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Discussion Starter #1
I have seen this pop up in various places, but couldn't find a thread for the discussion.

I am trying to determine which manufacturers offer realistic high detail models. I am not talking rivet counter quality, but would like details that are not molded in. Additional details like brake hoses and see through grating are a plus.

Some of the names I have heard thrown around include:

InterMountain
Tangent
Kadee
Walthers Proto
Athearn Genesis
Scale Trains

Bowser seems to have some good stuff (I have two of their cabooses which are fairly good quality) but then some stuff has molded on parts...

Are there any others brands that I should be looking at?
 

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Roco
Fleischmann
Piko
Märklin/TRIX
ACME
Brawa

Some of these are near-rivet counter quality detailed.
 

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As far as freight cars are concerned:
ScaleTrains 'Rivet Counter' series are about the highest level of detail per MSRP... $40, sometimes less.
However, Kadee & Tangent are outstanding 'bang-for-the-buck' detailed, as they're superb A++ rollers, and come with Kadee couplers, so there's no need to swap them out. ExactRail also employs Kadees (on their premium series). Some Red Caboose rolling stock come with Kadees as well.

Rapido, MTH, Atlas Gold, and Athearn Genesis are highly detailed, though aren't Kadee-equipped.
InterMountain is comparatively good as well. I can vouch for their 40-foot steel reefers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies everyone. I am noticing it is difficult to find high quality steam era US rolling stock.

So far, Intermountain seems to be the one I am finding the best stuff from. I have settled for a few Bowser cars and Atlas Master Class cars so I at least have something to run.
 

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While no longer produced, Branchline Trains Blueprint Series freight cars have a lot of detailed add-ons
Actually, Atlas bought the Branchline molds, and they have produced them as RTR Atlas cars....

And yes, they are nicely detailed cars....

Additionally, Proto 2000, by Lifelike, made some very detailed cars, in both kit form and ready to run.....they are now called Walthers Proto, as mentioned, but there are still a ton of Proto 2000 cars out there on the used market....
 
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