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Discussion Starter #1
Being new to HO and searching these forums, it seems that this is the loco of choice. I would like to bid on some but I need to know what questions to ask the seller before I bid. I dont want to buy someone elses junk or taken for a fool. I on a limited budget due to my illness and being out of work since January.
 

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Stuart -

There isn't anything wrong with "Blue Boxes" as long as you don't pay to much. If you can get one you like for $30.00 or less including shipping from any source it's a good deal. Especially if you plan on adding a DCC decoder which will cost $15.00 to $25.00 additional if you put it in yourself.
There are many choices in locomotives in the affordable price range some with DCC installed. Athearn RTR, Bachmann Spectrum, Proto 1000, Atlas Trainman, etc..
Look around good before you buy.

ALCOS4EVER
 

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I love Athearn BB's. I have bought several and converted them to dcc or just disassembled and cleaned, reconditioned and they run fantastic.
 

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I just bought one over the weekend on Ebay with the DCC installed for $46 NIB. Was that a good deal? It's an Athearn Blue Box DASH9.
 

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I also picked up an Athearn Blue Box ATSF F45 Dummy NIB for $19.95 and thought that was a sweet deal? I got it from the same seller.
 

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So where on the scale is this "Blue Box" model? Meaning, is it a cheaper model, more expensive, what?

I'm told the top of the line is MTH 1st and KATO 2nd? I think MTH is way over priced and I really like what I see with these Blue Box models.
 

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Ah, thanks for the 411 there. I'll keep that in mind in my future dealings?

I think Atlas makes some nice stuff and so does Walthers. But then again, I'm new to the hobby after 30+ years so, there could be stuff out there I have no clue about??? ROFLMAO :laugh::laugh::laugh:
 

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I run DC. Most of the primary runners in my fleet are BB engines. I am prefer engines that are prototypically close, this means they look good but there is no reason that they cannot be handled without fear of breaking them. The other trait I like about the BB locos is there bullet proof design. With slight maintenance they will run trouble free for years. If a part does break there were so many built that a doaner can be bought for next to nothing.

If you like kits see if you can find Round House engines. I have built an RS3 and a Climex to date. Both are now great runners and enjoyable to build. I have since found an 0-6-0T kit and another Climex to build. Round House engines generally run a little more for unassembled kits.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the information. Thats why I like these boards. I have never been steered wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I my further investagation, some e bay posters mention rubber band powered and others mention flywheel. What does this mean and which is the better one.
 

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rubber band drive is even older system where power from motor was passed to wheels via said rubber band. i'm not touching that.

flywheels on motors generally make for much nicer running locomotives. they provide somewhat of momentum for running over short interruptions in DC supply and increase weight of loco which is always good. but all recent BBs are flywheeled so when seller specifies that it is redundant.
 

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The rubberband drives are vintage, and sought by collectors. They're pretty neat to actually see the workings of them and even neater when I see a couple guys run them at the club. I guess parts are still pretty easily obtained from what I hear.
 

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The rubberband drives were called HighFi or something like that. They wee a cheaper alternative to the geared locomotives. I have two Budd cars and a pair of F3s that are that style. Actually the F3s that I have were yellow box and not blue box.

The Blue Box came originally without a flywheel. This made them less realistic in their movement. Stopping was more instant. The sense of momentum was not there. Durring the period without flywheels a wider motor was used. These motors are the reason some of the Athern GP shells are prototypically to wide. Next a steel flywheel was used. Generally one was plast fore and aft the motor prior to the u-joint connecting the motor to the drive shaft. Later these were replaced by brass ones. The brss ones were slightly heavier.

From what I have found all of the gear driven Blue Box locos are great performers for the price. The flywheels are nice but if you get one without them depending on the transformer you use you can enable a momentum feature that does a simular thing. They may not be as smooth but close. As for the brass vs steel fly wheel ones I have not notice any running difference in mine. Personally I think the care condition of the motor and gears play a much bigger factor in the running quality of the loco that if it does or does not have a flywheel. My best running BB Athern is currently a GP35 that has steel flywheels and was re-motored with a can motor prior to me buying it. When I received it I lubed the gears in the trucks and oiled all of the bushings. Runs like a champ and pulls strong. Has so much torque that if you give it to much throttle starting out it will lean to the right (kind of odd to tipp a loco to the right just as it is geting started.)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well after not being able to win an Athearn, I won a Bachman loco for $28.00 including shipping. Did I do good? Cant wait to get it already!
 
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