Best quality brand of N people, animals, and vehicles?

Taymar Jan 10, 2019

  1. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

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    Hi all, I'm looking to add a few people, animals (farm/pets) and vehicles to my layout. 1940s USA is the approximate period.

    I'd probably like a mix of prepainted and unpainted (figuring I'll paint the less visible ones myself). Are there any particular brands which seem to have the best molding and paint quality please?

    As for vehicles, I'd like a couple of cars, work trucks and such that'll fit somewhwere between 1920 and 1950. Ideally with moving wheels or at least easy to convert to moving wheels.

    Woodland scenics, noch, preiser etc. Are some I've looked at but I can't really tell much from the photos online.

    Thanks for any guidance!
     
  2. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Woodland Scenics offers a number of worker specific folks like carpenters, lumber jacks, fishermen, etc., in additional to passengers standing and sitting. Their animals are excellent and their scenes are fantastic. I have their scene of a graveside service in my church yard that features the workmen. grave diggers, fainting widow, preacher and a coffin and gravestones. The kneeling workmen and the fainting widow are due to the hands coming out of the coffin and one of the workmen are sitting on the coffin trying to keep it closed. Somebody at Woodland has a sense of humor. Their animal selection is excellent featuring various breeds of cattle and horses, and chickens, ducks, cats, and dogs. And they have a nice selection of railway workers. The quality of the figures are quite good. Preiser is next in line and I have their sheep, shepards, and sheep dogs. Another is TomyTec or Tomix who have a nice selection of nautical folks that come with several of their maritime structures.
     
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  3. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you John, this is a big help. Will pick up a couple of woodland scenics packs and go from there.
     
  4. rhoag74

    rhoag74 New Member

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    Look at "Showcase Miniatures" for vehicle options. They have a good selection of new and old vehicles and the kits are easy to build.
     
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  5. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

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    TRAINWORX TRUCKS ARE PERFECT. PRICEY? YES! TOTALLY WORTH IT. ATLAS CARS & TRUCKS, AS rhoag said, SHOWCASE MINIATURES. Those are kits.
     
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  6. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    Back 'in the day' you had only a couple alternatives; the Bachmann Blobs or Prieser (Germany) as well as Noch. There's at least a few more alternatives out there, both those had painting issues even if the actual German figures were pretty good. Model Power seemed to have the same Blob supplier as Bachmann. Some of the early Bachmann vehicles were just beyond terrible, some were actually surprisingly good if not for the wheels (VW bus). Wiking was the only decent N vehicle supplier for decades, and some of their stuff still is best of breed today.
    I'm pretty happy with Woodland Scenics stuff out of the box, about the only thing I'll do is a light weather wash on clothes and even faces to bring out detail and tone color down a hair. I think I have every Classic Metal Works vehicle that's appropriate for 1972.

    But I do have a favorite rule in N - never buy just by Brand. Because of the importer/manufacturer splits that have existed since the beginning of time, you can find trash and treasures everywhere, even under the same label. You'll find really nice stuff, and 'eh.' depending on when it was introduced, who actually made it, if it has been revised, etc. That applies a lot more to rolling stock than vehicles/people, but it's still true, you can find truly excellent and truly awful product under almost any label, depending on how old it is and where it was REALLY made. And don't look past the Japanese suppliers either, there's a lot of nice product out there that is completely adaptable. I got some really nice 'old style' Nissan pickups that look dandy on my 1970's layout, and the Kato 'box of Toyota Crown Sedans' is some of the nicest and most affordable product I've seen, even if slightly oversized, to load up auto racks with and stay affordable and light.

    I've done a lot of resin vehicles, although only a few have been successful enough to truly become foreground models, mostly because I still can't beat the painting quality of some of the RTR product out there like the Classic Metal Works stuff. But in the background, yeah they are everywhere in the summer traffic jam on Rt. 66 through Flagstaff in 1972.

    I have a good friend in N that models UP and has a big layout, and has it parallel with an interstate highway. He has so many vehicles that the 'final scheme' we cooked up was an accident on I-80 with the traffic backed up for miles (try about 20 actual feet) of solid bumper-to-bumper N vehicles. It's like the encyclopedia of N scale vehicles, packed all on one layout.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  7. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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  8. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

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    Very nice - thanks for the tips. I may reach out to rasputen for a few. The classic metal stuff looks great too. Showcase miniatures has several great vehicles, I just don't know that my paint skills will do it justice.

    I don't suppose any of these have rolling/rubber tires do they?

    Really solid advice here guys, thanks so much. Do any photos or video exist of that 20 foot traffic jam are there? Sounds like quite a sight!
     
  9. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    The cars still in their box are by Busch. the white ice truck is a mini metals . Little red coupe on the far left is Woodland Scenics that come with three teenagers and two buckets of water in the package called suds and shine. And the various construction equipment was either Model Power or Bachmann. Two of Kato's Toyotas are in front of the red coupe. The school bus came from a vender at a show along with the fire truck. All except the Kato Toyotas and the bulldozer have rolling wheels.

