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I'm possibly starting an HO or N layout, driving myself nuts over which gauge. I'm leaning towards the HO as it's larger and my eyesight would suffer more, I think, with N gauge.

So I'm reading as many reviews as I can to determine the best engines and cars. Looking at doing an Amtrak P42 Phase IV/B set, along with a modern freight operation. I have plenty of space in the basement so no worries for the layout.

I've read about Bachmann on here, with the mention that the older models had problems and since resolved?

So many considerations re track (looking at Peco) and DCC, etc.

Opinions welcome!
Bob
 

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I do not have any Kato locos. Yes, newer Bachmann is a world different than the old school stuff. I’ve heard the DCC folks like to change out the decoders in those models. They can fill in details on that.
All the modern locos are good. Details will vary.
I’ve been looking at a Rapido EP5, lists for $359, DC model. I have a hard time justifying it since I recently paid $89 for a new Bachmann GG1.
 

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If "eyesight is a consideration" (as it is with me), you want HO. 'Nuff said about that.

For track, Kato is excellent.
I don't have any Kato engines, but they have a reputation for quality.

IMPORTANT:
If you're planning on dcc, I would suggest you buy ONLY those Kato engines that have a plug for dcc ("dcc ready"). Will make things much easier.

The recent Bachmann engines also have a decent reputation for quality (unlike some of their older stuff).

For dcc, as always, I suggest you investigate the Roco z21 system. You can download it to your iOS or Android device, and "try before you buy".
 

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I run N scale in DCC. I have 2 Kato and 2 Bachmann locos. I haven't run them much, but have had no running problems with either. The Bachmann 4-6-0 had the rear axle fall off the tender...I reported it and Bachmann sent me a new truck for it.

In my opinion, you cannot beat Kato for quality...they are just plain good. Some other brands may equal them, but won't beat them.

The Bachmanns are way better than they used to be. Yes, they're less expensive, but mechanically they seem to be very good nowadays. I'm not a rivet counter, so I don't pay much attention to the fine details.
 

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We are fortunate that today's market of model railroad
products is at the highest quality ever. All brands
available today can be counted on as a loco you
can depend on. Some however are higher in price.
These, for the most part, are the more detailed.
So, we like to say, if you like the loco, and it's price,
go ahead and buy it.

As you may have noticed, there are many opinions
about whether to use a track on roadbed product or
go with sectional or Flex track. I am in the flex track
fan group. It makes possible layout designs that are
not limited to the various radius curves or track accessories
made by the Kato and Bachmann systems.

With flex track you can use turnouts and other
accessories of any make. I used Atlas flex and
Peco INSULFROG turnouts on my room size HO
DCC layout.

Don
 

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IMO, Bachmann steamers are much better detailed than their diesels.
 

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Welcome aboard!

I'm possibly starting an HO or N layout, driving myself nuts over which gauge. I'm leaning towards the HO as it's larger and my eyesight would suffer more, I think, with N gauge.

So I'm reading as many reviews as I can to determine the best engines and cars. Looking at doing an Amtrak P42 Phase IV/B set, along with a modern freight operation. I have plenty of space in the basement so no worries for the layout.

I've read about Bachmann on here, with the mention that the older models had problems and since resolved?

So many considerations re track (looking at Peco) and DCC, etc.

Opinions welcome!
Bob


Bob;

Welcome to the forum!

Since nearly everyone else is urging HO-scale on you, I want to put in a good word in defense of N-scale.

I'm 71 years old, I wear different prescription glasses for reading, and distance. (or bifocals for both) I am partially disabled,(nerve disorder) and have some shaking in my hands. Even with all that going on, I have also been working successfully with N-scale trains for forty years without any special problems. Also, modeling in N-scale did not affect my eyesight, getting older did that all by itself! :laugh:
If you elect to use N-scale it won't "ruin your eyes" as some "pundits" :rolleyes: might say. (Most of whom have never built an N-scale layout!) (I'm now working on my sixth N-scale layout, and I have also built an HO-scale layout, and had O-27 Marx trains, and a Lionel layout as a kid.) Much of the assumption that "N-scale is, "too small to work with" is pure baloney. See the photos of my scratch-built structures below as proof. They're all N-scale, and I built each one of them by "working with" them. So much for N-scale being "Too small to work with!" :cheeky4:
You might also read the file "Choosing a scale" attached below. It covers the perception of "too small" in some detail.

HO-scale is great. N-scale is great. O-scale is great. So are all the other scales. Scale choice boils down to how much/little space a modeler has for a layout (you're lucky enough to have plenty. I'm jealous! :( ) Also whether the modeler wants to model individual cars and locomotives, or complete scenes,* and ultimately, simply which scale you personally like best. You can't really go wrong with any scale.
The more popular sales, HO, and N, in that order, have more stuff available, (Each of them has much more available than a normal person could ever afford to buy.) and the stuff is somewhat cheaper in these two scales, than in other, less popular, scales.

Kato products are excellent across their entire spectrum. They make, in my opinion, the best N-scale locomotives available. They also make a few HO-scale locomotives. Kato sells gorgeous passenger train sets in N-scale and some sets in HO-scale as well.
Kadee (HO) and Micro-Trains (N) are also both excellent choices for couplers, truck assemblies, and railcars.

