What makes it better?????

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by XavierJ123, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

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    What makes an Athearn locomotive ( or some other preferred make) so much better than a Bachmann, Model Power, Tyco, Life-Like, etc. The only conversation I hear is that the latter are toy trains and the others are better; but WHY???
  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

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    Life Like P2K is high end, but many consider Life Like (not P2K or P1K) train set quality. Bachman has a Spectrum series to compete with high end lines, and is far superior to train set quality, but IMHO not up to standard with some others. I have a lot of bachmann spectrums I bought because they were cheap on close out or there was no other choice.

    I've noticed the companies with high end lines that also do train set quality stuff (i.e. Bach and LL), seem to have better prices on the good stuff.

    You asked why there is a difference, IMHO it's $$$ and marketing. There must be some bucks in the market for christmas train set sails for kids and Christmas tree trains. They probably sell more sets at $60 and make more money doing so, even if they only run a couple of seasons (or are packed up and forgotton about anyway), than if they were to offer a train set featuring a $100 diesel, highly detailed rollin' stock, kadees, and metel wheelsets for say $600. Sadly the trainsets fall into the hands of some people wanting to get into the hobby and are turned off, or loose their money.

    So they cut costs by cutting quality, features and details. Doesn't mean some of teh stuff isn't usefull to the modeler after modification.
  3. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

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    Thanks for your time and trouble to share your knowledge. Atheans offers a Santa Fe F7A powered & a F7A dummy and/or a F7B powered & F7B dummy in a set. Can you tell me what I am looking at there? Talk about an expensive set! I would like to consider just the F7A & F7A dummy in the red warbonnet. I have no idea what those other tenders are. Would I want a powered F7A and powdered F7B? It is all so confusing to me. Here's the link: Click here: ATHEARN GENESIS HO Scale Santa Fe Super Chief F7AB Powered Set
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Athearn Genesis is their top of the line. The shells are made by Highliner. The Genesis line compares favorably with the best models out there and is priced accordingly. Athearn "blue box" or the new Athearn ready to run locomotives are very good models. They are less expensive than Genesis, but they don't have as much detail.
  5. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

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    I agree with Russ, that with Atherns, even their lower priced stuff is good. Real good quality, maybe lower on details and maybe not quite as "instrument" like.
  6. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

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    Ha Xavier, Some of the features that make them "better" are, all wheel electrical pick-up, all wheel drive, a can motor with flywheels, DCC ready, much finer details etc. The lower price stuff may have some of these but not many. For example I have a $20 Bachmann GP-50 that is all wheel drive and pick-up but no flywheels on the motor, not much detail, not DCC ready etc.
    As for the "tenders" you mentioned, I think your talking about the B units which aren't tenders, they are powered units without a cab. They were coupled to an A unit and controlled from it. Often there would be 4 units aranged A-B-B-A with the A's facing the oposite way. hth
  7. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

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    Why do they face the A unit the other way? I often wondered about that. And why do I see some "double A units--one facing in each direction, or a combination A & B unit both facing forward, and finally, like you said, "Often there would be 4 units aranged A-B-B-A with the A's facing the opposite way???
  8. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

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    Ha Xavier, The A units faced opposite ways so they didn't need to be turned for a return trip. All that is required was for the train to be coupled to the other end of the loco's and the crew moving to the led loco.
  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    I have a matched pair of P2K E8 A units that are both powered. When they dig into the 1.75% grade on the club's helix, pulling a 12 car passenger consist or a 65 car freight, the back EMF in the decoders kinda has the effect of dropping into low gear on a car. With the occasional slipping of drivers on one or two power trucks, the warming up of the motors a bit thus giving off an oily scent coupled with the ozone smell from said motors...sigh...makes me all feel all ooogie inside ;) :thumb: You'll never buy a dummy or a cheap loco again... :thumb:
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Originally when the Santa Fe got the first Ft's the units were sold as permanately coupled a-b sets connected by draw bars. The way they were set up the Santa Fe could run two sets either a-b-b-a, or a-b-a-b. Eventually they replaced the draw bars with couplers so they could get more versatility from the units. Later most roads ran them with the a units on either end facing away from each other so that they could go in either direction without having to be turned. In fact if you look at modern railroads running short hood forward, you'll see that the locomotives in the middle of a consist may face in any direction; but the locomotives on each end will have the short hood facing out for the same reason.
  11. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

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    Is there another name for B units? I know you don't call them tenders. It just seems weird that they are not given the respect of being called a locomotive or even a car. ;)
  12. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

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    If you are a Santa Fe fan and can manage it, the Genesis units are IMO the best F-units ever made - definitely so for plastic RTR's. If you are getting the passenger version, they simulated the plated and painted portions of the body very convincingly something never accomplished in plastic before. As mentioned before, they use the Highliner shells which have most accurately reproduced the nose and windshield contours which add to their realism - a point lacking on others inc Athearn's blue box version.
  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    To my knowledge thay were just called b units. They were all locomotives, and the b units had a hostler's window on one end so that an operator could see out to move them around the yard. An a unit had a cab, a b unit was a cabless booster.
  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Xavier, they are called locomotives. It's just that by the time you've said B unit, locomotive is redundant.
    Something has been lost since the F units were de-streamlined. VIA now runs them nose to tail (called "elephant style") so that they have to be turned. I think that's because they break down in the middle of the trip and have to be exchanged.
    The things that make some locomotives better are:
    -design (made to run more smoothly/quietly/slowly)
    -reliability (last past Christmas)
    -detail (more fine details that break off)
    -fixability (cheaper ones held together by rivets or welded plastic)
    A pair of powered units will pull a longer train, although most passenger trains could be pulled by a single unit. 4 powered units will drag the average passenger train up a 5% grade.
  15. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

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    That's an interesting point about the fine details breaking off. A comment was once made about building a Bowser without the optional $45. "super detail kit" so one could man handle it and really enjoy being a kid again. LOL I know I have one $60 Atlas diesel and it has plastic railings that drive me up the wall. I have to pick it up very carefully.