kato,atlas,life- like?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Livesteam, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    How can a company, or anyone for that matter change the past? :confused:
    What would you like them to do?
    Hop into a DeLorean and get it up to 88MPH? :D

    What they HAVE done is come out with a line of quality products.

    When you look at Bachmann, look only at the Spectrum line, therein lies the quality. They still make their "train set" and entry level stuff, but don't look at that.

    When you check out Life-Like, look at their Proto2000 line. Quality comparable to Atlas and Kato, or so says the HO members of our club.

    You can't change the past, but you can improve for the future. :thumb:
  2. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    Just one point about the Life-Like. They don't have the "Proto2000" line in N scale. The equivalent for their steam is the "Heritage" line, not "Proto2000 Heritage", which is HO. The 2-8-8-2 gets a B+. Simplest recent "non-DCC ready" steamer to convert, detail is fabulous, smooth running, doesn't have much umpfah compared to the prototype. The 2-8-4 Berkshire is also smooth running, but it is a C, C-. Detail is very good, also a weak puller, very touchy electrical contacts (probably make a GREAT track tester, as it is FINICKY), reputed to be by far the most difficult DCC install of any currently available big steam. Neither of these evaluations are terribly concerned with prototypical accuracy for all roadnames.

    The ProtoN is their line of N scale diesel locos that are theoretically being built to the "Proto" quality level.
  3. Hoghead

    Hoghead Member

    In my book Lifelike and Bachmann have a long way to go to compete with Atlas and Kato in terms of quality. While I respect your opinion of Likelike and Bachmann, I do not share it. It would take a lot of convincing to even get me to test run one of their products.

    I was burned once with Bachmann and that was 10 yrs ago, it left a scar. Since then I do not mind spending a little extra for quality. My collection is Atlas and Kato for locomotives and strictly Microtrains for rolling stock.

    Just my opinion
  4. Livesteam

    Livesteam Member

    I am suprized that the life like are strong engines, i have two amtrak ones about 20 bucks each and pulled 38 cars around, very happy with it
  5. BNSFtheLeader

    BNSFtheLeader Member

    I have to agree the past is just that "the past"

    I have two F7 out of scale Beast that I still run now even though there Noisy and not the quality of todays expectations, But there Horses.

    But if anyone wants to go down the road of "Well 10 years ago" Well let me ask the Major question of Does anyone here Remember Atlas even producing an Engine?

    I personaly can think of one off hand and that was the FA's, That was about the time the LL F7's where around and the LL's had them beat hands down the Atlas'es where JUNK. atlas just happened to jump on Kato before anyone else so really Kato was the only one to offer a quality product at that time even today the Atlas Classics are Kato's not Atlas like they think.

    the newer Atlas/Atlas with the Molded Walkways are indeed a fine model but the Newer LL's are definantly as good if not better than the Atlas/Atlas Engines if you over look the fact that LL does not offer DCC acceptible frames but to someone like me that does not run DCC all it means to me is more weight which is what I want.

    I give a big thumbs up to all three and as far as the Bachmann's go I have not bought the SD45's yet due to the fact that I'm working on my intermodel fleet now but the day will come, I was fairly inpressed with the spectrum series for the price so you really couldn't ask for Kato quallity out of them.

    So if anyone down grades LL and refuses to by them because of there past than your just hurting yourself by denying your self the right to own a sweet piece of Motive Power.

    Good luck to all.
  6. cpNscale

    cpNscale Member

    I guess maybe from my comments earlier,and the posts that followed i may just have to give the new N Scale Life Likes a try.
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Guys the LL GP20s is just as good as runners as the Kato and Atlas locomotives.The switchers isn't that bad either.So if you haven't test ran a LL GP20 I recommend that you do so.

    As far as HO Atlas is the leader since there's been some issues with Kato as far as paint and details.The P2K line of geeps(GP7/9/18/20/30 all suffered crack gear problems a easy fix..Athearn just keeps improving with each new RTR locomotive as far as smoother drives.
  8. Tuned MP5T

    Tuned MP5T New Member

    What do you guys think of Micro Train Loco's?
  9. Livesteam

    Livesteam Member

    I havent tried the mirco trains but i heard they are ok
  10. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    I have two Life-like (new) switchers, both DCC, and they're both dogs. They won't even make it round my layout at speed. They're unusable as switchers, and just sit on display.

    I have lots of Atlas engines (all smaller older diesels, all DCC, all new or nearly new). They run sort-of-ok. Most will make it round without problems. Most will switch reasonably reliably, but need the odd 'prod' to get them re-started every now and then. Most have been 'fiddled' with to enhance their electrical pickup to get them where they are. All are very noisy, although strangely two are very quiet in reverse. Weird...

    I have some Kato's (diesel and steam) and they're all perfect. They run silently and reliably, out of the box, without stalling, during switching all day at any speed over the crummiest dirtiest trackwork. I really really wish they'd make more engines, particularly switchers.

    I've realised that this is why a lot of people run double-headed engines. With two Atlas locos there's no problem -- they'll always find power from somewhere. It's more 'towing the other one' than 'having a helper'. But it means your yards have to be pretty big to reasonably need pairs of locos to be switchers. On the other hand, a Kato F3A or Mikado looks pretty silly as a switcher too, but at least it does the job.

    I would love to think that I was unlucky with my Atlas purchases and lucky with my Kato ones, but each new engine fails to convince me of this...

