Model Power products?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by RobertInOntario, May 7, 2007.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Just wondering if anyone can comment on the quality, reliability, etc., of "Model Power" products.

    I just bought a really nice 1950s CNR caboose, made by Model Power, for a mere $8.00 and I also saw some steam locos for sale for less than $40. My caboose seems really nice and of reasonably good quality -- although, I'm sure you could get them with more detail, but this one sure isn't bad.

    Usually, when model RR products are this cheap, you get what you pay for but I was still curious to learn more about this company.

  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Rob, I buy a lot of Model Power cars. My lhs has them for $5.95, and they already have magnetic couplers. It's a great way to populate your layout fast. They look and work ok to me and you can always detail and repaint them later. My plan, anyhow.

  3. darkcurves

    darkcurves Member

    Usually they are said to be worse than Bachmann but i do have a small Model Power switcher. It was cheap and works great. Not sure about their other products tough.
  4. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Loren. That's what I was thinking. This caboose looks great to my eye although I'm sure that one costing $30-$40 would have more detail. I'm happy with it though. Mine came with old style hook/horn couplers though, but that's still OK since a lot of my stock is old anyway. Rob
  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks! I was wondering if they might be on par with IHC/Mehano? I have a couple IHC/Mehano locos and they run really well. Cheers, Rob
  6. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    My daughter has a Model Power HO set that we bought her for Christmas. It's a dual diesel set and both engines are powered. Runs really well. The set it's self has an MSRP of $109.00 which is a pretty good price to begin with. We got it on special for $40 at Menard's. Also Model Power's

    I've got several N gauge pieces of rolling stock made by Model Power and like them all. The only drawback for most is they use Rapido couplers which doesn't bother me. My only complaint is that the one N scale engine I had from Model Power dies after only about 4 or 5 laps and was wired backwards. It's been sent back to the place I bought it from to see if it can be replaced.

    So counting that one engine I'll give my experience with Model Power an 8 out of 10.
  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    One of the good things about cheaper rolling stock is they can take some abuse of handling. With the more expensive and highly detailed cars, there is always something waiting to be broken off... ladders, grab irons, etc.

    I enjoy purchasing old cheap stuff and modifying them with body-mounted Kadee draft boxes and couplers, new trucks, metal wheels, and proper non-ferrous weights. Slap on a little weathering and they make a right respectable car for an operations oriented layout. They can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.
  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Gary. I think I know what you mean as I have a lot of older stock and often fix them up. Yes, you can paint and add detail as they go and not worry so much about handling them. Rob
  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I'm not familiar with any of Model Power's present-day offerings, but their diesels from the '70s were pretty dependable and pull very well.

    Model Power FAs/FBs

    Model Power FA/FB redone as FPA-4/FPB-4

    Model power E9A

    Model Power E7B phase II (built from two A-units)

  10. CRed

    CRed Member

    Wayne,I'm beginning to think you could make ANYTHING look like a million bucks.Great looking engines,I'm sure you put quite a bit of work into them.

    As far as Model Power goes,I've only had some of their "METAL" series cars.I liked them,they look good and you don't have to be afraid to handle them like more expensive ones as mentioned above.

  11. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Wayne and Chris. Wayne -- those look like awesome locos! I've noticed some of the RR names as being local ones. Did you create ficitional railways based on Ontario names and locations? Just curious. Thanks, Rob
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Robert, the Elora Gorge & Eastern was created in the early-to-mid '70s, mainly because I liked the sound of the name. Most of my rolling stock is lettered for it, although most of the locos, other than those shown, have been sold. During this period I also discovered MDC's steam loco kits, and built several, lettering them for the Grand Valley, another "made-up" name from the same general geographic region. While those locos are also gone, the name lives on:

    Around the same time, I was also painting trains for a local hobby shop, and was asked to build one of MDC's then-new two-trucked Shays for display in the store. I was told to letter it for whatever roadname I wished, and came up with the Erie Northshore moniker. I liked that one so much that I developed the name a little further, (a la the Nickel Plate Road), reasoning that that name would be for common useage, while the full name was the Grand River & Northern Lake Erie. I still use the small call letters on the steam loco tenders.

