[HO] Life-Like vs Trainline train sets

Whats the quality of Life-Like train sets, now that Walthers has acquired Life-Like? Are they on par with Walthers "Trainline" sets?
Im especially wondering about the reliability of the locos. ____ Mark
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Mark Mathu wrote:

In the past, Walthers hasn't been consistent in piecing these sets, so mold quality of cars, loco shells, truck frames can and does vary. Mechanically, they are about the same as Trainline, with knuckle couplers and metal wheels. Trainline sets have also been inconsistent, some have appeared with Proto 1000 locos in them. Both lines have had some quality improvement in loco mechanisms. Just what this year's crop is like is not yet clear.
All in all, I would say the two grades are comparable - above average as toys, good as starter sets, or for someone to try out the hobby.
HTH
--
Wolf Kirchmeir

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Thanks.. mechanical qualities was my big concern. My young nephews have just reached the age where their interest in their uncle's train layout in the basement is going to turn into a set of their own for Christmas. I'm thinking of a Trainline locomotive as the basis for their layout (nothing more delicate than that - they are still pre-teen boys), but I was wondering if the newest Life-Like locos were a step up from what their reputation used to be. Some of the Life-Like sets are pretty reasonably priced, at least relative to the Trainline sets. I haven't looked into the quality of the power packs offered by each, however.
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: : > All in all, I would say the two grades are comparable - above average as : > toys, good as starter sets, or for someone to try out the hobby. : : Thanks.. mechanical qualities was my big concern. My young nephews have : just reached the age where their interest in their uncle's train layout in : the basement is going to turn into a set of their own for Christmas. I'm : thinking of a Trainline locomotive as the basis for their layout (nothing : more delicate than that - they are still pre-teen boys), but I was wondering : if the newest Life-Like locos were a step up from what their reputation used : to be. Some of the Life-Like sets are pretty reasonably priced, at least : relative to the Trainline sets. I haven't looked into the quality of the : power packs offered by each, however. :
If it's the flat red box with a name like "Freight Flyer" and the loco has a 3500 series road number, or the box hypes all the buildings, telephone poles, etc., included with the set it's generally the same old "Toys-R-Us" junk with the 'pancake' motor locos.
If the set has a Proto1000 loco included, it's generally of comparable quality to the Trainline sets. In fact, Walthers has started putting P1K locos in some Trainline sets.
My suspicion is Walthers will slowly phase out the junk sets and focus on affordable starter sets with P1K and Trainline locos. Beginners are more likely to stay in the hobby, and buy more product, if the set comes with a loco that can pull more cars than those that come in the set.
Len
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Mark Mathu wrote:

The Proto 1000/2000 series of Lifelike are mo longer branded as such by Walthers. LifeLike offered sets with these and upgraded cars for a while. Walthers has discontinued those AFAIK.
The _current_ Lifelike Sets do have horn-hook couplers - I mistakenly said otherwise. They include "Powerloc" track - it has a plastic ballast base, which reduces the uptake of fluff and pet dander into loco mechanisms when the layout is assembled on the floor. Motors have been upgraded, and are OK. But I would go with Trainline.
BTW, Bachmann's are good sets for your purposes, too. I know people wil disagree, but those are the types who haven't looked at Bachmann for years, because early Bachmann stuff was pretty bad.
HTH
--
Wolf Kirchmeir

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Walthers has started introducing knuckle-couplers in their Life-Like branded sets this year. Many of the exisitng horn-hook versions are being phased out. I do not think they substantially changed anything mechanically other than the couplers with these sets, but they have introduced new models this year. While I prefer the Trainline sets over them, many kids love the LL sets because they come with lots of "stuff".
Benefits of the Trainline sets - They come in versions that either use Atlas Code 100 track or Bachmann EZ Track, typically a P1K loco, an MRC power pack, body mounted couplers, and metal wheels. There are some variations as indicated in earlier posts, so you have to check the details and/or ask questions before buying.
In addition to Walthers and Bachmann, Atlas and Athearn also make some nice HO sets worth looking at.
Paul trainsetsonly.com
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On Mon, 10 Nov 2008 22:09:40 -0800 (PST), autobus snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Looking for an under the tree oval, I picked up a Bachmann non-DCC Spectrum 2-8-0, three passenger cars, a circle of 22" radius and four 9" straights, for $99 from Trainworld. Time to cut out a hole in the middle of a piece of plywood, cover it with an inch of foam, and plop the tree down in the middle. Wonder how the cats will respond - they generally leave the tree very much alone, but they've never seen a train on the floor.
--
Steve

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Steve Caple wrote:

I use the top of a plastic patio table. Built a low framework of 2x2 legs and 1x2 braces to slide into the leg holes. The top is 42" in diameter, just big enough for a 36" diameter circle.
HTH
--
Wolf Kirchmeir

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On Tue, 11 Nov 2008 08:57:08 -0500, Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:

