Best H0 system for newcomer?

Jon Miller spake thus:


Problem is, many of Spender's toys are much more expensive than my scale models (plastic, not brass). No rider on insurance policy here (in fact, no insurance policy at all).
--
Don't talk to me, those of you who must need to be slammed in the
forehead with a maul before you'll GET IT that Wikipedia is a
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
David Nebenzahl wrote:

If, and I say that because I don't know the extent of the Lionel range, Lionel made a scale model of locomotive XYZ but put wheels that were only suitable for roundheaded tinplate rail, the majority of modellers would still consider it to be a toy train because it wouldn't operate on a scale model railway.
Regards, Greg.P.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg Procter wrote:
snip

The Scale Hudson had wheels that were contoured for 'square topped rail'. Also the rest of the Scale series. Cars, and I believe an 0-6-0 also.
Chuck Davis
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

only suitable for roundheaded tinplate rail, the majority of modellers would still consider it to be a toy train because it wouldn't operate on a scale model railway<
Didn't Sunset produce a group of very nice brass engines that could be bought either way?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

all toys to me.< This is a world wide argument. If you take it out of trains you could consider a Toyoda transportation while a Ferrari is a toy. I could expand this to practically anything and in fact push anyone's buttons.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
tor_arne snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

If you have in mind to build a European layout, I'd recommend Roco, Bachmann Liliput, or Heljan to start. You can add Marklin-made Trix locos and rolling stock later on. You'll have decide which coupler to use, though, as no two manufacturers use the same one.
If you have in mind to build a US layout, well, there are no "systems" in the N. American model railroad market. There are brands. You mix and match according to your tastes. If you're thinking in terms of train sets, most of the stuff offered around Christmas time isn't worth the money.
So assuming you want to model some US and/or Canadian railroads, here are my comments. I hope you find them useful.
First, I strongly suggest that you acquire a Walthers catalog. Buy a few recent model railroad magazines, too. That will give you an idea of what's out there. There is literally too much to give you the kind of advice you want.
Secondly, which railroad(s) do you want to model? What time frame or era? Deciding this will help narrow down the catalog and on-line searches. You can model any era from about 1880 to the present, although you'll have to adapt and scratchbuild a lot for a layout set more than about 50 years ago.
Thirdly, I take it you may want plug'n'play. I don't know of any such "system" (not even Marklin's.) The best you can do is connect the track sections, hook up the controller, and go. But to build a layout takes a good deal more than that. But that's a large part of the fun. :-)
Given those preliminary remarks, here's my list of good quality brands, based entirely on my own experience.
A) Train sets: Lifelike Proto (very good); Walthers, IHC, and Bachmann (good) make the only ones worth considering. NB that Lifelike also makes cheap and 'orrible trainsets. Avoid them.
A) Locomotives: Best: Kato, Atlas, LifeLike Proto2000/1000 (less detail), Athearn Genesis diesels. Very good: BLI, Bachmann Spectrum, current IHC, Walthers Trainline, Atlas Trainman, Athearn Genesis steam. Good: some Model Power, older IHC, Roundhouse/MDC, some Bachmann. Poor: most Model Power, most Bachmann, non-Proto LifeLike.
B) Rolling stock: same as above. Other good brands are Accurail and Bowser. When it comes to kits, too many to mention. They range from relatively simple plastic kits through quite complex plastic kits to kits requiring a fairly high level of craft skills (cutting, drilling, shaping, soldering, gluing, painting, etc.)
C) Track: All brands of plain track consisting of rail mounted on a plastic tie strip are 100% compatible with track using the same rail height (or "code). There is no significant difference in quality, although code 83 track tends to look a lot better, and the turnouts are closer to conformance with NMRA standards.
The brands consisting of rail mounted on a molded base representing ties and ballast are not mutually compatible. A couple of manufacturers offer transition pieces so you can connect such track to standard sectional track. I like LifeLike's best (code 100 rail). The other brands (Atlas, Kato, Bachmann, Model Power) are all as good, but since you have to connect the rails as well as the bases, they are more of a bother to assemble.
Turnouts (track switches or "points") are all more or less problematic: none conform to NMRA standards, mostly because the manufacturers interpret the dimensions as +/-, whereas the critical ones are all either max or min measurements (that is, zero tolerance in one direction). I prefer Atlas and Shinohara. Actually, I think the ones I build myself are the best. :-)
The best looking flex track is made by MicroEngineering, but its small spikeheads are fragile, so I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner.
D) Buildings, bridges, etc: Any plastic kits that appeal to you will do nicely, especially if you see them as boxes of parts to be used to build whatever _you_ want to build. Walthers, Model Power, IHC, Pola, DPM, Woodland Scenics, etc, all make suitable N. American buildings and other structures. They range from simple to quite complex. There are more and more ready built structures available, too. Some of the buildings by Faller and a very few by Vollmer can be adapted to look sufficiently N. American, but most of them just don't suit.
There is also a huge range of craftsman kits for structures. In fact, structure modelling is a hobby within a hobby.
E) Control and signalling, etc. There's conventional DC (direct current), and Digital Command Control (DCC). Quality DC controllers cost a good deal more than the cheapies included in train sets. About the only thing to say about DCC is that you should avoid any system that does not comply with NMRA standards. (That includes Marklin's.) The few times I've operated with DCC on friends' layouts, I found no significant differences among the systems they used. The best known brands are Digitraxx, Lenz, North Coast Engineering; they all have excellent reputations. Atlas and Model Rectifier Corporation have recently entered the DCC market: they too have good reps.
Signalling is not very well developed, partly because making a decent looking, working signal costs about as much as making a boxcar, so many modellers think these "accessories" are overpriced. OTOH, there's increasing interest in this aspect of model railroading, so expect quality/price ratios to improve.
HTH
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
tor_arne snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