    I also created another roadname, as I thought that it would be a good excuse to build a loco for transfer service between the EG&E (the parent company) and its subsidiaries. Hence, the Grand River Southern:

  13. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    I am thinking the engines wont pull much but I have quite a few cars from ebay and save a lot of cash.

    Low end engines and as the cheaper Bachman and life like engines are all about the same. Hard to work on, low pulling poer usualy and not realy dependable in the long run.

    I may be wrong. Some may disagree and are welcome to do so. I am always eager to learn new things and be corrected on misconceptions.

    I have several of each.
  14. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Gil. That's what I was wondering / thinking. At any rate, I'm pleased with my caboose. I also have a hunch that the detailing on their locos might be basic or possibly inaccurate, but it's just a hunch!

  15. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks for the info and pics, Wayne. Really interesting & creative.

    You also mentioned "kits" -- I've recently become interested in kit-building but it seems that there aren't too many loco kits available these days. When it comes to British locos, it's even worse (at least in Canada -- there ARE several loco kits available in the UK but they cost a lot, around $80-$130).

    At first, I thought you could save money by building a loco from a kit, but it seems that it would cost even more than buying an RTR! I still haven't given up on the idea as kit-building might allow me to spread out my costs, even if it costs more. For example, I could pay $100 for the body kit first, then pay $100 for the chasis later, and also pay for the paint and other materials as I go.

    I must say, kit-building appeals to me (it's almost as much fun as building the layout & operating trains) but I'm a little "miffed" at the cost and availability.

  16. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Model Power has recently produced a line of "Metal Trains"... these have die-cast metal bodies, metal wheelsets and the newer ones have knuckle couplers. The paint is actually pretty good on them.

    They also have an F9 in the Metal Trains line that runs reasonably well, looks fair, and pulls quite well.

    The basic MP cars come with truck-mounted horn-hook couplers, and while the carbodys aren't badly done, the detail tends to be coarse compared to other brands. The trucks on these tend to have large-flange wheelsets, with spotty gauging.

    In the low-price segment, Bachmann has re-released a lot of their older freight cars... same bodies, better paintwork, trucks and body-mounted knuckle couplers.
  17. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Oh, I forgot to add... those old MP diesels! The early runs of FA's and Sharks had a Roco mechanism with an absolutely HUGE can motor and flywheels. You can ID them by the fine flanges and multiple idler gears in the power trucks. I believe the E-units were the same, although they appear to be quite similar to the AHM/Rivarossi E units that were available at the same time.

    Later, to keep costs under control, or because they moved production to China, the drives in the diesels were cheapened up with no flywheel, cheaper wheels and simpler gear towers with fewer idlers. They still ran well, but not with the silky smoothness of the Roco ones.
  18. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Squidbait. This is helpful and is making more sense now (i.e., how their detailing is "OK" but not the greatest). I just visited the new George's Trains and saw one of those "Metal Trains" products. It looked pretty good. Cheers, Rob
  19. darkcurves

    darkcurves Member

    I had a Model Power Alco 420. It can pull 100 wagons, only problem is that they are invisible. But seriously, terrible puller. Suffers to pull itself around the track.
  20. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    It seems that different manufacturing dates of MP locos stand for quite a different quality. I have each a powered and a dummy set of Baldwin Sharknoses , A and B units. So I can make up an A-B-B-A lashup with two motorized engines.

    I bought them in the '70s for about $30 (powered) and $15 (dummies) apiece. My locos must be from the Chinese series, because they have the mighty ROCO can motor, but no flywheels. (Thank you, Squidbait, for the information - didn't know the difference before! :thumb: )

    The engines are quite heavy and they really pull well. Also their gearing is so that the top speed of the engines is about 60 scale mph - another plus point.

    A month ago I installed a DCC decoder in the powered A unit. There's lots of room inside and now she runs even better. I also installed a LED in place of the incandescent headlight bulb.

    I always loved those sharknoses - and I must say, for that price I'm really satisfied with these Model Power locos.

    As you see from the pic, I'll still have to add quite a few details (grabirons, handrails, front coupler (!), m/u hoses...)


    Attached Files:

Share This Page