Stewart Hobbies: Good, Bad or The Ugly?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by DeckRoid, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. DeckRoid

    DeckRoid Member

    Hey there

    Does anyone have opinions one way or the other about Stewart Hobbies? I have been looking for a certain line/paint scheme for about a year now, and have found one at Stewart.

    I thought if any place was going to have members that have good, bad and indifferent things to say about a company, this would be it.

    I have 4 Athearns and 1 Bachmann Spectrum. I like the Athearns, they are nice to work with... I have started putting in LEDs and such. Folks have said that Athearns are noisy and clunky, but the ones I have are just fine. A little more noise than the Bachmann, but nothing too annoying or distracting.

    I am curious about the Stewart Hobbies engines, though. I have seen the advertisements in MR and other publications but no write ups that I could find. Not saying they aren't out there, just that my search skills aren't what they could be.

    Any info would be great, thanks!


    Here is what I am looking at:

    Non-DCC Loewy paint scheme Northern Pacific F-9 passenger

  2. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Well Stewart is now part of Bowser..
    Welcome to Bowser Manufacturing

    Now stewart use Athearn drives and Kato drives in the past..I am not sure of the drive they are using now but,know its a smooth drive system.

    The modeler needs to add the grabs and handrails that comes with the diesel switchers.The cab units lack the grab irons.
    As a side note the U25B is a bear to assemble due to the screen wires for the air intake grill.
    The Baldwin road switchers are rather straight forward in assembly.
  3. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Stewart is owned by English's Model Railroad Supplies...Bowser.

    If I recall correctly...they are a level of quality above the Athearn engines you currently have. That being would be cheaper to purchase some Bachman/Athearn F-units...$5 in decals...$7 in air brush, a can of air brush propellant...and decorate them yourself.

    You can get the engines you mentioned for $135. You could get the same set for $50 from a top-of-the-line Pasche VL airbrush...the decals, paint, and can or air for $10 more...while having an A-B-B-A set would cost $55 opposed to another $135.

    The downside being that Athearn's would be F-7s...and I don't know if they'd be accurate for NP.
  4. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    I have always been pleased with everything I have encountered and owned that was stamped "Stewart". Their U-25B's, FT's and F3's are very nice, run GREAT and are good lookers.
  5. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    My Stewart S12 is beautiful, detail & quality along the lines of Atlas & Kato. Very smooth drive too.

    My next purchases of Stewart will include a VO-1000, and two DS-4-4-1000's, all undec, to become a Santa Fe & Copper Range units, repetitively. I'm getting them here:
    Susquehanna Hobbies
  6. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    i have a stewart FT A-B set and its FANTASTIC.very smooth and none clunky.its as good as my protos if not better.i dont know how old it is or if they changed but only the A-unit is powered.the B is a dummy.hope this helps.--josh
  7. DeckRoid

    DeckRoid Member

    Seeing as how anything I try to paint ends up looking like a bad knock off of a Sydney Pollack, I am happy to pay a little bit more for fully lighted and correctly painted and decorated units.

  8. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Then Stewart's F-9 sounds perfect!

    Everyone has their own things they like and dislike!...and I suspect that the Stewart F-9's will soon be under the "love" category for you!
  9. DeckRoid

    DeckRoid Member

    Well. I ordered them. Soon I will have my A-B-B-A that I have wanted for a long, LONG time. Thanks for all the input. I knew this was the place to go for information.

    I will post some pics when they get here.
  10. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    You'll like them !! Just to clarify, Stewart started in the eighties and at that time used Athearn motors/drive train. Around 1995 they started using Kato drives/motors, I believe they lately have developed their own motors etc. Since they started using Kato stuff, Stewart has generally been considered either the best or one of the best running engines available, much better than bluebox Athearn or Bachmann/Spectrum. The only 'knock' on Stewart has been that many of their body shells date back to the eighties, and aren't as well detailed as say Athearn Genesis, which use "Highliner" shells which are state-of-the-art in F unit quality. But if you don't mind adding a few handrails to the engines yourself, Stewart is great.
  11. Heh, I have a GN F3 A-B set for my Empire Builder. I call them "Stewart/Kato" because they're from when Stewart was using Kato's stuff. They are my absolute unbeatably strongest pullers, period. I stuck everything else of mine behind them and (using DCC) pulled away...the F3s, at full throttle, pulled everything else at about 15 scale MPH around my little oval. That's with about five other locos pulling the other way AND about 40 heavy freight cars behind them! DRAG!

    They're powerful (lol).
  12. DeckRoid

    DeckRoid Member

    *** Update ***

    Hi there.

    They arrived, and I put the pieces parts on (horns, drums, foot thingies) and ran them around my layout 3 full laps before I busted out the camera.

    Now I just gotta find out how you guys do such GREAT photography with your models. I either had it too dark or the flash went off making everything white. I think I need to read up on my digital camera's features.

    But here are the 2 best of the 15 or so trial and error shots:



    You can't see too much, I know. I am now going to search the photo forum for tips and such.

  13. CRed

    CRed Member

    Cool,an NP fan and a reference to one of the best movies ever!

    They look great!I've never heard anything bad about Stewart Locos as long as you have some modeling skills since they're not exactly rtr.

    As far as the camera goes,you can try lowering the power of the flash and if that doesn't work you'll have to mess with the shutter speed most likely or some of the other functions under S,M or P modes.

  14. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    George, I'm no Lou Sassi, but I do know some tips (some of which my wife learned in a photography class in college). With digital cameras, the flash is your enemy. If I am attempting to get a good shot (and I don't always attempt to do so)...I want a background that doesn't hide my models (black is a bad backdrop for an N&W J...unless it is O. Winston Link night photography). Use bright ambient lights...such as the sun...or the two 100w bulbs that I have 12" above my workbench supplementing that room's lights. Pictures on my dining room table never look good because it isn't well lit and the table isn't too different from engine black...but it is near my train...I mean China cabinet.

    Typically, the picture isn't going to be good if you have to use the flash on a digital camera. I've taken 5000 pictures with mine in the past 2 years. Rather than using the flash...lower the speed on your camera and move the models location (or add an additional light) if you have unwanted shadows. I learned that this works wonders in very dark environments as I have throughly documented the condition of a wooden caboose being restored...including many pictures of the underframe...with an old digital camera I was using back in 2002.

    Here's a picture I took using a slow shutter speed...without a Jenbach, Austria.

    Attached Files:

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