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N Scale Atlas, Life-Like, Graham Farish, Micro-Trains, Minitrix and other N scale discussion.


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Old 12-10-2019, 08:43 AM   #1
firescales22
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so im a newbie and i was wondering if somebody could tell me what trains/train brands would be good for me (13 yrs) also if somebody could help with what rolling stock would be good

thx in advance
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Old 12-10-2019, 09:16 AM   #2
rrjim1
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You can't go wrong with Atlas locos and rolling stock, lots of great products to choose from. I would stay away from anything that doesn't have Micro Trains or MT compatible couplers. That way you won't have to change or modify couplers. Kato is one brand that IMO has terrible couplers.
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:28 AM   #3
firescales22
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ok thx and what about rapido couplers r they any good


also i was thinking about purchasing a DCC loco do u know like what one i should purchase and what DCC machinery i should get?
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:08 AM   #4
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I use and really like Digitrax mainly because of the hand held throttles. Some people like NCE, I would check out all the system your think you might be interested in before making a purchase.

If you can find a DCC loco you like, If not consider purchasing a DCC ready locos that you like and install a decoder.

Rapido couplers, outdated not used very much. You can how ever change the couplers or the complete trucks with couplers. Almost everyone uses Micro Trains = the best.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:08 PM   #5
traction fan
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West Welcome aboard!

Quote:
Originally Posted by firescales22 View Post
so im a newbie and i was wondering if somebody could tell me what trains/train brands would be good for me (13 yrs) also if somebody could help with what rolling stock would be good

thx in advance


firescales22;

Welcome to the forum! As for a good train brand, you can't beat Kato. Their quality is excellent across the board. I'm (71 yrs) and have been modeling in N-scale for at least (40 yrs) and have yet to see a bad Kato product. On the bad side, I avoid Bachmann, and I recommend you do too, at least for now.
Bachmann has a very mixed history, during which they have churned out many truly lousy products, and a few decent ones.
Old Bachmann stuff was pure junk. I gave up on the brand years ago. I have read on the forum that they "have upped their game" and "the new Bachmann locomotives are much better" , but I remain skeptical.
One current-production, lousy-quality, Bachmann product is their EZ-Track "turnouts."(track switches) They came in dead last on a quality comparison I did recently. The attached PDF file, "All about turnouts" has lots of useful information, and the quality rankings are at the end. I suggest you read a thread on this N-scale section of the forum titled "Are Kato #4 turnouts still problematic?" For some discussion on "Roadbed track" turnouts", including Kato and Bachmann.
"All about turnouts", and the other attached PDF files, are some I wrote to help new modelers or "newbies", like you, in building their first layout.

You asked if Rapido couplers were any good. Well, that depends on what you want to do with the couplers on your trains. If all you want is for them to stay firmly coupled, then Rapidos are very good at that. However, If you want to be able to uncouple cars for switching operations in a yard, or on sidings, then Rapidos are very bad at that. They stay together so well, that it's quite difficult to get them apart.
Rapido does make an uncoupling ramp, which lifts the couplers enough to uncouple them. The problem is, a train can only uncouple a car, and leave that car sitting on the ramp. It can't move the car anywhere off the ramp without re-coupling to it. This means you need a whole lot of ramp track sections. One, not only for each yard track, but also one for each spot on a long, multi-industry, siding, where you want to deliver a car.

A much, much, better coupler is Micro-Trains brand. They look like real couplers instead of gigantic square hooks, like Rapidos do. They somewhat resemble a human hand, and are called "knuckle couplers" for that reason. Micro-Trains couplers are magnetic. They can be uncoupled on a magnet ramp, and then pushed anywhere along a yard track, or siding, without re-coupling. Many modelers don't use magnetic uncoupling ramps at all. Instead they uncouple cars anywhere on their layouts with a simple stick, or small screwdriver.
Whichever way you choose to use them Micro-Trains couplers are the best N-scale couplers available.

These days most new cars & locos come with some brand of "knuckle couplers" attached. These knuckle couplers are all supposed to work with other brands of knuckle couplers, but some "don't play well with others." Oddly Kato couplers fall into this category. They work great with more Kato couplers, but not-so-great with other brands.

Most experienced modelers use Micro-Trains couplers on every car, and locomotive. For now you might like to use a "transition car." This car would have a Rapido-coupler-equipped-truck at one end, and a Micro-Trains truck/coupler at the other. This way, you could use your present cars, which have rapido couplers, and also use any new cars, or locos, that have knuckle couplers. I recommend you use whatever brand of knuckle couplers come on your newer cars, unless they give you trouble. Gradually, you could convert one car at a time to Micro-Trains couplers.

Again welcome;

Traction Fan

WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf

1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf
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Last edited by traction fan; 12-10-2019 at 12:47 PM..
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:55 PM   #6
rrjim1
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Well I'm 69 years old and own some pretty crappy running Kato locos, repaired some and even had to send a couple defective Kato locos back. They still use the same old high speed motor were everyone else has upgraded to a scale speed motor that runs so much better. No matter which brand you purchase you can get a bad one sometimes, nothing is perfect. The newer Bachmann locos are much better and run very well. I own two Bachmann Alco S4 locos that I consider very good switchers.
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Old 12-10-2019, 02:39 PM   #7
firescales22
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OK i have 1 kato engine it runs OK but i dont have much money so i dont buy a lot of kato engines but i do have like 7 (used) bachmann engines and they run pretty well also i have 3 life like locos and my track is kato unitrack
EDIT: i am not sure how to change couplers so if u could help with that it would be much appreciated thx
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Old 12-10-2019, 02:52 PM   #8
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do you have to ballast unitrack i just read in another forum that you should ballast unitrack i was just making sure
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Old 12-10-2019, 02:55 PM   #9
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annnnnnnnd another question do micro trains couplers come with just micro trains locos or can you get them with other brands?

EDIT:OK i just purchased 2 of those bachmann switchers you mentioned in the previous post i like them a lot i see why u enjoy them
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Old 12-10-2019, 03:43 PM   #10
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all right and one more as i work on my layout so i am going for a snowy/christmasy theme any good suggestions on what i should use for snow
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