Help on Atlas products (Newbie)

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Felix1972, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. Felix1972

    Felix1972 New Member

    Hello all,

    Thanks for this site. It is very well informed.

    Here is my newbie question:

    I am going to start to build a track layout with my son. Both of us are new to this. I had a cheep track when i was a kid (which i summarily destoyed through immaturity and neglect to the dissapointment of my father). Anyway:

    We are going to build an Atlas track kit. I think we will do Code 83.

    My question is: What is the difference in the catalog from the Master Series and the Trainman Series?

    The Trainman series seems less inexpensive. Why? Is there a difference? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    We have not even started to build the table, so we are at square 1 with this.

  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member


    First order of business...Welcome aboard...!!! It's good to see new folks coming everyday. Here' you'll find a very competent and friendly bunch of people that can help you along as your dream grows..

    I'm not familiar with Atlas' products, but you might try their site ( I'm sure they have a good description of their sets.
    As a general rule, if you're serious about getting into this wonderful hobby, it's probably best not to buy a set. Take a look at catalogs, web sites of different manufacturers, etc., and begin to form an idea of where you want to go with this. Then purchase those items that'll help you build what you have in mind. More often than not, starter sets fall by the wayside once you develop particular interests that the set does not fill.

    Good luck, and come back often...!!!:thumb:
  3. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    While I cannot go into specifics about TRAINMAN locomotives (I do not own one) I can make some general statements. It all comes down to what bells and whistles you are looking for (pun intended). The Master series is the high end equipment. The locomotives come with DCC chips with or without sound. They will run on DC layout. I just got my first Master Series locomotives earlier this year, a pair of B&O GP-40s. The TRAINMAN locos don’t come with as many “extra” features preinstalled. They are meant to be an inexpensive alternative or an entry-level product. I do not have any TRAINMAN locos only because none of the offerings fit my modeling era or roads that I am modeling.

    As far as the TRAINMAN rolling stock goes I have quite a few and frankly have a hard time telling them apart from the “regular” Atlas stuff especially the 2-bay offset hoppers and PS-2 covered hoppers.
  4. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Felix1972:wave:, i have ONE Atlas Trainman engine:thumb:. as Tom mentioned, the difference with them, and the "better" Atlas lines is the Trainman series engines lack some of the "extras";).

    HERES MY TAKE ON THEM; i bought the Trainman CNW RS-32 #4242, and found it to be QUITE GOOD:thumb:. it has the SAME motor in it as the Atlas master series engines:thumb:, and it had a "DCC ready" circuit board in it. i had very little trouble installing an MRC Brilliance sound decoder in it, it plugged right into the 8pin socket on the circuit board:thumb:. the engine runs smooth as silk, and i found the detailing on the shell to be VERY GOOD!:D

    HERES WHAT THEY LACK; they DON'T have the grab irons on them, no plows, and no hoses, etc.:( HOWEVER, after i added those items, relocated the horn, added a Sinclair antenna and rotating beacon, coupler cut bars, all weather windows, painted the white on the railings, and weathered the lower half, the engine REALLY TURNED OUT NICE!:thumb::D

    IN SHORT, the model i bought RUNS GREAT! with some detailing parts, and a little paint work, these engines can be a NICE addition to the layout:D. if you are running DCC, installing a decoder in these seems to be very easy(in the model i have, it was a snap;)).

    Well, thats MY experience on the Atlas Trainman series engines. i hope this might have helped:D. :D-Deano [​IMG]
  5. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Just a hint: If you plan on using flex track on curves you should get Code 100 iof your a newbie.

    You will have to solder the connections on flex track for curves so there isnt any kinks.

    Code 100 is a little harder to solder with since its smaller.

    Just my 2 cents since im a newbie and i had to learn to solder HO code 11 flex track :p

    I didnt start with a set and i am VERY HAPPY with my results so far.
    I used flex track (comes in 3 foot sections thats flexable (you can make custom curves).
    You also have less connections to deal with.
    I am going with DCC (a computerized way of controlling multiple trains the same track)
    Lots of people say solder with DCC or wire up each piece of track so u have good current all the time to each piece of track. Good thing about flex track is its longer therefore you dont do much work.

