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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if this has been done and I'm really not trying to cause an uproar but... After talking to a LOT of people everyone has their opinion on what manufacturer has the best HO locomotives and for a newbie it is very confusing as to what one to buy. So I am asking everyone to rate them on here. Just put them in order of your favorite and feel free to add pros and cons if you'd like to and also add any that I have left off of the list.

Athearn
Atlas
Bachman
Kato
MTH
 

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Jsshieldsjr,

There's nothing wrong with causing an uproar or asking for opinons and guidance. The former is fun and the latter is what the site's for. Since I don't run HO, I have no dog in this fight.
 

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my imho:

1 Athearn Genesis (premium line)
2 Athearn RTR (bulk of my fleet)/ Bachman spectrum, IMO a tie between those two
3 Athearn Blue box / walthers trainline / bachman non spectrum

atlas and kato i had no experience with but from what i hear the later goes somwhere in between my number 1 and 2
 

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In my opinion/experiences the order of desire has been; based upon detail, and trouble free running these locos

Athearn #6 $$ (2 locos)
Atlas #2 $$ (3 locos)
Bachman Spectrum/Plus lines #5 $ Also Walthers/Life like/Proto 2000 $$
Kato #1 $$$ (2 locos)
MTH #3 $$$$ (2 locos)
Stewart Exec Line #4 $$$ (2 locos)
Walthers Proto 2000 #5 $$$$ (3 subway trains)

And actually the Bachmann run better than the Athearn to me. But the details of the Bachmann Spectrum lack the finer details that I desire. ie: Hand/end railings are thick .

I would stay away from the Plain Bachmann but Bachmann Spectrum & Plus lines are ok.

$$ = expense relation for each Manufacturer
But opinions will vary. So standby.
 

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Wow, Athearn #1 and Athearn #4.
Well the responses have a lot to do with personal opinion. For years from what I've read on this forum the Athearn Blue Box were the locos to have even above Atlas. But then again you have us that came along after that era and the Blue Box kit locomotives were no longer the Premier of the hobby things change; so with that being said you will find your own preferences based upon your needs/likes.
A real shame HO doesn't have a independent site to got that test and rates locomotives independently like N Scale does with Mark's Spookshow, I g there quite often to see what his findings are on a locomotive that I'm planning on buying. But no such thing fir HO as yet. Heck Mark even rates Rollingstock now.
Please post back once you have made your choices be nice to see what you come out with aftward
 

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This type of thread is definately helpful to newcomers like myself.
It gives a heads-up to what can be expected from various makes of trains.

While right now, my HO stock consists of Mehano, Life-Like, and Tyco.....it's nice to know what I have to look foward to.

Thanks,
Jody
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess it's like anything everyone has an opinion. The main reason I started this thread is because when I bought my first O scale before Christmas the guy at the store told me to stay away from MTH. I am now looking at buying a MTH HO loco and I just wanted differant opinions. Maybe I need to find another store!
 

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Wow, Athearn #1 and Athearn #4.
2 and 3 as well. why would this be surprising? manufacturers of anything usually introduce products n different price-points.

i always take recommendations of salesmen with grain of salt. brick sized grain...
are you sure he told you to stay away frm MTH because he doesn't carry it? or perhaps his stock low? or maybe his margins are not so good. can be lots of reasons why would it better the salesmen if you stay away from that brand.
 

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When I was modeling more continental HO the smoothest running was Atlas (they were made by KATO IIRC) and the best detailed were Proto 2000/3000 series. The Athearn models I had were the entry level ones (Genesis didn't really exist) good for beginners but in the middle on detail and running.
 

