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Discussion Starter #1
Southern Pacific Overnight
Challenger Imports.


I have the MTH 5-car set, but Zipper Trains hauled dozens of them at a time.
K-Line & MDC also made them.
This 15-car brass set from Challenger Imports is priced at $3,875, or in singles at $275 each.
Any takers?
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For the price they could have at least thrown some couplers on them. Sure some people use different styles, but I would bet most of their customers would have been happy with a pair of Kadees.
 

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A
For the price they could have at least thrown some couplers on them. Sure some people use different styles, but I would bet most of their customers would have been happy with a pair of Kadees.
As far as I remember, many, if not most, brass locomotives and rolling stock never came with couplers.....and some rolling stock didn't even include trucks and wheels.....
 

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What's it give you exactly over plastic? I understand it's metal, there's an appeal there. But are they more detailed, more realistic, more.. well metally? Or is it more about them being hand made or more so... Or maybe durability... Or...?
 

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And the couplers may as well be Surgant (<sp?) as there already are air hoses present.. With Kadee you'd have 2 hangin' down, 4 between 2 cars...But they are great looking models...
 

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Brass has always been known as being able to create an exactly replica of the real car being modelled......same number of rivets, same type of grabs, ladders, roof walk, brake wheels and rigging, etc......

Plastic models are generally generic cars, as the moulding required to make it is very expensive, and can't be tailored for every little difference between railroads.....

Real railroads didn't necessarily have the exact same cars as the other railways.....CP made a lot of their own cars, which were different that all the other railways....brass models could make those unique cars much easier than having to spend a lot of money to make new molds for plastic cars......

Brass cars are hand made individual items, and the price reflects that....
 

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I used to know a guy who could afford to buy that 15-car set...but he died last year...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Backstory

These B-50 boxcars were 1935 to '46 builds, designed to run at passenger train speeds, and were equipped to be MU'd with passenger cars. Oftentimes a passenger coach was substituted for a caboose. The cars were also run within some passenger trains.

They were pre-war designs that evolved from 1935 into post-war '46.
The runs became known as "Zipper Freights"... usually LCL class, with 35 to 60 cars, and in the '50's were usually pulled by 4-axle diesels, i.e., MU'd Geeps, F7's, etc.
They carried fast merchandise freight from Oakland, Bakersfield, San Francisco and L.A. (also from Eugene and Medford).
In the late '30's and early 40's, MT 4-8-2's pulled trains of them over the Shasta Mountains.
In the '50's they carried newspapers and package-freight.
 

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Ok so brass is even more detailed than plastic simply because it's essentially hand built ... Whereas plastic requires a mold and there are "resolution" limits to this process. (Although it seems high)?
 

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Ok so brass is even more detailed than plastic simply because it's essentially hand built ... Whereas plastic requires a mold and there are "resolution" limits to this process. (Although it seems high)?
At this point I'm not sure that resolution-wise there a noticable gap between plastic and brass. The advantage might even go to plastic. Modern plastic models can be extremely detailed.

As said though, plastic tooling is quite expensive so it is generally created for more common prototypes with a wide market.

Brass, scratchbuilding or kitbashing is the answer for accurate models of uncommon subjects. Low production, scarcity and higher labor costs equals higher prices.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Brass locomotives were a mad craze in the 1960's & '70's.
PFM (Pacific Fast Mail) was the top dog distributor then, and I had four of them... the price back then for a brass loco was $150 to $250.
They were 'okay' runners and so-so pullers, but man were they nice!
 

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i get the appeal of metal. i've bunch of die cast O scale cars sitting in a box doing nothing but waiting for zinc pest to set in. doesn't seem to be much die cast in HO. although I haven't looked. The plastic has such details my metalic interests waned.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Much of modeling's diecast metal was Zamac or pot metal/zinc, which can't be soldered, can't be glued, and if left unprimed & unpainted, can succumb to pitting and rot.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Unfortunately 3d printing with resolution to match brass or modern injection molding is out of reach of hobbyists at this point.
Yep...
A year ago I got a 3D two-piece car crusher from Shapeways for the salvage yard, and I'm still trying to sand and scrape the gritty finish off.
 

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I printed the top part to some switcher that escapes me at the moment. I found the model online and rescaled it to o. I never got it together ... I guess I should just glue it at this point but at the time I wanted to use screws so I could take it back apart.. and I forgot to add mount points to it. Anyway I could have modified it and reprinted it but it seemed overly pricey to do it again. (Shapeways) ...

I then changed tack and made my own model ... Quasi model really of an o scale size diesel engine. I printed it once and two others have printed also.

I made exactly $0.00 on these phenomenal sales.

Then I lost interest only because it seemed the obvious way forward is to get one of the pricey cad packages and I didn't get enough out of it to make it worth it to me.

I might pick it up again, I haven't ruled that out but I also don't have anything I really want to build either.
 

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I can only see 3D printed items being parts for discontinued locomotives such as gears, axles, and other plastic parts prone to breakage. But who knows, maybe the printers and material could be perfected in the future...
 
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