    Also I believe flex track is less expensive. (moreso than sectional track, plus you are limited with sectional track)
    Such as you will have trouble getting parallel tracks (directly next to each other running side by side) in sectional tracks because of how limited u are on turn radii (radiuses?)

    It also depends on how much money your going to spend....

    Are you going to actually model and go the whole 9 yaers? (roadbed, scenery, ballast?)
    Flex track is better for realism because you can have custom curves as I said so you can have really smooth not-tight curves that go really slow that u cant do that well on sectional track...

    Sorry if I confused u any, thats my other 2 cents :p

    Try looking for a local hobby shop/store around your area. Sometimes I find stuff cheaper there than online stores. Anything that is cheaper than the price on is a decent buy. (most of the time lol)
  6. HOtrainman

    HOtrainman Member

    how big is your layout going to be? 4x8 is good for beginners- go to and then click the beginner page and there are diagrams on building a good sturdy table. hope this helps.
  7. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Hi and welcome. I'm a new old modeler....getting back into it. These guys in here are came to thee right place for advice.

  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge, the friendliest place on the internet!

    I'm not completely familier with the Atlas line of trains, but it sounds like the Master series is dcc equipped, not sure about sound. It may also have better detail on the bodies. Generally, if you want dcc, it is less expensive to buy a locomotive dcc equiped than to buy one dcc ready and then buy and install a decoder.

    One reason to buy a model with less detail for less cost is if you are modeling a specific prototype. Diesel locomotives are a lot more standardised than steam engines. Still different railroads used different horns, different horn or bell locations, or hung various items in different places on the locomotive. Snowplows are different from one railroad to another. Due to economics, most manufacturers make one model of a locomoitive, and then paint it for various roads. The model they offer is probably correct for only one railroad, but may not be correct for the railroad you are modeling. If there is less detail on the locomotive you buy, you don't have to remove as much detail before adding details to make your model specific to your prototype.
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    That's a common misconception. Or, more accurately, a limiting thought pattern.
  10. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I disagree, 4x8 is easier to setup because you dont have to cut custom pieces and adding it on for a larger layout.

    Why do you say its limiting? Any table can be limiting but it depends on ur skills and money.
  11. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I have expirience with Atlas train man. you get the same electrical ( motors and such) without the DCC chips ( the computerized part), sound, and it lacks detail. This will be good if your son is on the younger end. locomotives with the fine details get broken just by sitting there doing absolutely nothing.

    there fore, Atlas Train man, or Athearn Blue box ( another company/ brand name) would be good choices.

    if your son is on the older, more responsible side, it might not be so bad to invest in a nicer locomotive, maybe even with sound. a good attractive and haighly detailed locomotive can get you hooked.

    as far as track plans go, i definitely agree that those Atlas plans aren't always the best approach to a layout. they only appear interesting until you have it up and running. also, a 4x8 isn't necessarily the best idea (even though i don't like 4x8s that much, don't get me wrong. amazing thigns can be built in that space. see the "Seaboard Central" in 6 Model Railroads You can Build, mentioned below). I have a 4x8 and i wish i had more space and better track arrangments. it is much better to come up with your own plan. that way, you can plan out where the tracks and scenery you want go, to make an excellent looking model railroad.

    I would suggest hitting the library or buying some books on track plans, as well as model railroading in general. "model railroad planning 2007" should still be on magazine racks. it would not be a bad idea to pick that up. one book i really liked was "48 top notch track plans" and "6 HO model railroads you can build" from Kalmbach. they will give you a pretty good idea of different layouts, and all the different things you can do, as well as insights as to how you would build other parts of the layouts.

    also, if you go down to the track planning forum and give them your space requirements, and a basic idea of what railroads and other features you want, and alot of people will give you their designs. Or you can make your own, after a little research.

    Good luck!
  12. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

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