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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,
Sorry for the redundant title. I didn't proof it, and now I can't edit it.

I have about a $200 budget, and I want to buy a old west style steamer, like the 4-4-0's or similar and the associated track required to set up a simple loop to go around a circle with a diameter of about 4.5 feet give or take a few inches. HO scale preferred unless you think O would be better.

I have been unsatisfied with what I have been finding on my own, and so I thought I should come to the people who know.

Desired features in list of priorities: 1. detail 2. smoothness of operation and durability 3. Sound 4. Smoke

I want to share this set with my 3 year old daughter, and let her grow into it, and hopefully one day let her give it to her own children to play with. My dad had an HO scale Union Pacific diesel set that I loved as a kid, but it has since been lost. I think it was a lionel set. That is one of my favorite childhood memories, so I think that it would be a good thing for my daughter to have too.

Thanks for all your help and input, I appreciate it.
 

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Girls like trains also!!! I am going to recommend a locomotive. Its the best deal I know
of on a 4-4-0. It has 3 of your 4 priorities. I own one of these and showed it here on forum and others bought one and others chimed in and vouched how nice they are. It is
a Bachmann Spectrum. Spectrum is Bachmann's higher line. It does not have smoke. I do not know of any 4-4-0 with smoke. Just too small to have a smoke unit. It does have sound. Runs smooth. Ok, it is not an "old west". "old west" were 1860's, this is 1900.
Its on clearance at Trainworld.com. Just a suggestion for a nice loco in your price range.
You will have to buy track and transformer separately. Here is the ad. Even has a video of it.

http://www.trainworld.com/manufacturers/model-train-specials/spectrum-ho-baldwin-ln-144-modern-4-4-0-steam-loco-wdcc-sound-on-board-80127/
 

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I also suggest you get nickel/silver track. You can get a used transformer for $5 to $20.
That should keep you under the $200 budget, and maybe get a couple cars to pull.
 

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Are you looking for a traditional DC locomotive?

Or DCC? Digital Command Control (DCC) is a system to operate model railways digitally. (multiple trains with individual control, all going different directions and speeds on the same rails.

I'm guessing just DC for the price?
 

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He didn't say DCC but he wants sound. DCC and sound will work on straight DC.
Just no control over sound. He just wants an small oval of track. No need for DCC.
Plus no budget for it.

I wouldn't buy a Bachmann steam that wasn't spectrum.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input

Thanks for the replies guys, really helpful.

No, DCC isn't really a priority for me, as long as it can go forwards, backwards, and has independent control for sound features. I am a little electronics savvy, I figure I can add DCC in the future if I need to?
That one on clearance at trainworld looks really good.
I have it in my cart now. Thanks for the wal-mart suggestion, but I consider myself allergic to all things walmart unless they are groceries :)

Can anyone help me put together a shopping list for the track and the control equipment? I would like it to be durable, low maintenance track. The track my dad's set had these little metal pieces where the track was stuck together that were inserted into the rails, and they would always get stuck in the wrong section of track, and you had to pull it out with pliers and put it back where it was supposed to be.
 

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Mo-Pac, you're a dangerous person to be posting. I made the mistake of following your link to the Spectrum 4-4-0. It was too good a price to pass up so I ordered one. That's after unpacking a Genesis UP Challenger from Trainworld yesterday. They have some good prices.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Huh?

Is UP an acronym for something? Can you shoot me a link Deane? Not sure if criticizing or praising mopack
 

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Is UP an acronym for something? Can you shoot me a link Deane? Not sure if criticizing or praising mopack
Not criticizing in the least, I don't do that. I suppose you could call it praising, it was intended to be humorous, perhaps showcasing my weakness for spontaneous buying of cool things I can't live without.

UP stands for Union Pacific, one of the bigger users of the 4-6-6-4 Challenger locomotives, I believe with one still in service occasionally pulling their fleet of passenger cars.

This is Train World's site:
http://www.trainworld.com/
 

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I don't think you'll find a loco that size that contains smoke unit.

Get that Bachmann Mopac recommended. A simple oval of high quality, durable track can be purchased here (although there may be other sources): https://www.walthers.com/products/layout/track-and-accessories/roadbed-track/scale/ho-scale/manufacturer-name/kato-usa-inc/page/3

For a DC power pack that incorporates some sound control, this one: https://www.walthers.com/products/power-and-controls/power-supplies-sound-smoke-system/power-pack-train-speed-controller/tech-6-dc-sound-controler-2-0-throttle-2-amps

Now, you'll probably notice that this is about $100 over your budget. I could probably get you down to your budget, but you'd be buying junk. Bachmann's nickel silver (NOT steel) EZ Track would also fit the bill; you'd need 3 packs of P/N 44501 @ $16-ish each to make a simple circle; add a 4 pack of straight segments (P/N 44511), also $16-ish, to make an oval.

