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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Listed best first, IMO
HO scale.
(your mileage may vary).


Rolling Stock, RTR
... FREIGHT CARS:
Arrowhead
Rapido
Moloco
ScaleTrains/RivetCounter
Tangent
MTH
Kadee
Atlas Master
Atlas/BLMA
Athearn Genesis
BLI (open hoppers).
Walthers Proto
InterMountain
Roco, Marklin (European).
Centralia (cabooses).
Red Caboose
ExactRail Signature
ExactRail Platinum
Athearn RTR
MTH 'Ready2RailT'
Bluford (xfer cabooses)
Walthers Mainline
Bowser/Stewart
AccuReady
Atlas Trainman (cabooses).
ScaleTrains/Operator
Bowser Executive
ExactRail Express

... PASSENGER CARS:
Golden Gate Depot (UP/SP Harrimans).
Rapido
MTH
Branchline (advanced kits).
Ambroid (wood, advanced kits).
Centralia (PRR).
Con-Cor (BCS) 65' heavyweights
Trix, Roco, Marklin (European).
BLI
Walthers Proto
Rivarossi heavyweights
InterMountain
Walthers Mainline
Athearn
Bachmann Silver heavyweights

Rolling Stock, KITS
Westerfield
Red Caboose
Tichy (advanced).
Accurail
Funaro
Branchline Blueprint
Ambroid (wood, advanced).
InterMountain
Proto 2000 (advanced).
A.M.B.
Branchline Yardmaster
Roundhouse
Train Miniature
Athearn BB
Varney
Kit Classics (ScaleTrains).

Locomotives
Rapido
ScaleTrains/RivetCounter
Athearn Genesis
Atlas Gold
Trix (Big Boy).
Trix, Roco, Marklin (European).
InterMountain
BLI
Walthers Proto
Athearn RTR
Walthers Mainline
Atlas Silver
Rivarossi
AHM
* MTH
Bowser
ScaleTrains/Operator
Bachmann
Atlas Classic
* Sorry, but every MTH locomotive I've ever owned was a problem.

Structure kits
ITLA
FOS
Banta Modelworks
B.T.S.
Summit
Fine Scale Miniatures
Campbell
Bar Mills
Suydam
Builders In Scale
Laserkit
City Classics
Walthers Cornerstone
BLMA
DPM
Blair Line
Woodland Scenics
Walthers Trainline
Faller

Scratch-building materials/parts
Evergreen (styrene).
Plastruct (styrene).
Northeastern (wood).
Midwest Products (wood).
Fast Tracks/Mt.Albert (wood).
K&S (metal).
MicroMark (metal).
Misumi (metal).
Albion Alloys (metal).
Tichy
AMB
FOS
Bar Mills
Rix/Pikestuff
JTT
Campbell
Accurail
Tangent
Walthers
B.T.S.
Kibri
Busch
Branchline
Vollmer
Noch

Bridges
Central Valley (advanced).
A.M.B.
ExactRail (RTR deck plate).
B.T.S.
Campbell (wood trestles - advanced).
Walthers Cornerstone
World War Scenics
Micro Engineering
Atlas

Signal Bridges
Alkem (brass kits - advanced).
BLMA
N.J. International
Viessmann Modellspiewaren (brass, RTR, European).
Walthers
Atlas

Vehicles
CMW
Oxford Diecast
Athearn
Malibu International
Motormax
Sylvan (advanced kits).
Brekina
Busch
Woodland Scenics
Schuco
Jordan (period kits).
Herpa (big-rig cabs).
Alloy Forms (big-rig diecast kits).
Artitec (motorcycles).
ModelTech (utility, e.g. garbage trucks).

Figures
Preiser (painted).
Walthers
Bachmann
Woodland Scenics
Noch
Preiser (unpainted).
Faller

Detail parts
Tichy
Detail Associates
BLMA
Cannon
Plano
Accurail
A-Line
Moloco
Walthers
ModelTech
Kadee
Arrowhead
Alexander
Grandt Line
Blair Line
Wiseman
SS Ltd
Central Valley
Bowser
Details West
CalScale
Kemtron

Flatcar, hopper, & gondola loads
JWD (superb... the very best).
Motrak (excellent scrap loads).
Protoloads (top drawer).
Tangent (best steel coils).
Walthers
Chooch
Busch
Osborn
AMB

Decals
MicroScale
Blair Line
Tichy
A-Line
Speedwitch Media
Accurail
Woodland Scenics
Busch
Lonestar
Highball Graphics
B.T.S.
Kadee

Couplers (trouble-free):
Kadee
ProtoMax (Walthers).
McDonald-Cartier (Rapido).