Well, not too much - it's a 45 x 63 oval of 22" radius. I'm not about to buy any more of that E-Z Track stuff to get an 18" radius circle!
I may decide to go for a 1x3 frame and 1x2 cross braces to support 1/8" Masonite with an inch of foam over. Thinking of post-season storage, I'll probably make it in two slightly assymetrical pieces, with the split roughly under the middle of where one of the 9" straights would be, clamp it together, lay the track and fasten down all of it except the 9" straights over the join. Add a few soft rubber pads along the bottom edge to protect the floor.
--
Steve

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On Tue, 11 Nov 2008 00:20:16 -0800, Steve Caple wrote:

They freaked! Not quite as much as when we got that live lobster-gram and we gave them a chance to chase the bug around the kitchen floor, but freaked all the same. Good kitty!
--
Steve

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How old were your cousins?
I ended up my 9- and 7-year-old nephews an Atlas Trainman set, a little higher ended than I first anticipated http://www.atlastrainman.com/HOLoco/tmhotrainset1.htm
I am already having nightmares about all of the fixed items that theyll be putting on the track in front of the GP38-2. But maybe if I point out that these are the same brand locos that their Uncle Mark has on his train set, maybe (just maybe) the engine will get a little respect. The 9- year old does seem to be the one who takes a greater interest in my layout, so that bodes well for the locomotive.
Im still not sold on the merits of the True-Track which is included in the set, since grandpa is making a 4x8 table as part of the deal so the engine wont be operated on carpet.
Walthers has a Starter Set of additiona track I figure if I spoil my nephews with the additional track and two switches in that set, they will at least have a good start on a set they can rearrange in a buch of different configurations. http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/150-488
Maybe in a year or so, Uncle Mark can help them turn the set into the beginning of a permanent layout. But I guess that will have to be their call its their train, not mine. ____ Mark
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w:
I think I know which Life-Like motors you're talking about...they're an open-frame motor with a plastic brush holder, not much like a DC60 at all. MDC used the same motor in some kits over the years. It's not a very good one.
Your Penn Line Atlantic has a DC60. You can make it work really well for $2, with no machining at all.
Measure the motor magnet. Now buy some NdFeB rare earth magnets that will stack into the same sized cube, magnetized in the appropriate direction. Remove the DC60's magnet, and replace it with the stack of new magnets. You will be amazed at the results, and it will cost you about $2 for the magnets.
Here's an example of a similar upgrade to a Mantua PM-1. Despite the smaller size needed to clear the field screw, the magnet has much greater strength...in fact, it can completely overpower the Alnico, and "stick" to either pole.
http://s19.photobucket.com/albums/b191/autobus_prime/rr/PM1-NdFeB.jpg
A similar Mantua 0-6-0, which could barely drag itself around, and drew an amp running free, went to .32A running free, .52A full slip, with plenty of power and the ability to go from a barely perceptible creep to 60 SMPH on a plain-Jane transistor throttle, no pulse power.
Here's the Trains.com thread where I talked about it: http://cs.trains.com/trccs/forums/p/131024/1472782.aspx#1472782
Here are the magnets I used: http://www.kjmagnetics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=B842
The Penn Line drive was a good one, and your DC60's lack of power makes me suspect a weakened magnet. This new magnet will improve it well beyond the original specs. My experimenting seems to suggest that the 1/2 x 1/4 cross section provides pretty close to the optimum field strength for our typical open-frame motors.
This is such an easy and cheap fix that I'm surprised it hasn't taken our hobby by storm.
Cordially yours: Gerard Pawlowski President, a plywood world with dime store trees.
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autobus snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I was just thinking of picking up whatever at a train show. <snip>

Yeah, well, shorting out doesn't run very well at all.

I'll have to remember to look at doing that, when I get a damn track up that I can at least run in a circle on. Right now, it's semi-kinda-tabled in the back (cat) room, and right now I'm madly jobhunting, and there's a good possibility I may have to move halfway across the friggin' continent for the *fifth* time, this time to the DC area from here in Chi-town.... <snip> I really dislike the shorting, though.
mark
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m:
Is the armature shorted, then?
That's usually a plain old no-go thing. What's the loco doing?
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autobus snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Haven't played with it in months, but what would happen would be that it looked like it would run if the boiler wasn't on it, I'd put the boiler on, and if I pushed it, most of the time it ran, but I couldn't get it to run by just turning up the power alone.
I've already taken some plastic that comes under a shirt collar and fitted it on the side of the frame that the insulated axles are on. I've put some in the shell, over the motor.
etc. etc.
mark
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human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is
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The ones I saw at Toys R Us last Friday weren't very impressive. Cheaply made and they still had those awful horn-hook couplers. All Walthers did was slap "Division of Walthers" underneath the Life-like logo.
From what I've heard, Walthers has remotored the Trainline locomotives, so I don't know how they fair in quality. The old ones had a lot of torque and could pull many cars. (In my experiments, they seem to pull at least double what the average locomotive pulls.)
Now Bachmann made a set that impressed me. For about $250, you got a DCC equiped locomotive, EasyDCC system, and their standard complement of cars with knuckle couplers. I think they even had metal wheels.
Puckdropper
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To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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Mark Mathu wrote:

The Life-Like sets still (for the most part) have the cheep LL steel track. The Trainline comes with Atlas or Bachman N/S.
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