Note that you may be able to find the Unitrack and Tech 6 for less from other sources. Or, if you don't mind not being able to control the sound, get the Unitrack set with the DC power pack, which will be closer to your budget number.

You will also need a set of feeder wires (about $8) or a feeder track piece (P/N 44510; $12) if you opted for EZ Track. The Unitrack set comes with a feeder track piece.

Also note that you're going to be dealing with those little metal clips, no matter what you chose.
Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Awesome, this is exactly what I was looking for.

Do you suppose this is a wiser way to go about getting a good value in a high quality set than to try and get one of those starter packs that are all over the place with everything included?

Awesome community of folks on here.

Edit: Yikes, that controller is expensive.
 

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Awesome, this is exactly what I was looking for.

Do you suppose this is a wiser way to go about getting a good value in a high quality set than to try and get one of those starter packs that are all over the place with everything included?

Awesome community of folks on here.

Edit: Yikes, that controller is expensive.
The "bundled" sets have the allure of being cheaper than a la carte, and you get everything you need. That said, quality can be hit or miss, and you may get stuff you won't use later.

Me, personally, I'd pay a little more and get exactly what I wanted and nothing more.

The controller isn't that expensive (don't fall for the MSRP gag -- you can always find it cheaper). A good quality basic DC one, without any sound control, is still going to set you back about $75. (EDIT -- basic packs have come down in price since I checked last -- a basic MRC one costs $45). You might find a used one on eBay, but like any electronic gadget, buying used can be risky. And the controller is one area where you DON'T want to go cheap -- you'll just find yourself replacing a burned out one or upgrading an underpowered one after a couple of months.
 

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Deane, I want to see a pic of that challenger and the 4-4-0 sitting close to each other.
You will like that little booger also. It is diecast body (boiler) and frame. I had to turn the sound up on mine. It runs so smooth. It has a belt drive. Not gears. I almost did not get it because of belt drive. New to me. I read enough reviews on the belt drive. No bad ones.
No regrets here. That's funny, everytime I show it someone here orders one. A heck of a deal. It has a tsunami decoder. I have paid a hundred for just a tsunami decoder.
 

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Averageguy, If you get a basic MRC power supply you will not be able to turn sounds on or off. But It should, I repeat should chug as you run it and I think whistle will blow when you stop and when you start it. Sometimes the bell will ring when running slow. You can always get DCC later and then you will have total control on the sound. See how she and you like model railroading before getting DCC.

DCC will cost around 175. That would blow your budget out of the water. DCC is nice if you are running 2 or 3 or more locomotives. Get a basic MRC power supply. 2 amps will run one locomotive just fine. Now be careful- you can get hooked on this stuff. Too late for me. I have over 600 in just DCC stuff.

If you go DCC someday, you can use the MRC to power lights on your layout. We waste nothing.
 

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Deane, I want to see a pic of that challenger and the 4-4-0 sitting close to each other.
You will like that little booger also. It is diecast body (boiler) and frame. I had to turn the sound up on mine. It runs so smooth. It has a belt drive. Not gears. I almost did not get it because of belt drive. New to me. I read enough reviews on the belt drive. No bad ones.
No regrets here. That's funny, everytime I show it someone here orders one. A heck of a deal. It has a tsunami decoder. I have paid a hundred for just a tsunami decoder.
One look at that little guy at that price and I had to move on it. I usually do only UP and CB&Q, but I'm discovering that I need to open up my thinking a bit. It might look good on the front of my small string of LaBelle passenger cars.

I will do the photo of the two engines together. I haven't taken the Challenger out of the box yet. They usually seem to be priced at $475 to $650, and when I saw this one on sale for $399, once again I knew it was time to move on it.

I appreciate your tip. I can't wait until I get it on the test track.

I once owned an Akane 2-4-4-2 and sold it. I've regretted that ever since. The brass dollars were small in those days. If I found one now, it would be too prohibitive to consider.
 

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That KATO track is very good and worth the cost. I bought a few sections for a programming and test track on the advice of my local House of Trains shop and I can't imagine anything of it's type being any better.
 

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