Advice on Quality HO please :)

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by moria, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. moria

    moria Member

    Greetings all [​IMG]

    Having been a model railroader for some 40+ years and always in N-scale (well I started with Treble O electric in the UK) (thats as close as I am going to put it) I have realised that my aims and interests are still not cut and dried.

    Having spent the last year starting a bedroom empire in N-guage (which will continue as I love to see trains run) I have decided that there is a craving inside to do some things that just don't really work well, as yet, in N.

    For me, that is detail work, building and industrial scenery and.... sound [​IMG]

    I have all my DCC and computer control equipment and have been spending the entire Xmas / New year period doing some very heavy thinking.

    I have decided that in addition to my N-gauge empire (for now) I am also going to build a small (10' x 1'6" ) shelf switching layout in HO.

    The period will be the same as my N layout.. CN/GTW 1940 - 1965 (Green & cream and steam). I will use the new peco Code 83 North American track, and it will be built on the Iain Rice Jigsaw principle, allowing me to swap scenery and industries on the layout to vary the feel and period of the layout as I see fit.

    All locos will be sound and there will be an abundance of little detail scenes and dioramas, lighting and atmosphere, all of which are much easier to accomplish visually in a larger scale.

    Being used to working in N-gauge, it seems to me that the space and availability of HO gives me a huge arena to play with, and the small size of the layout, should mean that results can be seen fairly quickly.

    Here's my question (finally I hear you say [​IMG] )

    There are a multitude of manufacturers of freight stock, and being a newbie to HO, I have no idea of the merits of each manufacturer. My aim is to have a limited number of items, but I would like these to be good models and not so-so models [​IMG] I am looking for accurate, metal wheeled (although these could be replaced) and good quality.

    I would really appreciate some recommendations of what companies I should start my search with.

    I am happy to use Ready-toRun or Kitbuilt stock.

    I have been recommendedto look at Accurail kits and in a visit today to my local pusher... I mean hobby shop, I did get a couple of these, along with replacement metal wheels and kadee #58 couplers. I have to say I am impressed with the size and weight by comparison to N-gauge.

    Thanks in advance and I hope it won't scare too many people to see someone moving up in scale in these days of everyone seeming to move down [​IMG]


    Graham Evans
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi Graham.
    Nice to see someone else who had LoneStar; I still have all of mine.
    I can't advise on rolling stock. I saw a lovely Diesel with sound at Credit Valley a few weeks ago and I think it was a Canadian road. Modeller's Choice in Hamilton has lots of custom painted (or custom runs) of Canadian roads -- lots of TH&B.
  3. FiatFan

    FiatFan Member


    If you are looking to really super detail and get as close to the prototype as possible there is a group called Proto87. Run a Google search on it. These people try to make everythig as close to scale as possible. Their work is truly amazing.

  4. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

    The best quality non-craftsman kits of rolling stock are made by InterMountain, Branchline, Atlas and Proto.

    I would personally put Accurail along with Athearn and most other in the next 'tier' — things like moulded-on ladders, roofwalks, grabirons, stirrups etc. detract from the final model, IMHO.

    Smaller manufacturers like Westerfield, Sylvan, Kaslo and Funaro produce excellent multi-media kits of Canadian equipment, but modelling skills are definitely required.

    There are discussion groups on Yahoo associated with the CN SIG and RPM that are excellent resources, as is the main CN SIG website. Here's a link to their modelling section —

    Scott Fraser
    Calgary, Alberta
  5. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Welcome to God's scale.

    Most of the stuff is decent quality if you upgrade to metal wheels and kadees. I got (kit build) atherns, MDC, and IHC and see little difference in quality. The detail varies. Life Like P2K and others are beautiful in detail, but more expensive and overkill for what I do.
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    The Athearn Genesis and the newer RTR cars are on par with the Atlas and Walthers RTR cars and includes metal wheels and factory installed grab irons
    The RTR Athearn cars that also comes in kits has been upgraded to include metal wheels but retain the stamped on grab irons.
  7. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Accurail also makes high quality kits with good detail. Same with Eastern car Works. Both make a limited selection is the downside. Fred
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Kaadee also makes a nice rtr ps1 boxcar in a number of road names that would fit right in with your era. For locomotives, Athearn rtr with scale width hoods, Lifelike P2k, Atlas, & Kato are all nice units.
  9. Dick Elmore

    Dick Elmore Member

    :thumb: Graham...If you want highly detailed rolling stock, Intermountain,
    Kadee & Proto 2000 are about the best on the market for your modeling era.
    If you want something a little less detailed, stick with your Accurail and try Branchlines Yardmaster series. They both have molded on ladders and grabs but thier paint is sharper and the detail is more prototypical than Athearns.
    And the Yardmasters come with brass wheelsets. Add Kadee couplers and brass wheels to those that don't come with them along with a little more weight and they'll pull great and look good. There's many different ways to add weight. For many years I've been using 1/4 oz. stick on mag wheel weights. I buy them at an automotive garage supply house at 720 for about $25. Takes a long time to run out.

    Texas Chief
  10. moria

    moria Member

    Greetings all :thumb:

    Many thanks for the advice.. I have my shopping list of things to go look at now.

    Luckily I have a good LHS so I can go and browse and look at all the advice and options.

    Thanks again



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