Christmas Time, need help

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by rekline, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. rekline

    rekline Member

    Hi all,

    I need some help in picking out a train for around the Christmas tree. I tried HO last year and it got lost under the tree so this year I am looking at an O scale circle. My question is what to go with. I have been looking at an MTH PRR passenger set or the Lionel Polar Express and was wondering if there are any major technical differences that would justify the difference in price. The choice of PRR or the movie is one I have to figure out on my own. Typically I model HO and are not sure of the technical merits of the two manufacturers and other things that I have to watch out for.

    Your help is greatly appreciated.
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Rekline...You might try moving this thread to the Cabbose" thread. It's full of o-gauge modelers there who seem to know all the ins & outs of those trains....
  3. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Why not consider G scale as well? It definitely won't get lost under the tree and you don't need a base for it to run on.

    Just lay the track right on the floor and your ready to go. Plus, if you get some flat cars, you can have the train carry the presents around and around on track with a radius as small as 4' in diamater. Aristo Craft has starter sets starting at $270 and comes with everything you'll need for a Christmas pizza layout! Ours is an LGB that has spent countless hours for the last seven years delivering presents AND, I've only cleaned the track once!
  4. rekline

    rekline Member

    Interesting thought, I looked at an Aristo-Craft train, Has possibilities, Is Bachmann or New Bright any good. Another question would be are all G-Scale items compatible, for some reason, I don't think they are, but don't know enough about this scale.
  5. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I only have two engines and so can only speak from experience. One is an Aristo Craft and the other is an LGB. Both are excellent in quality in my opinion. With the exception of different types of couplers, everything I've seen and come across seems like it would all be compatible. However, the minute I tell you yes, somebody on here will chime in with a list of exceptions.:p
  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I have a 25 year old LGB locomotive, a 20 year old LGB locomotive, and I've experienced Bachmann stuff.

    First, there is the scale issue. LGB, Aristo Craft, MTH, Delton classics, and Bachmann are all compatible with each other...but use different scales.
    -LGB is 1:22.5 (true G scale) and is based on European meter gauge trains. Bachmann's standard line is also G scale. Their 4-6-0 is classic...and usually can be had for a moderate price...especially at Sam's club. I picked up a set for $99 on clearance at Hobby Lobby. The track is flimsy, but it will be fine for my nephew...and it was a steal. LGB's stuff is bullet proof, pet proof, and kid proof. The best basic Bachmann engine is the Anniversary 4-6-0...known as the "Annie" is the standard entry level garden railway locomotive.
    -Bachmann Spectrum, Accucraft, & others: Fn3...1:20.3. This is based on American 3' gauge trains. The models are both wonderful and expensive. Spectrum's shay, 4-4-0, and K-27 are great examples. They frequently require wider curves.
    -Aristo Craft is 1:29th (sometimes called #1 gauge). It depicts American standard gauge trains...but note that 1:29th isn't the correct scale. Their 2-8-2 and 2-8-8-2 are known for being magnificent...but require big curves. They are far cheaper than accucraft.
    -MTH, Accucraft also use 1:32...the correct scale for standard gauge and the original scale for #1 gauge.
    -Delton (now Aristo Craft), Accucraft is 1:24...1/2" scale. An odd scale designed to be simple...since replaced by Fn3.

    So, the moral of this is that you can mix and match (they all use the same track)...but if you want it all to be the same scale, you might want to pick a scale. An F scale figure is greater than 50% taller than a 1:32 person. Fn3 and 1:32 are my favorites...but the most expensive. Train sets are available in 1:29 and 1:22.5. LGB's sets are better made than Bachmanns...but Bachmanns are cheaper and based on American trains.

    The original LGB went out of business a few years ago...a major case can be made that Bachmann's Spectrum line...and perhaps aristo craft & accucraft...put them out of business.

    I have plans to get either an LGB set for my tree...or build my own by kitbashing a Bachmann industrial 2-6-0 into a CC 0-6-0 or a 4-6-0 into a South Park 2-6-0.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention 1:29 USA trains. I've heard good things about them. How does a 5' long big boy sound?
  7. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    I have a Lionel Polar Express set. It's a good set, but it's basic. Sound effects are limited to the traditional Lionel air whistle they've been using more than 60 years. It's exactly what I wanted, so that doesn't bother me.

    I don't know which MTH set you're looking at, but there's a $349 PRR set that includes electronic sound and a better transformer, which justifies the price difference. The transformer only matters if you're planning on adding more accessories and cars to the train. To me, the biggest question, if you decide in favor of O, is whether the sound interests you or not.
  8. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Bachmann good. New Bright not so good.

    How about splitting the difference between HO and O with On30?
  9. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Get the Harry Potter trainset. You know your wife or your grandkids want it anyway. :cool:
  10. rekline

    rekline Member

    Thanks for all your input:thumb:, I am still considering my options.wall1 This is only for the Christmas tree today (As usual, it starts there and grows). I have alot to consider and a few options I hadn't thought of. So keep them coming.
  11. MidnightRR

    MidnightRR Member

    Get yourself a classic Lionel train set, the kind that's graced the Christmas tree skirt for decades.
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    From my childhood I remember Lionel under the tree (not our tree at first).
    When it came out I bought my wife the Polar Express and it is now our tree train. We had a couple of cheap (I think they were New Bright) sets because they were expendable if the cats or nephews got ...
  13. GWoodle

    GWoodle Member

    Linnens n Things Sales

    If you have a Linnens n Things store in your area, they may have some Lionel sets to sell. With the store closing, they had them at 10%+ off.

    My store had a nice under the tree display. It may take a month or 2 to close everything out. You may also find some other Lionel items like clocks, bookends, etc.

    The Lionel PRR Flyer was selling for $149. They also had some Polar Express trains.
  14. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    The Bachmann On30, original trainsets (2-6-0 with either passenger cars or a few freight cars) were made to match up with porcelain Christmas village buildings. Of course this brings up the possibility that you or your wife may end up spending more money for buildings or you may turn into an On30 modeler.
  15. rekline

    rekline Member

    I have thought of the ON30 porcelain village stuff and had a thought of a trolley running through it. Would an O scale trolley look out of place?
    I will check out Linen's and Things but from past memory the price even with a 10% off was still higher that I found at my LHS (He has great prices).
  16. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Bachmann makes a On30 Trolley with a reversing system, or you could run it in a circle under the tree. I know that there are some O scale standard gauge trolleys but don't know how large they are. I think Lionel makes one. Maybe the three railers here can give you better info on that.
  17. rekline

    rekline Member

    OK for all those that posted ideas, I made a decision and purchased the Lionel North Pole Central. I decided that even though I like to model realistic, This is for under the Christmas Tree and for the kids, not so much for me :mrgreen:, really. My daughter helped pick it out, now I need to get some Christmas Village stuff.

    Thank you for all your ideas

    Attached Files:

  18. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    For the last couple of years our big supermarket chain has carried a line of cheap Christmas buildings, the packaging says Glass Front or similar. These look good with the Lionel and are a lot cheaper than Dept 56 for putting on the floor if there are pets or kids around.
  19. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Check drugstores too. I've heard CVS has a line of inexpensive Christmas village buildings, and for the last couple of years Walgreen did too, although I haven't seen them yet this year. Big Lots also has a line of buildings, not as cheap as the drugstore buildings, but still cheaper than Lemax and (especially) Dept 56.

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