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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. Do any of you know what the quality of Bachmanns Thomas and Friends line is like? Im looking for an engine (not any one in particular) for my nephew, and was wondering if they're something he can play with. Are they reliable? Are they durable enough to survive a bit of roughness? Any feedback is appreciated.
 

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My grandson got one for his little cousin... the standard/regular version.
He says it runs good, and even has a very impressive crawl speed, although a little kid isn't likely to appreciate that.
He says it appears quite durable, but he's not sure if it's kid-proof.
You'll have to shop around for a good price... it varies widely.
He also got the two coaches.
 

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So far they have proven to be rather well made and durable. Keep in mind they're still HO and rough handling by a younger child will determine how they hold up. Would I turn my 4 y/o grandson loose on it? Only under supervision.

They also have different style couplers than regular HO. I believe it's a Hornby hook and loop style (others can correct if I'm wrong) that's a bit tricky to deal with. The basic set without extra characters and track is rather inexpensive if you shop around.
 

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I forgot. We have Thomas, Gordon, Bll I think... (Could be Ben)... Maybe another. Well they are all torn to pieces but some still run. No sound, no DCC. (I think a version of Thomas makes some sound. ) I saw a vid or two of folks retrofitting to DCC but have not done it myself. Generally these ended up mixed in with the wooden ones, drowned, crashed, buried, etc. Which is not to say the product is bad ... I quite like them. But staying in the track may be impossible. We also have 3 of the lionchief versions... That's o gauge stuff. These do make sounds but not the voice actors sounds. I always thought that was the obvious thing to do. (And did I mention chuggington? Couple of those... Wait you haven't heard of it... that's ok I think it's defunct.)

Anyway I believe I may like them better than the kids. At least for intended use!

(Converted ours to kadee... Little fiddly but good enuff. Now Thomas can pull my exactrail!)
 

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We have Thomas & his coaches along with Toby. All are great runners! I got them when my daughter was 2 , she is 5 now. We still enjoy them. They took most abuse. 鈥 erratic throttle control by a 2-3 year old, jumping tracks at high speeds...鈥
the normal stuff. Now she handles them on & off track. I watch her, but these are her first engines. Maybe when she is 6-7 I will let her pick out a real loco! Lol

So yeah they are pretty durable 鈥 within the HO scale class鈥
Also good running.


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This was the equipment that my son ran when he first got started at 4-1/2. It's real HO, not a toy, but it is sturdy, without a lot of detail to get broken. We didn't have any issues with things not running. We have Thomas, Percy, and Gordon, and no dogs in the lot.

They do, in fact, have the Hornby hook and loop couplers out of the box. Believe it or not, this was the one part that frustrated my son: he would often derail the whole train trying to uncoupled one car. I converted them to Kadees for him, simply by using epoxy to cement a coupler box to the lower side of the loco. If you do this, the couplers will be way too low for NMRA standards. If you want to mount them at standard height to mate with non-Thomas cars, it would require a lot of surgery to the car bodies, but as all his stuff was from the same line, I just cut off the trip pins and it worked fine.

At the age of 8, he suddenly declared that Thomas was "stupid", and so we got him some standard HO stuff in CONRAIL livery, which he was thrilled with. Now, unfortunately, he's hit that phase where girls, cars, and friends are much more important to him, but he and I still do some railroading from time to time.
 
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That's weird. No idea how the duplicate post showed up... but I killed it!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I can't understand why the Bachmann Thomas and Friends have those couplers, they did originate in the U.S in the first place, right?
 

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No idea. Perhaps they thought that those couplers would be easier for kids to manage? Or at least couple together. They're also metal and darned near indestructible.
 

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I was told the Bachmann version runs better.
The Hornby version runs faster... really fast!
 

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I have mostly Hornby Thomas trains. But I have a few prices of Bachmann Thomas rolling stock, and they are quite nice, and durable enough.....

The Hornby Thomas line is OO gauge (1/76 scale), but runs on H.O. track.....and my Hornby Thomas engines can crawl rather nicely, as well as speed along.....

The coupler styles on both Hornby and Bachmann Thomas trains originated in the U.K., as did Thomas the tank engine himself.....
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hornby is usually on top of Bachmann in terms of performance, but Bachmann trumps Hornby with detail, since Hornby just used existing models (some are quite in-accurate, others are terrifying) and Bachmanns are made to be Thomas and Friends. Bachmann is more kid-friendly because of the lack of detail, but Hornby, being actual models with slight changes, have more breakable details.
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Percy, who is not based on any existing Hornby models
 

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My experience with both family and friends is that Thomas stuff generally gets quickly outgrown... either because of a complete lack of interest, or in favor of more advanced model railroading.
 

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Star wars, marvel. Yet some of us still have room in our hearts for Thomas...
Thomas will always have a spur on our layout! Lol honestly I use him to clean the track with my track cleaning car. He pulls it nicely & my daughter loves that Thomas is 鈥渨orking鈥!! Ha ha ha!


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I wish for DCC, LEDs sound. But I suspect a $200 Thomas is not on everyone's Xmas list.

At one time I was very interested in getting some oo Hornby. I thought they were owned by bachmann but instead I see they are a listed company, and hemorrhaging money. And own several companies themselves.

Anyway somewhat recently I thought they dropped the Thomas and friends line, perhaps the licensing is too much. Yet the oo Thomas models seemed far better.

And I liked the idea of having the friend and then it's representative prototype...

You see this is another attraction to ho track. There is this vast world out there of other models that will run on it.

Oh wait I may have figured it out. It appears Bachmann muscled in. On a plus note these are DCC ready.

 

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Yes but the ...I'm sure you know this, but the engine will be oversized next to the ho.

Still it's appealing. And if I had the representative prototype that would be interesting to me ...

Btw the remnants of the shows models were held here at this amusement park.


(Yes I've been. ..part of some other trip. But I didn't know the models were there.. my info is also stale)
 

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Well i will admit. I don鈥檛 plan on buying one. I have dc any ways. I would not mind getting Gordon, or Percy in the ho scale from bachmann. However I don鈥檛 want to spend the money on them. I tend to spend my money on realistic locos instead. Lol not saying the price is bad on them. I just can鈥檛 justify my spending on them when I want a big boy!! Lol
My daughter is fine with Thomas , & Toby.


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