I personally, do not like, or trust, Bachmann locomotives. Their old N-scale locos were synonymous with "Absolute Junk" for many years. Their new stuff is talked about here as "much improved" and it probably is, however being "much improved" starting out from "Absolute Junk", may not necessarily be a stellar achievement. :eek:hwell:
I also see a lot of posts about Bachmann locos being returned for repair/replacement, and Bachmann DCC decoders being replaced with other brands because the original Bachmann decoders were very noisy buzzers. I don't have any personal experience with new Bachmann locomotives, since I stopped buying any Bachmann products years ago. Current-production Bachmann "EZ-Track" turnouts have the highly dubious distinction of being the very worst available. (See the "All about turnouts" file for details, and recommendations, on seven brands of commercial turnouts.)
I simply don't trust the brand. That's just my personal opinion.

Peco track is very good, and Peco turnouts are the best turnouts commercially available, in my opinion.
Another very good choice for track and turnouts is Micro Engineering. They are actually better in terms of realistic appearance. You have to see them to believe how good they look! Micro Engineering turnouts also come right from the factory with the "DCC friendly" configuration built-in. No modification is necessary. They are a little less forgiving of mishandeling than other brands though, and offer only a limited choice of types, #6 right, and #6 left, in both HO and N scales, and a #5 yard throat of compressed-length turnouts in HO-scale only.
Peco holds the avantage in rugged construction, range of sizes and configurations, and their "Electrofrog" can be easily modified to be DCC friendly. Their new "Unifrog" model has DCC friendly built-in as an option, through the use of factory jumpers.



{* There are many spectacular exceptions to the general rule that modelers in HO and larger scales "build models", and modelers in N-scale and Z-scale "build scenes." There are prize-winning individual cars, and locomotives, built in N-scale, and beautiful, complete scenes, in HO-scale.}


The files below have further information on model railroad subjects. Look through them if you want. You may find some things that will help you with your layout.


Good luck with whatever scale you choose, and have fun!

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:


View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

View attachment Choosing a Scale.pdf

View attachment 1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf

Black River Sta. east side.JPG

Allentown covered bridge.jpg

Cape Rip. Lighthouse and cottage.JPG

Cedar Falls water tower close up.JPG

Seattle Union Station concourse end 2.JPG

Seattle Union Station showing scratch built interior.JPG

Wooden road bridge at Black River Junction.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Traction Fan,

Really appreciate the time it took to reply and provide a ton of detailed info and suggestions. Will look at all of them. And BTW, those are great scratch-built structures.

Cheers,
Bob
 

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As nice as N scale is for having a lot in a small area or a huge layout in a large space I just look at prices between the N and HO and for a few dollars more get a larger scale.
I have a few different brands in HO, Kato,Atlas,Scaletrains,Intermountain,and Life like all are great running and have different degree of detail.
Look at both to see what is available for what you want to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As nice as N scale is for having a lot in a small area or a huge layout in a large space I just look at prices between the N and HO and for a few dollars more get a larger scale.
I have a few different brands in HO, Kato,Atlas,Scaletrains,Intermountain,and Life like all are great running and have different degree of detail.
Look at both to see what is available for what you want to do.
Yeah, I've done a lot of researching online at both and decided to go with HO. I have a large, dry basement and can do as much as 12x 20' if I want to. Now reviewing a lot of layouts and benchwork designs, etc. Will be a good winter project up here in northern NY.
 

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For a few dollars more?

As nice as N scale is for having a lot in a small area or a huge layout in a large space I just look at prices between the N and HO and for a few dollars more get a larger scale.
I have a few different brands in HO, Kato,Atlas,Scaletrains,Intermountain,and Life like all are great running and have different degree of detail.
Look at both to see what is available for what you want to do.
CambriaArea51;

Very nice post! :thumbsup:

Unless you're quoting the title of an Old Clint Eastwood "spaghetti western" :laugh: I found it interesting that you paid "a few dollars more" to "get a larger scale." (presumably HO instead of N)
The interesting thing for me, as a long-time N-scaler, is that I've heard for years about how much cheaper HO-scale was than N-scale. Now you say your experience was just the opposite. :confused:

Often, when I was defending N-scale to some visiting (HO) yahoo at my old N-scale club, they would say something along the lines of "You can get a good engine in HO for $40" probably referring to an Athearn blue box kit. ($$$ This was many long years ago!$$$) "but in N-"gage" (they could never quite bring themselves to call it a scale.) A good locomotive (usually one made by Kato) costs twice as much!" I would then point out that if they actually bothered to make an honest, "apples to apples," comparison, then same model Kato locomotive in HO-scale and in N-scale were very close in price, usually a matter of a few dollars either way. You could also get noisy, cheaper, locomotives in N-scale.
Today Athearn sells locomotives in both scales, so do Lifelike, Atlas, and, as previously mentioned, Kato.
Intermountain makes a few N-scale car kits and replacement wheelsets, but I don't think they make N-scale locomotives. However, some of intermountain's HO-scale locomotives have Kato mechanisms, so there's plenty of crossover between the two scales.

None of this should be construed as me knocking HO-scale,(I don't) or even particularly promoting N-scale (though I often do that, since HO gets most of the promotion hereabouts.)
As you say in your last line. Each modeler should look at both HO-scale, and N-scale, (and the other scales as well), and see what's available for what they want to do.

Well said sir! :appl:

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 
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