Do you like the LifeLike GP38-2?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by sd80mac, Jul 5, 2002.

  1. sd80mac

    sd80mac New Member

    I would like to know your feelings about the LifeLike GP38-2. Could it be made into a decent running, nicely detailed model? Or would it be better to just go with the Atlas GP38?

    I guess the main detraction for me is the nasty handrails, but could these be fixed? What is your experience with these locomotives?
  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    The LifeLike unit is a fair running loco for a trainset unit.

    I personnaly think you would be a lot happier with the ATLAS unit cause it needs nothing done to make it better:D :D .
  3. BDC

    BDC Member

    The only advantage that the LL GP38 has over the Atlas model is price. Aside from that, I would go with the Atlas model as well. Quieter, better detail, and MUCH easier coupler conversion justify spending the extra $$$ IMO.
  4. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    I have 2 of the Atlas GP-38's, they came with those couplers that mate with the K-D's and they work fine. The paint and details are excellent as well as the way it runs. I have gotten rid of ALL non-flywheel equipted locos. However if you are a runner and not a operator the LL's may suit your needs. Just my humble opinion and does not reflect the views of managment or other members! :D :D :D
  5. eatst14

    eatst14 Member

    LL gp38's are should i say this, WORTHLESS!! I bought two of those pieces of junk from my LHS 2 years ago, at that time they were down to $19.98. Oh sure they run fine on the test track, but get them home and run them for more than 3 or 4 hours, and they claim up. My track was clean, i was using pulse, they just flat out suck. Part of the problem with them is that a spring is used instead of a solid armature to deliver power from the engine to the trucks. This spring has a tendency to bind, twist, turn, and kink. Im not sure why they used a spring, but my guess was they didnt want the added expense of a fly-wheel, and having the engine wind the spring would allow some extra oompf, as the engine went over turnouts.

    My advice, buy Atlas, but just to let you know most other LL engines are good quality, its just that the gp38 was designed for a different era in modelling, the kind where u push ur train around your track with your fingers.

  6. nmtexman

    nmtexman Member

    I have two of the Atlas GP38s and two of the LifeLike GP38-2s. I ran them together two weekends ago for a couple of hours. They ran just fine and I didn't notice any operating difference between the Atlas and the LifeLikes.

    The Atlas' came with knuckle couplers, I had to add them to the LifeLike units which is not a minor thing to do since you pretty much have to dismantle the loco and work on the conversion while the trucks are still wired to the motors.

    The Atlas' cost be about $52.00 each, the LifeLikes were under $30.00 on eBay. I'm happy with both.

    The railings on the LifeLikes are larger, but this can be fixed by making your own if it's a bone of contention with you.
  7. uboat

    uboat New Member

    The LL units aren't bad for the money, I have a few, paid less than $15 each for them, run pretty good for non flywheel/non split frame locos. Pretty good for their day, and were pretty much the only game in town for a 38, unless you were lucky enough to find the elusive yetti of N scale, the Kato gp38. Certainly not a K or an A, but at a 1/4 of the price you can cut, bash, and paint away with little reluctance of destroying a much more expensive model.

    eatst14 - the LL 38's are sensitive to dirty wheels and contacts, as well as older motors generally do not take kindly to pulse - perhaps some of these factors contibuted to your units problems.

    They apparently aren't a correct -2, they seem to be a cross of features from the straight 38 and the -2.

    I do love my 2 Atlas GP38's I dare say these are the most detailed best running current offerings out there, and have two more on reserve.
  8. eatst14

    eatst14 Member

    My wheels were clean, track was clean, and i had heard that pulse can be bad for some motors, but ive got a tech 2 that allows me to turn off the pulse, still they spurt, jerk, sputter, and stop.

    the only thing i didnt check for was to see if anyting had got stuck between the teeth of the gears, but heck i traded those SOB's away anyway, and im getting some gp20's, maybe one day ll will re-work their 38's until then ill let them sit on the LHS's shelf.

  9. RI541

    RI541 Member

    I have four of the LL GP38-2's and they seem to run just fine,I got two of them in a set and repowered the dummy. The others I bought at swap meets. The only problem I have with the first two is that I painted them that nasty RI blue and white ( I was young and just starting out:) :eek: :) )
  10. Brian C

    Brian C New Member

    Although I've since switched from N to HO a few years ago, let me start by letting you know DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THE LIFE LIKE GP38!!!!
    I had 3 of them, and they died after a few hours of running. They're also noisy, and not nearly powerful enough.
    I've owned several Atlas locomotives, and all of them are excellent runners and pullers. They are quiet, and worth the extra money. Sight unseen, I'd recommend the Atlas engines.
    Hope this helps.

  11. RI541

    RI541 Member

    I've had mine for seven years and they still run fine, granted they are not a quality locomotive and are priced as such. The
    Atlas may be a better quality locomotive but with quality comes a price.

    As for putting KD's on, the plastic houseing around the trucks will "pop" off with a forward and down pull.

    The only reason they are not on my lay-out full time is because of the color scheme I painted them. It was my first attempt at painting and they came out better than expected so I keep them that way.
  12. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    I have a BN Atlas GP38 - a superb loco, perhaps the best I own after the Atlas GP40 (which is RI, of course, so must be better)!

    Don't forget that the ATLAS MASTER series also come with an installed decoder if you are planning on running DCC in the future! And they work great with DC also!

    If you want a cheaper GP38-2 that is better than LifeLike, try the Athearn blue box special - my Rock Blue is a nice little loco at a great price!

    - George
  13. scoobyloven

    scoobyloven Member

    i have bith the LL gp38-2 and atlas gp 38-2 i had them for a couple of years now and can't tell them apart when pulling freight the only thing i did is put the life like on my test loop and let them run for about 30 min each way until i hit full power and then let it run for 5 min each way at full power and took them apart and cleaned them and they run like a dream but when it comes to my fleet i would rather use my sd mac's i use my gp's to run local freight .. but i want to get my hand on some gp 50's i don't like the ones in n scale i want the cab stile of the ho gp 50 on a n scale loco so i have a kit bash comming up on a couple of them
  14. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    I am assuming that, since this is the N Scale forum, that you are asking about the N Scale models.
    I have had Lifelike GP38-2's in the past and they were always a better model than the earlier models released by Lifelike as well as Bachmann, Model Power, AHM, ("EARLY") Atlas, Lima, Etc. back in the "Dark Ages".
    The Lifelike GP38-2 is a much more smooth and quiet runner than most of its earlier compitition and was a big step ahead for (Lifeless) Lifelike and the releases following it have improved to the point where it now stands head to head with both Kato and Atlas.
    That being said, the Lifelike GP38-2 is a very poor model to compare with the excellent Atlas GP38 (note that the Atlas model is not a Dash 2), as the Atlas unit is superior in every regard except price.
    I aquired my 2 Lifelike GP38-2's 2 years after I had already picked up 7 Kato GP38-2's (Don't ask me why) and despite tinkering with them for another 3 years, I finally gave up and sold them both at a bargan basement price to a shortline operater (a young 12 year old newcomer to the hobby), who has, in turn sold them to another where they still operate today.:)


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