There probably aren't any actual US manufacturers any more, just firms either importing or having their products manufactured in China, Hong Kong, Slovakia, Denmark or Spain. Other than Lionel (US O gauge) and Bachmann (China) you probably won't find any firms offering a complete system for the USa.
So for a US layout you have to decide on one brand of track, make another decision of controller, yet another on locomotives and pick the wagons (cars) as you like them from a broader range of suppliers.
So, you need to ask the question three or four different ways: - which track system? - which couplers? - which controller? - which locomotives? - which wagons?
The answers will be different depending on what you want to achieve: - a floor layout to be altered every evening by children. - a first model layout for a young teenager. - a beautiful scale model of your childhood railway station or the UP mainline between milepost 1234 and 1236 on the 1/1/2007.
Regards, Greg.P.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You ever hear of Kadee?
________
Steve the real
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Of course, but they don't look anything like real couplers. ;-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
" snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com" (really Curt masquerading as another of his sockpuppets) spake thus:
[nothing of value]
Peek-a-boo, Curt, we see you.
--
Don't talk to me, those of you who must need to be slammed in the
forehead with a maul before you'll GET IT that Wikipedia is a
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There's actually quite a few USA manufacturers, but certainly they don't make a complete line of products here.
I'll use an old favorite of mine: LaBelle http://www.labellemodels.com / makes wood freight car http://www.labellemodels.com/dhof.htm and passenger car http://www.labellemodels.com/dhop.htm and electric interurban http://www.labellemodels.com/dhot.htm kits. These very small manufacturers specialize in a few areas, and don't produce enough for production outside the USA. Those types of plants are set up to produce stuff by the thousand, and such companies as this have just a small market they satisfy, by making a few car types that no one else makes.
--
-Glennl
The despammed service works OK, but unfortunately
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
" snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com" wrote:

I would label those firms "cottage industries" rather than "manufacturers". It's probably a pedantic difference but I was orginally thinking in terms of Bachmann, Model Power, Lifelike ... Athearn?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg Procter wrote:

I understand what you are saying Greg, but MOST of the HO model production started as what you are referring to as 'cottage industries'. Often a 'sideline to an existing business, because the 'original' business's equipment could easily be used for the 'manufacturing' steps needed. Of the ones you listed "Bachmann, Model Power, Lifelike, Athearn", Athearn is the only "Real Model Railroad" company. The others are "Manufacturing operations" that have a significant 'model' output. Athearn has been gobbled up bu the 'Business interests' now, along with Model Die Casting and others. MDC started as a 'sideline' for a 'job casting outfit' in Los Angeles, Calif.
Chuck Davis
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charles Davis wrote:

I produce a few items for local modellers and get other items etched/manufactured by local industry - I certainly don't consider myself to be a "manufacturer"!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg Procter wrote:

snip
At that level, I don't think I would either.
BUT Just for instance, several of your 'friends' want to model a particular 'car/ loco/ building, whatever, and you find that you can get some parts made up, 10 ea. @ $6.00, or 50 ea. @ $1.00. You look at that, and go the 50 parts route. You find that you have 15 friends, and the rest of the parts sit in a box, on the shelf. This same pattern happens several times over the course of a couple of years. Another 'friend', while rummaging through your "junk", notes what's sitting there and suggest packaging the parts and making them available generally. Where is the line where you are 'suddenly' a manufacturer?
Chuck D.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charles Davis wrote:

How many New Zealand Railways standard type 2 station kits do you want? S, HO, TT or N scale? How many HO wheelsets? 11.08mm, 11.5mm diameter, disc, spoked, split spoked? etc.
I guess I'm a manufacturer rather than an artisan when I'm doing it full time - the NZ government sets a line at 5 employees and another at 40(?) employees. It's a matter of customer perception.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg Procter wrote:

snip
Where

Yeah! That world be a rather definite and easy point to use.
Say you put 25 hours a week int RR kits & associated, and you also happen to be doing 20 hours a week at something completely different, like say 'macrame' kits (your wife has a 'thing' for 'macrame' and you got roped in), and another 10 hours doing 'airplane' parts for friends (because you know how to do the parts), There is 55 hours (in the US we normally figure 40 hours is a 'normal' work week). Now none of the three things mentioned takes all your time, but you are surely working in excess of a 40 hour week. What's the call then? Just pointing that it's NOT a 'book' definition.
Chuck D.
- the NZ government sets a line at 5 employees and another at 40(?)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Meriam Webster defines a "manufacturer" as someone who manufactures. But, goes on to say, "especially: an employer of workers in manufacturing". So if you make enough to employ your self you qualify as a manufacturer.
Artisan:
1 : a worker who practices a trade or handicraft : CRAFTSPERSON 2 : one that produces something (as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods
A manufacturer could employ artisans.
Perhaps the M word conjures up some image that Greg doesn't care for? Perhaps someone who has seen some of Gregs "handicraft" will comment their impression of his artisanship?

--
The lotto must be rigged, I should have won by now.
Modular furniture is cruel and unusual.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Paul Newhouse wrote:

I don't, and I doubt that I'll ever make enough from my efforts to warrent the time I put into it. Of course I only offer those things I want myself so development time can be classed as hobby time. As I'm a retired production planner getting things produced isn't so difficult.

I spent a few student holidays acting as a part of the machinery on production lines - nowadays I either produce single items, masters or artwork for manufacturing processes. By the time I've turned 50 of something on the lathe or cast a stack of something I become certain I'm NOT going to be a manufacturer!

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charles Davis spake thus:

Actually, it's a distinction without a difference. If you manufacture something and sell it, you're a manufacturer. Doesn't matter if you make one or a million a year. You might be a tiny, micro-manufacturer, too small even to be a "small business", but a manufacturer nonetheless you be.
--
Don't talk to me, those of you who must need to be slammed in the
forehead with a maul before you'll GET IT that Wikipedia is a
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.