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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I am new to this forum and new to trains as well.

Trying to build a O scale set for my kids room ( wall mounted).

Considering that I'll be spending more than a few hundred dollars, I was thinking of getting full die cast locomotive.

I've browsed through many MTH and Lionel catalogs and I am not able to identify a completely die cast locomotive.

For e.g the MTH SD70 ACe has -- Metal Chassis, Metal Handrails and Decorative Horn, Metal Body Side Grilles ,Metal Wheels, Axles and Gears . Does this mean the body is made of Plastic (or something else) ? I was not sure. This runs about $449 ( almost within my budget :D)

The Lionel Union Pacific LEGACY ES44AC Diesel #7454 . Has a "Die cast and metal body and frame" stamp on it . I am sure the entire thing is die cast. However this runs about 849.99 . Yikes ... that will mean I will not have any tracks or transformers or anything else.

If I need dull die cast diesel loco's ( BNSF, CSX, Union Pac, Santa Fe etc) do you guys have any alternate suggestions...

Thanks for your time on this...
 

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Almost every diesel model is plastic, sorry to burst your bubble. There are a handful of diecast ones, the GG-1 models being one class of them. The Lionel 6-28396 happens to be a diecast model, but as you say, it's pretty expensive.

You do realize that when you're looking at Legacy or TMCC, you're also looking at command & control models, right? Also, you didn't mention what exact model number that MTH SD70 is, but I'm betting it's a PS2 command & control model as well.

OTOH, almost all the steamers that are more than cheap toys are diecast, and most of the higher end tenders that match them as well.

I'm assuming you're thinking of conventional operation with a budget less than $1000 for everything, so you have to factor that in. Truthfully, I don't have a problem with most of the diesel units being plastic, they do a very good job with it. I think you should go look at some of the models at a local hobby shop or train show.
 

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Just about every new steam locomotive will be diecast or some sort of metal (brass is the other one that is used on some of the real expensive ones). As for diesels, except for some of the Lionel vision line diesels (the Genset and some of the GE Hybrid diesels) are metal, but most are plastic shells on a metal frame diecast trucks and a fuel tank. You really don't need a diecast shell on a diesel. My Lionel Lionmaster SD80MAC has the diecast underbody and a plastic shell and it definitely weighs enough and can pull a lot. It's a Lionmaster engine which means it has been scaled down slightly to run on O-31 curves so it's not as big as a scale engine but doesn't really look too out of place with them.

I paid $250 for that engine and it is one of my favorites for sure. It also has Lionel's legacy command system and sounds (they also made them with the older TMCC before Legacy was out so watch what you're buying).



Video
http://www.youtube.com/user/SantaFe158?blend=7&ob=5#p/u/11/Q788HrCCAnU

The only all diecast non-steamer locomotive I have is the Lionel PRR BB1 electrics. They are small but really heavy. I got a real good deal on mine ($240?) at a train show. I've only seen them on ebay for $400+ but if you can get a deal, they are pretty nice. They have the TMCC system and railsounds (powered unit and dummy with sounds)


Video
http://www.youtube.com/user/SantaFe158?blend=7&ob=5#p/u/47/ycnmey34RpA
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks T-Man and gunrunnerjohn and santafe158 . Appreciate your response to this. I love diesels so no steams ( for now :) )

@gunrunnerjohn -- The MTH SD70 is a UP Diesel with PS 3.0 -- 20-20219-1 Hi-Rail Wheels $449.95. You are right .

When you say -- "I'm assuming you're thinking of conventional operation" , are you talking about the DCS control system here. Apologies, I'm still catching up on various terminologies. I was under the impression that a DSC will support both MTH and Lionel trains ( unless I am wrong here). DSC is the newer standard right TMCC being the older one. Does this mean I should not be looking at TMCC's ?

@ santafe158 . Nice pics ! Its good to know that the diesels are sturdy. Now I dont mind them being plastic.
 

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TMCC is the first Lionel command system. It was still being made up until a year or two ago. It has been replaced by the Legacy command system. Both are good systems. The legacy engines just have a few more features and a different remote design.

DCS is the MTH command control which I have no experience with.

Not sure which will support which though.

Diesels have had plastic bodies since they were first made in the late 1940's so they are definitely sturdy enough.
 

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FWIW, the legacy controller still runs the TMCC/Railsounds locomotives and other accessories. TMCC hasn't really been replaced by Legacy, but rather they exist side by side. Lionel still produces lots of TMCC stuff, and new stuff like the command/control switches are TMCC based. All their small operating vehicles like the track inspection cars are plain TMCC. Legacy is just another generation of TMCC, and it does have some neat features.

I happen to have the exact same locomotive as santafe158 in Legacy, it's certainly a very cool piece. :)

DCS is Mike's Train House command/control, and it's not TMCC compatible, nor is TMCC compatible with DCS, they're two separate and different command/control systems. Many people run both DCS and TMCC/Legacy on the same layout, and they will coexist peacefully.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
DCS is Mike's Train House command/control, and it's not TMCC compatible, nor is TMCC compatible with DCS, they're two separate and different command/control systems. Many people run both DCS and TMCC/Legacy on the same layout, and they will coexist peacefully.
@ gunrunnerjohn -- I can imagine that MTH and Lionel remotes / command systems don't interact . But isnt there a DCC standard that will allow me to run a Lionel train on a DCS system even though I cannot control the engine via the remote .

If not, does this mean I will need to stick to one of either MTH or Lionel trains. Similar to choosing Canon over Nikon ?
 

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You can run conventional with either system, though it's not really remote. You can also buy a TMCC command base for $50-60 on eBay and run that with a DCS system and control Lionel TMCC trains.

Both systems have their advantages, so it's really dealer's choice. One way to determine what you want is look at the offerings from each manufacturer and see which one more closely fits what you'd like to model.

Remember, you can have them co-exist, you just have to have the two control systems. The actual control systems are not that big a part of the overall budget if you go command/control, you're buying a bunch of locomotives and accessories that talk the talk as well. :)
 
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