Are you talking about their HO locos or their N scale locos? They make
FTs in N scale. If HO, then here are my thoughts.
Speaking only from a detailing perspective, if I put an Athearn "blue
box" F7, a, Intermountain F7, and an Athearn Genesis F7 on a table, I
can easily tell the difference among them from four feet away.
* The "blue box" Athearn F unit is the least impressive, with its too
flat roof, recessed nose door, large, square windshield windows, plastic
bumps for lift rings and handrails, and the odd molding boogers (those
little bumps that appear randomly on the side from worn-out tooling).
The grilles along the top edge of the sides don't look much like the
grilles on any production model F7s. The number boards have a lot of
taper cast into them to make them easier to mold. Unfortunately, it
keeps them from being the same shape as the prototype numberboards.
Everything but the too-flat roof can be corrected with some work and and
a handful of aftermarket parts. The truck sideframes are extremely nice.
* The Intermountain is considerably better looking- the roof is the
right shape, there are separate grabs and handrails, and separate lift
rings. The lift rings are HUGE and thick, however, as are the grabs and
handrails. The nose door is in the right place, and the number boards
look to be the right shape. The truck sideframes look very nice, but
something about them just doesn't look "as right" to me. The grilles
look much better than the "blue box" Athearn, as they are
separately-applied pieces. The new F3s which will be coming out will
have finer wire handrails, but I havn't seen one of them yet. They'll
also come with real Kadee couplers.
* The Athearn Genesis F unit has finer grabs and handrails than the
Intermountain F unit, the lift rings are MUCH less obvious, and it has
the same better-looking sideframes as the "blue box" Athearn. The roof
is the correct shape, and the nose is less angular, which strikes me as
looking more like a real F unit. The big thing that this unit has over
the Intermountain F unit visually is the finer grabs, handrails and lift
rings. As a minus, the couplers Athearn includes are still those lousy
plastic jobbies with the plastic "finger" for a knuckle spring, just
like on the "blue box" F7.
The only things that jump out at me on the Intermountain F units I've
seen as being superior to the Genesis unit (again speaking only from a
detail point of view), is that they got the shape of the handrails
closer to the prototype than Athearn did, and, as delivered, the
Intermountain unit comes with better couplers and in a greater number of
paint schemes currently. The more accurately-shaped handrails come at
the cost of much heavier-looking handrails, though.
I've never run an Intermountain F unit on its own drive, so I can't
really compare its mechanical qualities to any of the others. I have
half a dozen Genesis F units and have been quite happy with their
performance. They've been smooth runners and pulled anything I've put
behind them. Then again, I typically have double-headed F units on a
15-25 car train, which one unit would pull easily.
Nearly all of the detail shortcomings I perceive between the
Intermountain and the Athearn Genesis can be corrected by applying
aftermarket parts to the Intermountain F unit, but given that its price
is within five dollars of the Genesis F unit, I'd tend to go with the
Genesis unit and save myself the work if I had to choose between the two
brands in the same paint scheme.
Webmaster, Rails on Wheels, Washtenaw County, Michigan's HO
Modular Club, at http://www.railsonwheels.com
The address in the header of this message is deliberately bogus to
foil address-harvesters. See my web sites for my real address.
On Fri, 06 Feb 2004 06:38:05 -0500, Fritz Milhaupt wrote:
=> I=>can easily tell the difference among them from four feet away.
You must be using binoculars :-)
(4 ft = 348 HO ft, or more than a football field.)
If you didn't want to go to Chicago, why did you get on this train?
<just one w and plain ca for correct address>
Actually a knowledgeable viewer can spot the out of scale details on the IM
units from most angles from a lot more than four feet and an Athearn "blue
box" F unit from just about any distance that you can begin to see the
details. If you replace the out scale plastic details, fix the fit of the
windshields, and fill the excess open space behind the grills the IM F unit
will look quite similar to a Genesis F. The Genesis has some shortcomings
too but they are less visible. As far as running quality the Genesis and IM
are about the same. The IM starts at a slightly lower voltage though.
Compared to the Stewart/Kato F drive the smooth running is about the same
and both are quieter than the S/K.
Lift rings are mounted on the roof of removable panels on diesels so that
the roof panel can be aremoved to gain access to whet ever is underneath.
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