice. For kit bashers the biggest problem is that every railroad's steam fleet was pretty much custom built for that specific railroad. The closest thing to standardization were the USRA designs, and some were more popular than others, but of the hundreds of railroads in operation during the steam era, only a handful used the USRA designs. Because the USRA designs are a little more common in terms of use across railroad companies, that is what most manufacturers build. How many manufacturers make a USRA light Mikado and a light Pacific? The reason is the same boiler/cab combination can be used with either drive. If your railroad didn't use the USRA design, you either have to compromise or fabricate your own boiler/cab to match your prototype. Bachmann makes a Santa Fe 4-8-4 which is correct for the 2900 series and the externally identical 3785 and that number series when ever it started. They put "elephant ears" on the Santa Fe Northern and number it as U.P. 844. It really isn't a U.P. protoype. I'm not sure, but I think they add some other details to the same model and call it an NYC Niagara. There is just a lot of steam that really can't be kit bashed, it almost has to be scratch built on a production drive if you can find a production drive that is right for your prototype.
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    Because of what Russ said, I prefer to see the return of kits and castings in lieu of the RTR plastic/diecast models of today. I am not quite ready for total scratch building; I'd rather start with a kit I can bash or customize. Even though my roads are free-lance short lines, I need plausible starting points or accurate models of small late 19th Century power.

    The ones that came closest to my overall needs are the Roundhouse line of locomotive kits. Not that they were perfect - far from it, especially the Shay and Climax - but they were/are starting points towards my desired goals. I'd love to see them re-issued, along with decent catalogs and re-issues of PSC and Cal-Scale castings.

    just my thoughts
  6. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

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    Well, Thomas doesn't exactly fit any of the above categories, so I picked Other.
  7. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

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    Many companies have been good about producing locomotives that are very prototype specific. But like others have said, it means that fewer roadname options are available. For example, when BLI made their Pennsy 4-8-2's, it probably wouldnt have been difficult for them to adapt the drivetrain and frame to a C&O J1 or J2 4-8-2. However the tooling and die changes to make an accurate model would be very expensive. I unfortunately didn't realize when I got my BLI C&O Mikado that they didn't actually represent the C&O K1, K2, or K3. Not even close. Lesson learned: always order based on a photograph of the product
  8. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

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    Leave it to me to misspell the name of the poll. lol
  9. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

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    Well, Bachmann's pictures of their Thomas, James, and Percy models are out of date, and somewhat off. Especially James(open cab vs. solid cab). :p
  10. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

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    This is a good question but I didn't vote for a couple reasons -- mainly because I'm not sure how my modeling interests fit into these choices.

    I mainly model British trains, however, I do have about 10 or Canadian/N.American locos & lots of N. American rolling stock. My Cdn locos are a mixture of Rivarossi, IHC and Proto 1000. My British locos are mainly Hornby or Bachmann Europe -- both are excellent.

    For my Cdn. locos, I've been pleased with IHC, Proto 1000 (this is excellent, definitely the best of my Cdn ones) & Rivarossi.

    Rob
  11. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

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    Does Proto 1000 fall into or under any of the voting choices? My CN diesel (C Liner) made by Proto 1000 is one of my smoothest and best running in my collect of 25 or so locos. (OK, so it's a diesel, but it should still give some indication as to quality, right?)

    My other steam locos are made by IHC and Rivarossi.

    BTW, Rivarossi was bought out by Hornby in the past 1-2 years. So the Rivarossi line should still be available in some form, although it might be marketed as "Hornby America" or something like that.

    Rob
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Robert, I don't think Lifelike ever released a steam engine in the Proto 1000 line. The Proto 1000 line was basically a simple, less expensive body mounted on a P2k drive.
  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    Bachmann Spectrum...nothing else is close.

    I certainly love what BLI/PCM has done: C&O 2-10-4s, decent C-16s (the driver spacing is way off), and many beautiful prototypes, but they are not the value that Spectrum is.

    Bachmann Spectrum is my favorite because they give me a locomotive that looks just fine sitting next to BLI, P2K, and such...but its costs are in line with a value brand such as IHC.

    IHC is an odd manufacturer. Their 2-6-0 is wonderful, but their 2-8-2s, 4-6-2s, and 4-6-4s, are in my opinion, are just plain poor. I also enjoy their OO scale (which is sold as HO) 4-4-0. Love that model.

    Mantua was fine, aside from their almost complete lack of details. My Mantua Mallets could out pull any other plastic locomotives prior to the Spectrum 2-8-0 launching the revolution that gave us BLI, Athearn Genesis, P2K, and such.

    Rivarossi...that's also an odd one. Their 1990s models were nice locomotives. They finally brought their internals up to the quality of their details. Still, their flanges were a drawback...I didn't like their gray drivers...and I didn't like it that my 2-8-4 had 65" drivers....65" drivers, WTH? I'm sure it was related to their old pizza cutter flanges.

    I thought Athearn Genesis was ok...not as good of pullers as Spectrum...details were slightly less...and they were more expensive...I'm speaking of the 2-8-2 and 4-6-2.

    For British and Thomas....I think we can break them into two catagories....
    Rivarossi is owned by Hornby...so Hornby British/Thomas is Rivarossi. :p
    Bachmann USA is produced in the same factory as Bachmann Thomas and Bachmann branchline (which is essentially equivalent to Spectrum)...so Bachmann Spectrum counts there. :p

    Roundhouse kits certainly were fun...I have a hard time seeing how RTR Roundhouse locomotives could be as enjoyable as a kit I've built (except maybe the shay :rolleyes: ). I too hope Athearn gets its house in order on this. At least we still have Bowser for kits.
  14. e-paw

    e-paw Member

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    I think I am the only person that voted for Mantua. I love cutting them up for various projects, and they can be picked up at shows at a price that does not hurt to much. Plus, with a little work you can get them to run like a top and pull like a champ.
  15. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    Almost an understatement :mrgreen:
  16. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

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    Life Like Heritage engines also pull like crazy, my friend's Y3 will pull 100 cars easily.
  17. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

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    WOW, a lot more steam enthusiasts out there than I thought.
  18. tjohn

    tjohn New Member

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    The Bachmann Spectrum is very nice. The new Roundhouses made by Athern run better but don't have anywhere near the detail as the Bachmann
  19. toptrain1

    toptrain1 Member

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    I don't know how you missed listing Bowser. Is their a problum with american made.
    frank, AK-toptrain

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