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Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Gil Finn, Feb 1, 2007.
I am looking for a good 4-4-0 american.
Who makes a good one and at what price range?
MDC/Roundhouse makes a nice one for a list price of $125.00 without sound or dcc, $225.00 with sound and dcc installed. MDC is now owned by Horizon, so their models will only be available at hobby shops or a hobby shop that sells online like Trainworld. That model is 1880's or earlier. IHC makes a nice one for use in a 1920's era railroad for about $50.00-$75.00 if memory serves.
There's the Bachmann American at ~$85, the Spectrum American with DCC at about $240, the IHC late American for $75, and as Russ mentioned, MDC is coming out with one too.
Rivarrossi used to make a couple, and I thought IHC had made them available as well, but now all they have is their "modern" one. Mantua's General is going to be re-released (I'd guess it'll be in the $100 range), but you can still find them at flea markets.
Of these engines mentioned, which one would you avoid if any?
I would avoid the Bachmann, the Spectrum might be ok, but the standard Bachmann has never been very good. They use a motor in the tender driving thrugh the locomotive drivers and it isn't the best motor or drive around. I think they also didn't put enough weight in it to make it pull very well.
I agree with Russ... I don't know if Bachmann's re-worked the 4-4-0, they have a lot of their other locos, but the problem was the motor and the pickup were all in the tender. The motor had so much torque that it'd lift the tender wheels and lose contact. Very jerky operation. Once it got going, it was OK.
I don't have any experience with the others, although it's a safe bet the Spectrum and Roundhouse are sweet runners. Of course for the money, they ought to be
the old mantua general was a good one, I hear. Mantua has been sold to model power, and they are reissuing some of the old mantua steamers. You can try to find an old mantua 4-4-0 at a swap meet or on ebay.
A good general today??? It darn sure aint the US Army...they made some really good ones in the past but the last couple of years......sign1
US Army (ret)
Sorry guys couldn't help myself.....
As noted above, there are several 4-4-0s around now or recently manufactured. Check EBay. I totally agree about the less expensive Bachmann. It doesn't run well, and is poorly detailed and finished. Doesn't even have counterweights on the drivers. The MDC represents a late-1890s or early 1900s loco; its boiler's too big for an earlier engine. I've no experience with it, but someone told me it has too much weight on the pilot truck (hence not enough on the drivers.)
The Mantua General is the very best of the lot for bashing. I've bashed several. I much prefer those manufactured in the 1970s. Open driver spokes, NMRA flanges, and no traction tire. Hopefully when the Mantua is rereleased, it will be better than the late production had become.
By the way: The "General" was one specific loco --- Civil War era (The Mantua is modeled after the way the loco looked after a rebuild post Civil War.) The only HO model of it is the Mantua. Other 4-4-0s are called "Americans", not "Generals".
I know that, I use the btrem loosley but thanks for pointing it out.