I've just started in HO after a long hiatus. What are people's opinions on IHC locos in general and their new Hudson's they are advertizing in the mags. The free 080 switcher with this purchase seems like a great deal unless they are junk.
Some general remarks about IHC engines: IHC engines vary in detail/prototype fidelity, and most roadnames don't fit the engines. Mechanically, they are OK for small layout use, but not durable enough for club or exhibition layout use. Some people have used them as a basis for kitbashing and detailing, and appear to be satisfied. I find them to be "acceptable quality", not up to the standard of Proto 2000 or Athearn. The nitpickers and "I'm paying good money so I want perfection" crowd will tell you they aren't any good. Going by past experience, the Hudson will be an acceptable quality engine IMO. Price/qulaity ratio of IHC engines is good: if you want better quality, you'll pay more, but not all higher priced engines are that much better than IHC.
One a scale of 1-10 I rate: Model Power: 3 Bachmann: 4 Bachmann Spectrum: 5-8 IHC: 6-7 Athearn: 7-8 Proto 2000: 8-9 MDC/Roundhouse kits: 4-7 (depending on when they were made) Mantua/Tyco kits: 5-7 (Model Power is re-releasing these in upgraded versions, but I have no experience with these upgraded versions.)
Note that IHC's 2-6-0 was originally marketed by Pemco. It was the first mass-produced plastic steam engine, and it was and is a sweet little engine. It started the ramping up of plastic steam engine quaility, and has been surpassed, but its price/quality ratio is still hard to beat.
Final note: if you are going for big steam, plan on 30" radius mninimum for looks, 24" for reliable operation.
Thanks for your very complete info. I meant to ask about curves but forgot in my initial post. Since my current layout is small with 18" curves, I think I'll stick to smaller engines. But for future reference, your information was very useful.
I have a pair of IHC moguls (2-6-0) which are quite satisfactory. The price is reasonable, the level of detail is acceptable, and the mechanism runs smoothly at low speed. IHC is a good price/performance tradeoff. There are nicer steam locomotives out there but they cost more. My IHC's have been very satisfying locomotives. My Moguls came with bright nickel plated tender wheels. Painting them grimy black improved the looks considerable. It is possible to fit a working front coupler with some Dremel work on the pilot. The other IHC steamers appear to be similar to the Moguls in terms of price and performance.
"Note that IHC's 2-6-0 was originally marketed by Pemco. It was the first mass-produced plastic steam engine, and it was and is a sweet little engine. It started the ramping up of plastic steam engine quaility, and has been surpassed, but its price/quality ratio is still hard to beat."
I believe the Pemco 2-6-0s had a tender drive. The IHC units which are made by Mehano use their body casting with a new chassis. The IHCs run a lot better.
It's not a bad starting point for a NYC loco. MR also did an article in
1996 for converting them in a B&M mogul.
Boston & Maine 2-6-0 no. 1438 Model Railroader, January 1996 page 166.
The 0-8-0 is a USRA 0-8-0 with grossly oversize drivers. 60" vs the prototypes 51" It's the IHC 2-8-0 with the leading truck circumcised. The 2-8-0 is a good starting point for a NYC G-6. It needs the second[rear] sand dome removed and the cab lengthened forward to match the G-6s silhouette. A few details need to be added or upgraded.
"It was the first mass-produced plastic steam engine" ????
When did this come out? I can't recall any Pemco stuff before the mid
1980's. Rivarossi was making mass produced plastic (mostly) HO steam locos in the mid 1950's (at least, I have a European prototype 0-6-0T side tanker from about 1956). Even Athearn had plastic steamers, IIRC, in the 1960's.
Um, er, yup, Rivarossi did just what you claim. You're right, Pemco was not the first. But I think a case could be made that it was the first in a long and continuing line of ever improving models. It raised the bar, and we've all benefited from Pemco's pioneering efforts.
Early Rivarossis IMO were not nearly as good as the Pemco effort - oversized flanges, execrable mechs, and odd variations detail standards/levels. I wanted Rivarossi locos, but never bought any, because of those flaws. The most recent Rivarossi efforts however are very good - and they show the effect of Pemco's 2-6-0, which raised the standard for mass produced steam locos IMO.
The Athearn Pacific which you allude to was a failure. Pity, as it had a decent body casting, which would have made it a very good base for modifying and detailing.
I've been using IHC Premier Consolidations on a club layout, running two-three hour shifts on freights. They are not up to the detial of engines that cost ten times as much, but run most reliably. I've had less luck with some second-hand Pacifics and Mikados.
Interesting - with Mozilla, I get an "internal server error", after the pages has apparently opened, and all kinds of stuff is supposedly downloading. The error page indicates the server is powered by Apache, but I doubt that's the issue. I suspect a redesign of the website, and some dumb little coding error somewhere, either generated by some automated html code writing program, or by a sleepy programmer.
Maybe IHC is using Frontpage, which is known to generate errors.