A qestion about brass locos

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by hoppercarmaker, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. I see a lot of brass on ebay pretty cheap.Such Overland, Key imports and some Tenshodo. I know nothing about brass locos. Why are they so cheap is there some reason nobody wants them? Some of them are really nice.
  2. brakie

    brakie Active Member

  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Depends on what you mean by cheap. I am not a brass expert, but here are my thoughts:

    1) There is a bunch of older brass on the market as owners pass away and families sell collections. This may create a bit of a market "glut"

    2) A lot of high-quality high-detail plastic or die-cast models have been released over the past 15 years. Prior to then, the only high-detailed steam available was brass. Now brass faces the competition from these less-expensive plastic models, and the prices have come down.

    3) Places like ebay make it easier to buy and sell brass. The market has become global, and the increased competition and awareness may affect prices. Generally, this should raise prices, but it also equilibrates the prices to what people are willing to pay. Pre-ebay, a person's options to where a person could buy brass from were limited because of limited knowledge. Sellers could dictate prices based upon how "rare" they thought something was. If someone wanted a particular model, they may not have many options but to pay the seller's fee. It's like having only one gas station in town. If one wants gas, that person must pay the piper. If there are more than one gas station, one can choose whom where the purchase is made.

  4. Thanks for the quick replies. How about putting dcc sound in them?
  5. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    There may be some "cheap" listings...But I've seen some selling for $450.00 +.... I think manufacturer and "vintage" have a lot to do with final selling price.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I doubt if it is much of a problem to put dcc and sound in them. For dcc you just need to isolate the motor from the pick up points. I think there is as much room in brass models for sound units as there is in plastic. The first drawback that comes to my mind with brass is that many of the locomotives didn't make any compromises with prototype accuracy for the sake of operation. With large articulated steam for instance, you can run plastic on 30 inch radius easily. With brass, you may need a 48 inch minimum radius.
  7. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Each brass builder/importer is a case in and of itself. I watched a PSC C&O 4-6-4 go fro $1,700 just a few days ago. Why? Because it is a modern, super small quantity, super high quality Korean model. Typically the made in Japan brass was in substantially greater quantities...and not designed as much for museums. Open frame motors were also more common.

    My thin roster of brass consist of a pair of korean cars (both are bad/terrible models)...and a few japanese locomotives...all with open frame motors.

    With brass, certain batches were just plain worthless, and some were excellent. NWSL's stuff was known for running great.

    The worst brass I can recall (hearing about) was a batch of HOn3 mason bogies...2-8-6ts. The importer failed to realize that they were called bogies for a reason...the drivers were supposed to swivel on a pivot in between the 2nd and 3rd drivers. So instead of being able to take really sharp curves...it is an HOn3 locomotive that needs ridiculously wide curves (much wider than the curves on my On3 pike). The result is that for $500...you get a locomotive that is worthless on nearly any layout...and no amount of re-detailing or re-motoring will help.

    If you want to buy something specific, do a little research in advance. The later Japanese stuff is usually a nice compromise between price and quality.

    Given the choice, I'd probably prefer to purchase new, high grade die cast models over brass. (or lower grade ones for bashing)
  8. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Strange - can't post... (sorry) :confused:
    (Computer doesn't accept it???????)
    I'll try again later
  9. Thanks to all for your input. :thumb:

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