  11. Livesteam

    Livesteam Member

    tillsbury are you looking to get rid of those switchers? what kind are they?
  12. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    They're SW9/1200's... but I wouldn't want to sell them to anyone I might meet again on this forum. Like I said, they're dogs!:D
  13. Trains

    Trains New Member

    We run all Kato, hardly ever clean the wheels. Have Atlas but the wheels get dirty fast.
  14. NYCNewbie

    NYCNewbie New Member

    As a relative newcomer to the hobby, I find it baffling that people keep going on and on about how terrible Life-Like and Bachmann are, particularly when these people don't seem to have tried any recent products from these companies. It may be true that not all their stuff is great - I have a Bachmann 4-8-4 Northern that isn't anything to write home about. But I also have a Spectrum 2-8-0 Consolidation that I got for less than $60 NEW which runs beautifully, is strong, has amazing detail, and just about everyone who's tried it says beats anything Kato ever produced in steam (for at least twice as much). It's not really surprising that any company can make a well-running and well detailed loco for $200. For that money, anything less would be a complete rip-off. What is impressive is that you can get the same quality for half the price. Most of the time you get what you pay for, but in my view the Spectrum line can't be beat, at least for steam. So my advice to any newcomers would be, try Bachmann; if you're not happy with it, you won't have spent a fortune anyway. And, though I haven't had any need for it, my impression is that their service department is very helpful - haven't heard the same of any other manufacturer.
  15. Dan Crowley

    Dan Crowley Member

    There is little to complain about with the new Lifelike. Kato. Atlas, LL they are all basically the same now. There is no way I would call the split frame LL junk. If LL make the style of locomotive you want, then buy it . The only caution I give you with LL is that they have made major improvents in the last couple of years, switching to split frames and flywheels. You have to make sure you are buying the new design and not the older plastic chassis with lead wts, although these weren't that bad, it s just the new ones are so much better.
  16. BNSFtheLeader

    BNSFtheLeader Member

    Well if they are DCC there not Life-Like and if they are LL there Converted Chassis which means there is practly no weight anymore look at how small they are if you where to make any manufacture Engine that small and convert it they would be dogs also. There's not enough room to put weight and controls in at the same time.. I have 7 stock LL SW-9/1200's and every one of them out pulls Atlas/Kato, Atals Gp-30's, GP-35's and the GP-40's so it's not the Engine for it's size there PowerHouse Engines you just can't rely on them to pull a freight train there switchers like your RS-2's, RS-3's, RSD4/5's, RS-11's (sometimes used on freights) SW-1500's and so on. Although Seeing them on Freights is not uncommon there constiantly being shipped from Yard to Yard by hitching a ride.
  17. 3railguy

    3railguy Member

    I am relatively new to N scale and of the engines I own:

    ;) Kato heavy mikado: Smooth and whisper quiet. Decent puller. Detail doesn't look as good as Bachman and Lifelike's latest premium releases.

    :thumb: Atlas SD-24: Smooth, good puller, but slight gear noise. Crisp detail and graphics.

    ;) Life Like GP-20: Smooth and the same noise level as Atlas. Detail and graphics are very close to nice as Atlas. Sits on the trucks a tad high. I got one off the Life Like website clearance for $17.00. It was a steal. Wish I ordered three.

    :thumb: Life Like SW-9: Smooth and slightly noisier than GP-20. Excellent detail and graphics.

    :confused: Bachman GP-50: A waste of $22.00. The worm gear cradle is flimsy plastic causing the worm to pop out. Toy like trucks. Rubber traction tire peeled off in a few days. I will reinforce the worm cradles with brass and buy a junker for non traction tire wheelset.

    My experience so far is Life Like's newer releases have become the Athearn blue box of N scale diesels. They are easy to upgrade by replacing the wheelsets to NWSL and couplers w/micro trains. But, I'd rather spend more on Atlas or Kato and save the trouble. I do not own any Micro Trains or Intermountain diesels yet. I have a gut feeling they will be like Atlas, My next diesel will be Intermountain's SP SD-40 snoot tunnel motor.
  18. al1218

    al1218 New Member

    How many modelers realize that since 1998 (1st release of LL's GP-20's) both the Atlas and LL diesel locos are made on the same assembly line in China. :wave:

  19. 3railguy

    3railguy Member

    That could very well be true and believable when you look at the construction. However, Atlas appears to use better quality parts in some areas. Life Like has also raised their prices to nearly Atlas's level. You see bigger discounts on them. Trainworld has E-8's for around $25.00 each. I thought Life Like was sold out of $17.00 GP-20 because I did not get an email confirmation when I ordered two mor. They came today. They are a steal at this price.[​IMG] I opened one up and by golly it has brass worm gears.


    NYC, I like the look of Bbachmans CBQ northern and Hobbytown has one for $50.00. Will it run on 12" radius curves? Is it a poor runner or decent?
  20. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Here's my two cents

    Just bought four Bachmann diesels...three Spectrum's (Dash 8 Wide Cabs) and one standard type (GP50). The GP50 runs like a rocket and pulled 33 cars without any hesitation (sorry, I knew it wasn't good to pull that much...I just had to see what it could do). The three Spectrums are taking a while to "break in" and take a lot of power to pull 10 or so cars over a flat surface oval track. The biggest variable is...I know the Spectrums have sat in a display case for a long while at the retailer I purchased them from. Each engine requires a different power setting to finally start to move...but again, I've just learned about "breaking in" new engines so I'm hoping that after a few hours of running them (fwd/backwds/slow/fast/right/left) they will require less initial starting power and have a higher top speed.

    So what does all this mean? I didn't spend a great deal of money on four engines that my kids (and me too) wanted to see move around the track. The quality may not be the highest...but the price was reasonable and the enjoyment-to-dollar ratio is high (I just made that ratio up.) So to a budget limited person like me...the Bachmann provided a good value for the dollar.

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