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#1.) Kato -- is there really any doubt?
#2.) Atlas(Gold/Platinum Lines), I believe these have Kato drives) -- could be included with the above
#3.) BLI(non Blue Line) -- steam engines are more than impressive
#4.) Rivarossi (RedBox) -- The standard in steam engines. Too bad they are no longer made. If DCC and sound would have been available, these would probably be ranked #3. Rivarossi really did themselves a favor by installing the motors in the boilers of these steam engines.
#5) Trix -- I've heard mixed reviews on these engines. I have just one. And it is a keeper. Great detail, but a bit pricey. I am a bit disappointed in its pulling capacity.
#6.) Athearn Genesis -- product line is too limited. OK if you want more modern power though. Again, like Spectrum, the handrails suck. Now with Tsunami Sound....WOW!!!!
#7.) Life-Like Proto 2000(post Walthers) -- the detail really picked up a couple of notches. Good before the acquisition, even better now.
#8.) Atlas Premium -- smooth strong runners at a decent price. Usual Atlas quality.
#9.) Intermountain -- this may surprise some. I have a pair of AB F3's. Good pullers and they seem to be invincible. The only problem I've had was I had to regear both pairs. Too noisy.
#10.) Stewart Hobbies -- pretty good detail. Not as strong as some but good runners never the less. Maybe should be lower in line, but my pair of RS3's do a good job.
#11.) Bachman Spectrum -- I hate those handrails, fix that and you would have a real prize.
#12.) Life-Like Proto 2000(pre Walthers) -- another strong runner. Have gear problems on the two wheel trucks models(Geeps, F-units, E-units,etc), with the drive gears, but an easy, inexpensive fix.
#13.) IHC Premium -- a dark horse. Steam engines are almost bullet-proof. Lack a lot of detail though. Still, a nice surprise, especially the steam engines. Can be noisy, but an easy fix. Diesel locos lack a bit of panache, boring looking.
#14.) Bachman Plus -- another real dark horse. Strong runners and dependable. These engines will surprise you, in a pleasant way. Hard to believe that they are Bachmans. I like mine
#15.) Athearn BB -- A good little line. No, great little engine. THE staple of the hobby for over 60 years. I think EVERYONE got their start with these engines. Priced for the newb. And they will run all day long. Easily modified and detailed. And like small block Chevys, they are cheap and found EVERYWHERE!! Anyone remember the "Hi-Fi's", the ones with the rubber band drive? Amp Hogs, but fun to run.
#16.) Bachman -- Lack detail. Some are almost toy-like with gaudy paint jobs. Some have truck mounted couplers. That sucks.
#17.) MTH -- Good engines, good runners, but they are proprietary. A big mistake.While I think that they are good engines, I'll pass on buying one for that one reason.
#18.) AHM -- these are early Rivarossi's. The motor is located in the cab of steamers. Diesels are single truck drive, limits the length of trains one can run. Still the will run and run and run and ....... Susceptible to derailments because the rear wheels "push" the lead trucks through switches.

Honorable Mention : Mantua/Volney -- I have more fun modifying and kit bashing these steam engines. I've built numerous 0-4-0, 0-6-0, 0-8-0, 2-6-0, and 2-8-0 cab forward engines. Neat engines to play around and let your imagination run wild. And they are plentiful and rather inexpensive. Downside is some have metal problems, zinc-pest. Just be careful to inspect the engines BEFORE you buy it.

Others: Roco, Fleischmann, Marklin, and some of the other European engines I am unfamiliar with. I won't judge them.

Brass: Not too many bad ones out there. But I again won't go into all of those.

Bob
 

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Interesting thread! It is safe to say that Kato and Atlas run awfully nice, but they have a bigger price tag. Athearn combines a dependable engine with a mid-range price. Bachmann is definitely cheaper, but also come with DCC On Board in a lot of models. I own some of each. I have had good luck with all brands. I think it is safe to say there are pro's and con's with all brands.
 

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If any did not notice, I did not include the Athearn RTR engines. Reason? I don't have any.

My preferences are either Atlas, Kato, Proto 2000 and 1000, and Rivarossi. My "surprise" choice is the Bachman Plus. I am really hard pressed to believe that they are produced by Bachman. Great price point, especially on eBay. I'm glad no one realizes what a gem in the rough these engines are. Keeps the prices down.

It' very hard for me to choose a "favorite" engine. Having over 400 engines, the choice would be hard. I like the Berkshires, the compounds, and some of the very early diesels. I run nearly everything I own. I once decided to clear the layout. There were 229 engines on the line!!!! But, the singular thing one would observe on my layout.....I love steam engines.

Bob
 

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Lets start a RUCKUS!!!

Diesel:
1. Athearn(everything)
2. Atlas, Proto,Kato
3. Walthers Train-line
4. Bachmann Plus

Steam:
1. Rivarossi (Old and New)
2. Bowser
3 IHC/Mehano

If I had the cash flow then MTH.....WOW!
Rolling Stock:
Walthers
Rivarossi
Athearn
Thanks Bob!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So I guess what yall are all saying is buy some of em all and make my own decision?

:rolleyes::confused::p:D:eek::thumbsup::laugh::eek:hwell:
 

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MacDaddy, where's Kato on the diesel list? Must be outta sight.................

Bob
No Bob.....I'm just getting older.....plus I had to take my shoes and socks off so I could count how much money I'd have to save for one MTH Steam Loco!!:laugh: By the By...how many Berkies do you have....I have a paltry 6, five are operational the sixth is under restoration!
 

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Athearn for pretty much everything. Rolling stock and engines. But - I do like Walthers', Atlas' and Acurail's detail on rolling stock.

I like Kato enignes, but they lack Detail .. like hand rails.

I used to use Bachmann and Tyco and Life-Like and Modle Power and other low detail manufacturers.

Ever since I started buying Athearn and Atlas products, I've become a rivet counter. :eek:hwell:
Because I like Hand rails, Number boards with numbers on them and realistic road numbers.
 
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