Online auctions and brands to watch out for

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Patrick

Active Member
#1
As the title says:

What are the better brands of train cars\engines\etc.?
What should I look for or avoid?

I am casing a few auction sites and think some things are more overpriced than they should be and others may be going pretty cheap.

$3.00 each shipped for blue box models I know isn't bad, I have seen stuff from Riverossi and I think their decent, but that may be perceived.
MTH and Tichy trains are they decent? Avoid?

I know when I get them more locally, I have an opportunity to touch and feel and can see if it is something I want, online it is a little harder to tell. I know some of the older stuff may be "toy" or "collector" quality. I usually avoid anything Tyco or Lifelike just because I perceive them as more toward the bottom. I do have some of each of those (not in rail cars) and know I can kit bash them into being more realistic.

Let me know what you think.
 

wheeler1963

Aurora & Portland Owner
#2
Patrick, there are many different brands that you can look out for. It just depends on what RR, what era, what type of equipment you are interested in. I've moved away from the online auction sites for the most part. FB has a lot of different Groups that I can find lots of good equipment on. The prices are sometimes high, sometimes a very good deal. Mostly set prices with a little bit of wiggle room, so no bidding wars. Just my humble 2 cents worth.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
#3
It really depends on your ability to correct any problems or buy the missing parts.
Sometimes people put high prices on the old Tyco or Bachmann trains when the cost of shipping is really more than they are worth.
 

Rico

BN Modeller
#7
If I were to start again, which I sort of am, I'd go for quality and not quantity.
Meaning more top end brands and less locos in total. Kato and Atlas is always a good choice.
I'll be thinning out the herd soon!
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#8
It's going to depend a lot on the level of detail you want and where you will be running them on a regular basis (and the price). If on a home layout where they will mostly remain on the layout, then the finely detailed, pricey ones will please the most. If running mainly at a club, go for less fine detail and more sturdiness (particularly in details like the stirrups etc) I had quite a few Bachmann Silver series freight cars when I first got back into it. Very similar to Bluebox but with the added advantage of metal wheels and axles, very free running too. Their coupler box was a tad narrow for the old #5 Kadee centering spring, but the Kadee "whisker" spring versions fit OK.
 

otiscnj

Active Member
#9
As the title says:

What are the better brands of train cars\engines\etc.?
What should I look for or avoid?

I am casing a few auction sites and think some things are more overpriced than they should be and others may be going pretty cheap.

$3.00 each shipped for blue box models I know isn't bad, I have seen stuff from Riverossi and I think their decent, but that may be perceived.
MTH and Tichy trains are they decent? Avoid?

I know when I get them more locally, I have an opportunity to touch and feel and can see if it is something I want, online it is a little harder to tell. I know some of the older stuff may be "toy" or "collector" quality. I usually avoid anything Tyco or Lifelike just because I perceive them as more toward the bottom. I do have some of each of those (not in rail cars) and know I can kit bash them into being more realistic.

Let me know what you think.
Patrick,
First of all, do you have any experience with different brands, etc, or completely new, or returning to the hobby after many years? I'd second most of what has been posted, however interested in your answers to the following questions:

I assume you're into HO, being that you mentioned Tyco and Life Like. If this isn't true, what scale are you modeling in?

'Better' could describe many things, like accuracy of details, lugging power of the locomotives, rolling ability of the freight and passenger cars, price, etc. Depending on what's most important to you-accuracy of details, price/value, running characteristics, etc, there could be several ways to answer your question.

I'd agree with your assessment, that Tyco, and/or Life Like (prior to the P2k and P1k lines), were 'starter/toy' quality entries, based on both running characteristics, and prototypical attention to details. Both frequently offered everything they made in Santa Fe, PRR, and a couple of other 'Class 1' roads some of the time, with an 'uncommon road name,' offered once or twice in a model's lifetime. Some of this is still done, but generally, the amount and quality of details has greatly increased since I got into the hobby in the late 1970's.

In those days, and even today, occasionally, Tyco, AHM, and even Life Like would offer some model, that either had higher than usual quality/detailing, or ran better than everything else in their line. Additionally, if you modeled a specific road, during a specific period, occaisionally, a manufacturer would offer a unusual prototype that only a small number of roads, had, such as AHM's BL2 or Life Like's C415 Center Cab switcher. This still happens with some models and manufacturers , where a model either exceeds their usual quality/detail level or is lower than usual. Sometimes, they even make a run of stuff that a given rr never had, but is close, or isn't, if they think the demand for such a model might be there.

Lastly I'd say, that with the internet, you can look up info about just about any model past, or present, and find out the consensus of reviewers, or people that model that particular rr or prototype, with relative ease, unlike times in the past. If end up considering a model from maybe 1992-2008, or so, there were additional model railroad magazines which have since ceased publication, which used to post monthly reports on things like technical characteristics or available models, in either Model Railroad Journal, and/or Model Railroading, which were very useful, but maybe be unknown to you, if you only entered the hobby after they ceased publication.

Good luck with the answers you get! If they aren't what you're looking for, follow up posts are always helpful.
 

Patrick

Active Member
#10
Yes I am modeling HO. And I am returning to the hobby after a number of years.

I guess it breaks down to what I'm looking for and how much it costs in the end.

Thanks for all the responses so far.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
#11
There are no bad brands. All brands have their problem children. All of them. So, to me, your question is perhaps missing the crux of YOUR problem; which locomotives of a type and rolling stock should I avoid based on readings or experience.

We know you are in HO. What types of locomotives? For example, are you interested in steam locomotives?
 





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