Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Trains, Apr 25, 2005.
Atlas or Lifelike
Who makes the better engine? Was looking at the GP's.
As a general Rule,Kato ,Atlas,MT and Intermountain have good locomotives.
ConCor/Rivarosi have some good entries also.
Bachmann and Lifelike are a bit hit and miss (which is better than they used to be when it was all junk)
Watch the reviews carefully by people who own them before buying one.
I have purchased 4 new atlas Loco's in the last 2 years.
An rs-3,a U Boat and 2 SD9's. they are all perfect with excellant slow speed and pulling power.
If i could hook my Atlas SD up to likelikes SD's ( I have 3 LL SD 7's )in a pulling contest,The atlas would certainly drag 2 of them around the layout if not all 3.
As far as slow speed control goes,LL starts at about a scale 20-25 mph
My Atlas 's will creep at about 16-18" of track per minute.
Most Kato's will perform similarly.
Atlas has come a long ways in the last few years in regards to thier Locomotive performance.They stepped up to the realistic challenge and have scored high points as far as I am concerned.
I don't know, it depends on which Life-Like engine you are talking about. There are some Life-Like engines that are no better than toys (like the GP38-2), some that rival Atlas' most recent offerings (like the GP20), and some that depend on when it was made (like the SD-7, where older versions are like the GP38-2, but newer are excellent runners like the GP20).
I have lofe like SD7's,the newer version.I bought them because i heard they were so much improved.They are improved i agree.they still do not run like an Atlas or a Kato.not even in the same league.Sure,they are fine for display running at moderate speeds.they are not something i would even consider for an operations layout however.
Atlas is a good company i do have one engine and it runs good, life like does have some good engines, i dont know the price diffrents but if they are about the same i would go with atlas
LL split-metal frame cab units are excellent
LL split metal frame BL-2s have some consistency problems, but if you get a good one, they are good.
LL split-metal frame GP-20s are excellent.
LL plastic frame FP-7s, GP-18s and FA-2s were good for their time, but are now dated.
The modern GP-whatever-it-is is not the best
LL plastic frame E-units and PAs were very good units. They were and are a very good locomotive for the money. Most of them can be had for street prices of twenty or twenty-five dollars.
The LL metal frame E-8 was also nice, but a bit pricey. The metal frame E-8 was a case of 'fixing something that weren't really broke'. Yes, it had improved performance over the plastic frame, but the plastic frame E-unit was a very good locomotive at a good price. It was eighty-five per-cent of the Kato performance for sixty-five per-cent of the list price.
The Atlas CLASSIC GP-7s and GP-9s are excellent. Later issues come with a 'scale speed' motor. I do not know about later protoype GPs from Atlas as I do not run anything newer than a GP-9.
Atlas is definitely in the lead, but LL is gaining fast. The new GP60 is proof of that. But don't turn your nose up at the split frame FA1s, FA2s, Eries, C-Liners, GP20s, SW9s, BL2s, GP18s, or the EBs (though the nose needs work). The old GP18s, SD7/9s, and BL2s were good runners though they were plastic frames. As were the older E 6/7/8s that would pull anything. The GP38 stands alone as the dog diesel of the crowd. All said, LL has proven that they are a contender. And if they produce the rumored SW1500, they will definitely get much praise.
My LL Erie-Lackawanna SW8 just arrived. The attention to detail is excellent and it's slow speed running rivals my fine running Atlas classics. Obviously I can't speak to it's longevity, but it rivals the Atlas locos in the other dept's. (I will need to replace the couplers however).
I am in agreement that Life Like has raised the bar with diesels (along with their prices). As others have posted, it depends on the engine. They are beginning to furnish knukle couplers on their engines. I have two GP-20's and an SW-9 switcher. They run like Atlas. The GP-20's came with Rapido coupler but they were easy to swap with Micro Trains 1015-1 knuckle couplers. You get four to a pack. There is a plastic bridge retainer that snaps over the coupler box like it does with the Rapidos. You need to add a shim over the the top of the MT coupler box to get the couplers to the right height. Shims are included with the couplers.
If DCC is your goal, then there's no contest. Atlas. LifeLike has yet to make a DCC ready diesel, whereas Atlas is releasing diesels with factory installed decoders. While LL has at least moved to split frames, it is still necessary for the consumer to mill the frame (or pay somebody else to do it) to make space for the decoder.
The above comments are based on current production product by both companies.
The ATLAS GP 7/9 is still not DCC ready.
My view is that Lifelike engines that first entered the market after 2000 (starting with the SW9/1200) are very reliable, solid engines that are extremely good 'bang-for-buck' engines, even if they aren't as detailed or quiet as more expensive Atlas and KATO engines.
Like most of the guys here I have Atlas, Kato, Lifelike and even the pricey Intermountain FTA/B diesels.
They're all good and the Lifelikes run great. The detail is right up there with the others and some of them will absolutely crawl.
Most of my Lifelikes are extremely quiet while my Atlas locos are a little noisier.
The only Lifelike loco I have that makes a noise is the older run (no flywheels) FA2/FB2 diesel. It has a slight growl but I like it.
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