HO scale - Walthers Horizon car and retooled Bachmann Amfleet I

Discussion in 'Product Review Forum' started by LongIslandTom, Oct 27, 2006.

  1. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member


    For the past few weeks I have been researching what rolling stock to buy to put together some passenger trains for running on my HO-scale layout. Specifically, I wanted some Amtrak trains (with the ubiquitous Amfleet cars) and a New Jersey Transit commuter train.

    For the NJ Transit train, the only stuff available out there are the Horizon commuter coaches from Walthers (1st photo below). The Horizon commuter coach was OK. It looks good, with tinted windows, and details that generally follows the prototype. I did not like the trucks on the Horizon commuter car however, because they seem rather flimsy (more on this later).

    For the Amfleets, both Bachmann and Walthers makes them. I've had Bachmann Amfleets from the 1980s and those were terrible, with weak trucks that gets destroyed easily, cheesy lighting, and truck-mounted couplers. I was apprehensive about buying more Bachmanns because of it, but then I hear from various sources that Bachmann has really improved their offering dramatically. On the other hand, the Walthers has always had a good reputation, so I was torn between those two.

    I decided to get the retooled Bachmann Amfleets because I hear from Amtrak modeler Kyle Nembhard (http://www.freewebs.com/marylindsayrr/) that the Walthers Amfleets have the same trucks as the Horizons. As mentioned earlier, I did not like the Horizon trucks because they are rather flimsy-- The wheels are held in their wells on the trucks with nothing more than a flimsy strip of metal, and consequently the wheels have a LOT of slop. You can actually twist the wheels any which way, and they are in danger of falling off. The Bachmanns on the other hand have a very secure wheelset mount on the trucks, utilizing a plate secured with two screws. Below is a photo that compares the trucks between the new Bachmanns and the Walthers Horizon (2nd Photo Below).

    Now that I have received all my purchases through the mail, I have to admit I am very impressed with the new retooled Bachmann Amfleets. They track better than the Horizons purely because the trucks are better. I also took some photos to show the differences between the old junk Bachmanns and the new Amfleets (rest of photos). The new Amfleets have diaphragms, knuckle couplers, body mounted couplers, better lighting, and sharper paint, compared to the old Bachmann junk. All in all I am very happy with the retooled Bachmann Amfleets and I would recommend them over even the Walthers.

    So in a nutshell, if you are looking for Amfleet cars, don't get the Walthers, get the retooled Bachmanns-- The retooled Bachmanns are simply better, and they cost about the same. Bachmann have it available in Phase II, III, IV (NE Direct and Intercity), and the new Acela regional scheme.

    Hope this review will save other buyers some time and effort! :thumb:

    Attached Files:

  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Additional photos of the trucks on the Walthers Horizon cars... Shows how much slop is in the wheels:

    Attached Files:

  3. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Thanks!!!! Again you've saved me some toruble of dealing w/ crap :). I've got a couple of shelfer's here already hahahah. I'll have to do more searches in the forums before i buy!!
  4. Jers2709

    Jers2709 New Member

    I have both and I like the Walther's because of the Phase IV paint job looks better
  5. Big Steel

    Big Steel New Member

    I have Walther's, Athearn,IHC and Bachman. I dont mean to put a dent in your post but the Bachman I have are in a junkyard on my layout seriously. Ive had nothing but bad experience with them. Most of the time the flanges are either way off or defected and there cars are too light.

    I do agree Walther's are a bit priced when they are no better then anything IHC makes. Athearn is the way to go all around. Although IHC does make some killer passenger and steam.

    I recently bought a IHC 4-6-4 I was worried about it making the 22 radius on my layout after being told I would need at least 30 radius. Well it did just fine but then I wonderd about the 18 radius inside track I had. I gave it a shot and to my suprise it also handled the 18 extremely well.

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