    Fine N Scale makes resin cast vehicles that need to be painted and have resin tires glued on and they sell them in packs of autos and trucks and panel vans by type and era. They also make the little tear drop trailers of the 30 and 40s. These are unfinished Fine N Scale vehicles on my unfinished ferry deck. Nice casting with very little clean up needed.
    And you can always make your own.
    Budget was tight had a good stock of styrene shapes, fine mesh screen. styrene tube and some lousy packs of cars i did not like that supplied some wheels, and other wheels came from plastic sheet material and a Tandy Leather punch with different size of punches.
     
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  10. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Today there are many fine vehicles available. So I will only address people. The European figures are exceptional and pricey and on my layouts always served as the foreground figures. Behind them were the 100s or even 1000s of figures bought from Chinese suppliers on eBay. Some were painted rather garishly; others came not painted and treated to a dark blue spray (for sailors) or just random colors for civilians. Sometimes I'd dab them with flesh for faces and hands, and brown for shoes, but when you have to model a big crowd, then the details get less demanding according to the distance from the camera. Many of the Chinese figures are more Z scale than N scale, but that may be my distorted cultural perspective.

    It all depends on what you want to portray. I had hundreds of cheap cows, painted brown, away from the foreground and a few nicely painted Guernsey or Jersey cows up front. Same with vehicles, the nice stuff up front, the mediocre stuff further back. I think it's worthwhile to invest in the nice models, but can't possibly populate a large layout without some compromises. I've bought hundreds of Z scale cars and small boats for my marine models; they work well when surrounded by other details, not so well when presented alone.
     
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  11. cfritschle

    cfritschle TrainBoard Member

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    If you are primarily interested in ready to use vehicles, the N Scale Vehicle Association has some 1:160 scale vehicle models sorted by era. (The NSVA does not sale anything, it is only a resource that promotes 1:160 scale vehicle models!)

    Here is the link to the models that represent prototype vehicles manufactured in the 1940s: http://nscalevehicles.org/resources/era_1940-1949.php

    Carter
     
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  12. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Are these suitable size for N scale??
    Size: Approx. 30mm (L) x 10mm (W) x 8mm (H)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  13. cfritschle

    cfritschle TrainBoard Member

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    Those appear to be Chinese architectural models that are typically sold on Ebay. I purchased a pack of 50 about 10 years ago. While I cannot tell if the ones I purchased are identical to the vehicles in your photo, the ones I have do appear to be somewhat similar.

    Here are some comparison photos that show the difference between a 1:160 scale model and the architectural models that I have.

    First one is a Kato 1:160 scale Toyota Crown with a similar Chinese architectural model.
    [​IMG]

    Next is a 1:160 scale Wiking Mercedes E Class with a similar Chinese architectural model.
    [​IMG]

    This one has a 1:160 scale Herpa BMW with a similar Chinese architectural model.
    [​IMG]

    And finally here is a 1:160 scale Kato Toyota Previa with a similar Chinese architectural model.
    [​IMG]

    I have seen the Chinese architectural models used on a lot of modules at train shows. They are definitely less expensive than most N scale vehicle models, but I am hesitant to use them on my layout. :unsure:

    Carter
     
  14. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Just divide the mm dimension by 1.905 and you'll be able to determine that yourself by the foot-inches dimension. So if the red car is 33 mm long, it translates to (33 / 1.905) about 17' 4" long. So it's appropriate for N scale.
     
  15. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    EWwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww :censored::eek:o_O

    Makes not ordering them an easy decision....:sick::sick::sick::sick::sick:


    Thanks Carter
     
  16. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    Taymar, email sent with those photos. I can't post them here because it's not my layout but you can gain an impression of the sheer size of the layout and the hundreds and hundreds of vehicles he has.
     
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  17. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks again all! the N Scale Vehicle Association site looks like a great resource. I've ordered some classic metal works models (pretty much only trucks/pickups so far) and am on the lookout for a few 40's cars now.

    Randgust - thanks a ton for the pics! Will check email when I get home.
     
  18. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Supporter

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    My CMW semis and trailers have rolling wheels.
    One thing to be careful of, British companies make Nscale vehicles, but their NScale is larger than ours. Look fine by themselves but are visibly overscale next to buildings or other autos.
     
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  19. cfritschle

    cfritschle TrainBoard Member

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    LOL! I only ordered them because I thought I might be able to use the chassis/wheels for upgrading some of my old Boyd and Bachmann vehicles from the late 1960s. However, since the package of 50 vehicles only cost $9.00 (including shipping from Hong Kong) I was not out much. ;)

    And, I did experiment with using the wheels and chassis from the architectural models, but then I "discovered" the Tomix wheels and chassis were a lot easier to work with. Some old Bachmann Cadillac Eldorados are shown below with Tomix wheels and chassis.

    [​IMG]

    I apologize for the thread drift since these models are way too new for a pre-1950 layout. :(

    Carter
     
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  20. cfritschle

    cfritschle TrainBoard Member

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    I have found one exception to the "rule" that 1:148 scale British vehicle models do not work well with 1:160 scale models. The prototype for the Oxford Jaguar SS is a "small" pre-WWII automobile. When Jaguar decided to market an automobile in the U.S. after WWII, they used the same styling they had used for the 1930s vehicle, but made it larger. Here is a photo of the 1:148 scale Jaguar SS with a 1:160 scale Rolls Royce. (Note: The Jaguar would probably look better with a little smaller wheels.)

    [​IMG]

    Now we are back on topic. :D

    Carter
     
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