life-like model trains

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by helicopter arms, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. helicopter arms

    helicopter arms New Member

    what are the reputation on these model trains?

    most likely the HO series.

    the reason is i want to start making a scenery with train track. I am a complete beginner and I have just bought a couple books about model trains.

    However, my mother wants a train for under the christmas tree, so i thought it would be a good idea to just mess around with a cheap train for the tree before I spend some good money.

    Ive seen the life-like HO model trains for around 70$. they look pretty decent but of course i don't know much else? any ideas on this?
  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge. life like is good for under the tree thing but not very good for modeling unless you get the proto 1000 or 2000 stuff.
  3. helicopter arms

    helicopter arms New Member

    whys that?
    because of material used? detail?

    also, ive seen some extremely cheap bachmann fullset modesl for around only 40$ on ebay. why are these so cheap? thanks
  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    the cheeper train sets are more toy than model.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    With trainsets, price is a really good indicator of what kind of quality you get. Bachmann and Life-like trainsets are poorly detailed, and lack any real quality. There is a cheap powerpack, and cheap track included.

    However, both Bachmann and Lifelike make excellent engines (Spectrum and Proto1000/2000 respectively).

    You'll get ok performance for once a year under the tree from the sets, but don't expect anything more.

  6. helicopter arms

    helicopter arms New Member

    thanks for the info.

    but besides detail? what else could go wrong?

    maybe it can break down, but with once a years use... i doubt it
  7. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    if you take care of your stuff, i'm sure it will last nicely, they are a popular make and if they sucked, i wouldnt see them still in business

    my marx trains are considered "toy-trains" by people and hell, they have lasted 70 years and are still running strong without any problems what soever, while everyone i know with lionels have enough problems with stuff breaking
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    They have the old style "pancake" motor with built in gear box. It may work as a design for Lionel in O scale, but in ho they just don't last very well. However, I was at my local hobby shop the other day and a customer was interested in getting some more locomotives for his kids, but didn't want to pay an exorbitant price for them. The hobby shop had some standard Bachmann f units in the bottom of the glass counter for $16.00 each. My buddy behind the counter and I both thought they were cheap toy junk, but we pulled one out and found it was heavy and all 8 wheels were powered. It appears that Bachmann has dropped there old toy line and now makes the standard model what used to be called Bachmann Plus. Lifelike may have done the same thing, dropping the toy line and making the p1k the base model. If your hobby shop is reputable, someone will take a look at the set with you and analyse the quality.
  9. Brian

    Brian Member

    Honestly, I've had good luck with Bachmann and Life Like toy trains. Sure, they might not be as detailed or as prescision made as an Athern,Atlas, or etc. .....but they also don't cost as much either. If you enjoy running model trains that's all that really matters......have fun with it. If after a while you decide that this is a hobby that you desire to get deeper into then go ahead an invest in some better quality locomotives.....but for now I'd suggest just picking up one of those train sets that you described.:)
  10. Relic

    Relic Member

    ALL my(7) engines are swapmeet specials and 4 of them are Bachmann, they wom't pull as many cars up the "mountain" as the Athearn 8 wheel drive units but they were cheap and hanen't given me any trouble in three years
  11. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    The cheaper sets are good for under the tree. They may come with cheap power packs and lightly detailed locos, but they are designed for the rough handling the younger kids give them(Smashing into Matchbox cars, making them derail on purpose). Some sets come with a track sysytem that has the rails molded into a plastic roadbed, which is great for keeping the 1/1 carpet dustbunnies out of the locos.Watch out for the tinsel though. Tinsel will screw up a loco real quick.
  12. HPRL

    HPRL Member

    Yeah but ... Didn't Walthers buy Life Like just a little while ago. I thought I saw something like that kind of News Release. Or did I read it here? I dunno I been reading so much lately. Chug; Chug.announce1
  13. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    While train set cars are OK with me for Christmas garden service, the locomotives generally are not. Mine get a lot of miles put on them over the holidays so I prefer AHM/Rivarossi, older Atlas and Athearn for pulling trains. The dust is just murder on the mechanisms and these brands are affordable and fairly easy to disassemble and maintain. Train set locos more often than not are sealed units that are not made to be disassembled for cleaning or repair. The Bachmann and Life-Like sectional tracks with preformed roadbed quickly replaced my regular sectional track as it is very secure and does not kink or separate easily.

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