Metal wheelsets
InterMountain
JB
Reboxx (code 88 only).
Kadee
Tangent
Rapido
ExactRail
Walthers Proto
Ring Engineering
Athearn
Atlas

Trucks
Accurail (frames).
Tichy (archbar frames).
Tangent
Athearn
Walthers
Kadee
ExactRail
Atlas

Intermodal/Containers
Atlas Master
ScaleTrains
Rapido
Aurora
Kato
Athearn
InterMountain
PT Trains
A-Line
Walthers
Atlas Trainman (discontinued).
... Con-Cor is the last of all choices.

Acrylic paints
Vallejo Air
MicroLux (VallejoAir/MicroMark).
ModelFlex
Tamiya
Mission Models
ModelMaster (to be discontinued).

Primers
Badger Stynylrez
ModelMaster (enamel) to be discontinued.
ModelMaster (acrylic) to be discontinued.
Tamiya
Vallejo
Rust-Oleum (oil based).
Krylon (alkyd).

Glues & adhesives
... Styrene:
Tamiya ExtraThin (use w/ventilation).
Plastruct Plastic Weld
CA
(many other popular favorites).
... Wood:
Elmer's white GlueAll (exterior parts).
CA (seal first, e.g., DullCote, urethane, etc).
Elmer's carpenter's glue
... Cardstock/Paper:
PVA bookbinders glue (pH neutral).
Weldbond white

Trees & foliage
Scenic Express (ready made).
Grand Central Gems
JTT
Reynauld's MBR (European).
Model Tree Shop (European).
Heki (European).
Silhouette Mini Natur (European).
Woodland Scenics (ready made).
Walthers
Bachmann
Noch Gmbh
Faller Gmbh
Busch Gmbh
TomyTec

Ballast, gravel, talus, etc
Woodland Scenics
Scenic Express
Arizona Rock & Mineral
Barnes
Armballast
Ashland
Noch Gmbh
Faller Gmbh
John's Lab
Busch Gmbh

Airbrushes
Harder & Steenbeck
Iwata
Badger
Paasche
Grex
Ultimate APEX
Master

Track cleaning cars
CMX Clean Machine
Centerline Products
__

Not listed
:
Scenic rock, grasses, etc.
Trackage
Electric & DCC Components
Tools
Compressors, Accessories
Brushes-Cleaners-Accessories
Publications
Suppliers & Vendors
 

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I truly think “best” always has to take into account the price......at least it does for me, anyway.....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I truly think “best” always has to take into account the price......at least it does for me, anyway.....
As in (category) Trucks?
But you usually really do get what you pay for.
 

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That is what I should have said.....

As for trucks, I think Atlas trucks are better than Athearn trucks, at least “older” Athearn trucks....

And Rapido makes containers now, they are quite nice, although I don’t do containers in my model railway world.....

553214

553215


Rapido Containers
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hadn't seen those.
If I had, I would've added them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Rapido is one of the brands our "Train Pimp" has trouble getting hold of.
Also, it's a brand that's generally scarce in these parts anyway.
 

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Their stuff usually sells out even before it’s available.....must be good stuff.....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
BTW, two brands listed may be totally unfamiliar with some folks...
AccuReady and Ready2RailT.

AccuReady is Accurail's RTR line.
Their Facebook page hasn't been updated in years, and I haven't seen them on shelves in a while, so I'm assuming they've been discontinued.
They're all over eBay though, and priced slightly above Accurail kits.

Ready2RailT is MTH's current entry-level line.
They're accurate reproductions, and well detailed... on a par with Walthers Mainline, and comparatively priced.
I have six of their cars, and can vouch for their quality.
 

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Those Accuready cars were nice....came with metal wheels, as opposed to their kits, although they still came with Accumate couplers.....and the metal wheels were too shiny/chromy for me.....

