Micro-Trains Quality?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Cannonball, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I got the Athearn set today and I'm somewhat unhappy with it. You can read the full review here: http://www.zealot.com/forum/showthread.php?p=849664#post849664

    I'm seriously considering sending it back and finding something better for my buddy and his kid.

    I really like the looks of the Micro-Trains Disconnect Log Set.

    However, it comes with a 2-6-2 Bachmann Prairie Engine. Are these decent little engines? I've seen them priced alone for between $55-$80. I figure I could get one of these sets, a loop of track and a decent transformer for about what I paid for the Athearn set.

    Any opinions on Micro-Trains overall?
  2. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    I can't imagine a Bachmann engine being better than an Athearn, especially considering the reviews those got when they were new. Plus the disconnected log cars in the new set might cause more problems for beginners. There's nothing inherently wrong with the Athearn set when taken for what it is, a train set. From my experience the Bachmann track works well enough even if it doesn't look good. The engine pulls smoothly and the cars look good even if they wouldn't survive a demolition derby. A train set is only supposed to be a starting point, not the end all of the hobby. If you want to do something nice for your friend how about give him the Athearn set with a couple beginning books on N scale? Then he'll have the tools he needs to make the right decisions on moving beyond the train set some day.
  3. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    A train set it is. Unfortunately I don't see much difference between this one and some of the train sets that cost about half as much.

    I'm really not unhappy with the engine it's self. It's the best part of the set actually. The cars, track and transformer seem to be lacking though.

    Metal trucks on the cars would have been nice. Not sure how hard it would be to replace these since I've never done one.

    A transformer with fewer bells and whistles and more power would have been a plus as well. The overload light and on/off switch are nice but not at the expense of power.

    And why do they keep putting this EZ track in with starter sets when it actually costs more than regular track? What are they trying to prove with this? It's not just the looks but the pieces line up unevenly and make for a rough running surface. Not good for N scale and even worse for a steamer with a wiggly 2 wheel front truck. (And before anyone asks, yes, I did check to make sure the pieces were put together properly. The track ends were just really rough. Like someone had cut them with a dull butterknife.)

    Track aside, I think I am going to try a different transformer on it tonight. I have a spare left over from the sale of my stuff so at least I will have something to compare it to. That will be my final decision then. If I see some improvement with the new power supply, then I'll look into getting metal trucks for the cars.
  4. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

    The most recent runs of the Bachmann regular line steam locomotives-- like the Prairie one in the MTL set -- are improved over previous runs. I have an 0-6-0 and it runs far better than the Bachmann steamers I'm used to. (Spectrum excepted-- they were generally good from the start.)

    Micro-Trains took some flak for putting a Bachmann loco in the Disconnect Log Set, but it was certainly more cost effective than them developing their own steamer!

    Another caution about that set specifically-- the disconnect log cars are, I'm told, a little more finicky about tracking than your basic freight car. It's not a big deal for the more experienced modeler, but considering the intended recipient there might be better choices. (This from someone who owns the set.)

    Also note that some MTL N Scale sets don't come with track, the Disconnect Log and most other Special Edition sets being examples of that.

    The principal advantage of roadbed-included tracks like EZ-Track, Powerloc and of course Kato Unitrack is that there's much more flexibility in where it can be set up. I still don't think the living room rug is a good idea, but it can be done with such track whereas there's really no chance of doing that with the standard sectional track.
  5. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Railohio mentioned the same thing. As much as I like the looks of the set, I will probably stear clear of it now. I don't want the kid's train derailing at every turn. Especially if he's going to have my crappy trackwork on his layout. :D

    I've noticed that about a lot of MTL's sets.
    Their Z scale kits are the same way. (And much pricier! :eek:)
    I had figured in the cost of buying seperate track and transofrmer when I looked at them.

    I guess a moot point either way since I'm going to pass on that one as well.

    I'm with you there.
    I don't even like running my O scale on the carpet!
  6. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Had a little change of heart about the Athearn set. See my update in the reviews.

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