I think it was their experiment into RTR cars, but obviously, they were not as successful/cost effective as they had hoped, and were discontinued....

Most of the Accuready cars I have were found at train shows, for very decent prices.....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
And Rapido makes containers now, they are quite nice, although I don’t do containers in my model railway world.....
Just took a lookaround...
The online price seems to average $25 a pair, which is not bad.
I especially like the Schneider and J.B. Hunt.

However, there aren't any mentions of their mating system (even in a review I saw).
And that's very important to intermodal folks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Okay I learned a little about the Rapido intermodal containers.
They are pinned on the bottom, with top holes. They'll mate with Athearn cans on top, and Walthers underneath, along with most other brands of that config.
Also, the bottoms are removable, so you can add weight, which can be be a blessing or a curse, depending on whether or not the car wobbles (it's usually best to weight the bottom can only).

Quality-wise, I'd place them along with Walthers, Athearn, and ScaleTrains.
According to what I see price-wise, and by the reviews I've seen on YouTube, I'd say they're top drawer items, and an excellent buy.
When in stock, they've been on sale at ModelTrainStuff for as little as $15 a pair.
 

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My local train store has them in stock.....I will check the price next time I’m there, later this coming week....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've already updated my Intermodal Containers category for the next posting...

I just got a couple of sets of Atlas Master cans... Wow!

MSRP is pricey... $45 to $56 for a 3-pack.
I got these packs for $39.50 from our 'Train Pimp', which is close to most LHS prices.

First of all, the Atlas mating system is the same as Athearn's, which makes them instantly compatible.
Secondly, the paint, lettering, and detail are dead solid perfect... I had to use magnification to verify what I was seeing.

Door and refrigeration details are (on most units) separately applied... even the fan blades are visible through grille covers.
On units where door latches aren't separate, they're treated in such a way to convince you they are... you'll need magnification.
Bottoms are removable for adding weight(s).
BTW, only add weight to bottom cans. Unless you rubber-cement them together, it'll be a p.i.t.a. to keep track of which ones are and which aren't.

Atlas Master containers are (currently) absolutely the best... hands down.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
After further review, I've edited and 're-shuffled' my OP, in the Intermodal Container category...

After having another chance to examine the field of brands, I've arrived at different conclusions, based on these three 'righteous' parameters
QUALITY
OVERALL APPEARANCE
FUNCTION


As far as function is concerned, mating-compatibility is the most important attribute.
For instance, Walthers uses a tab/slot arrangement, while Atlas, Athearn, A-Line, Kato, ScaleTrains, Rapido, and InterMountain employ a pin/hole format.
This means that Walthers containers must be on the bottom, if they're to be mated with others.

Con-Cor on the other hand, are the worst of all worlds, because their system has bottom holes and top pins... making them incompatible with any other brand.

Four notes:
1.) Rapido deserves special consideration for their bargain price on car/can combos.
2.) Kato's use of internal magnets is a huge plus (if they're to be mated with each other).
3.) I see no advantage whatsoever to ScaleTrains' expensive sound-equipped option.
4.) Manufacturers will (curiously) justify container pricing with "the high degree of fine printing required."
However, I call b.s. on that, as (like locomotives & rolling stock) undecorated versions are rarely discounted.

My revised Container list now reads like this:
Atlas Master
ScaleTrains
Rapido
Kato
Athearn
InterMountain
A-Line
Walthers
Atlas Trainman (discontinued).
... Con-Cor remains the last of all choices.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The appearance of containers can be greatly enhanced.
I don't have any premium ones.
These Athearn, Walthers, and Kato cans are 'dressed up' with light weathering.
Don't overdo it.

All my containers are 'permanently' mated with rubber cement, to help shorten the process time in assembling a long unit train.
AthearnIntermodal_003.jpg
WalthersJBHUNT_001.jpg
AthearnCans_019.jpg
KatoCans_011.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Westerfield
Advanced resin kits.

Westerfield resin models are superbly detailed, and require better-than-average skills to assemble... a bit trickier than Tichy, but not as hard as Ambroid passenger cars.
Most of their models represent the pre WWII depression era.
MSRP average is $48.
WesterfieldMWcab18037_002.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I've added Acrylic paints and Primers to the list.
 
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