EMD Trainman's G scale News & Reviews

EMD trainman Nov 4, 2008

  1. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Hi to all again, I will be using to thread from now on to post all the up to date G scale news, up and coming G scale train shows and events while also sharing some reviews on products I bought along with what problems I had or didn't have. All others are more than welcome to post any of the above also. I will be moving all of my older threads from my main post to here so it will be easier to research for everyone.
     
  2. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    My 1st product review

    Note: my product reviews is soley my opinion and not necessarily fact but is based on real life daily operations on my model layout indoors only with track voltage.

    I will put my last locomotive purchase up for review, I recently bought 2 USA SD-50 locomotives to pull a total of 20 cars, 10 55ft tank cars and 10 55ft center flow hopper cars. So far they held up very well and pull the train with no problems. The first thing I noticed is they use a different power truck than there SD40-2, the drive wheels are bigger and they uses 2 motors per power truck rather than 1 motor like ths SD40-2. These untis seem to have better motors as they draw less amps per loco than the SD40-2 even though they have 1 more motor per power truck. Power is smooth thru out, even starting slowly, the lights almost instantly come on as soon as power is on and the ditch lights are LED and flash at low speeds, they are also made to flash when a sound unti is installed. These 2 units are big power houses, I really believe 1 of these could pull 100 cars with no problem, but haven't tried it. The traction on these locomotives are great.These massive locomotives however need the biggest curve you can give them, I run them on the smallest diameter recomended which is 8ft, they would seem much happier running on 20ft but I don't have that kinda room. The one problem I ran into when running on 8ft diameter curves you have to install a special coupler attachment which is included in the locomotive box, well I noticed even with this feature installed the trailing locomotive was throwing my tank cars and centerflow cars off the track. I noticed this was due to the USA tank and Centerflow cars have diecast metal trucks and don't give like the USA plastic trucks. So I made a articulated coupler to attach to the trailing locomotive and it works perfect on these tight 8ft curves, I highly recommmend these locomotives for modern railroading but you will need some serious power behind them such as the MRC 15 amp or Bridgewerks Mag 1000L 15 amp transformer, I personally like the Bridgewerks better due to its pure DC power. I will be purchasing the USA Rio Grande Heritage series next.
     

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  3. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    My 2nd review - SD40-2

    Note: These reviews are soley my opinion and may not be factual based but the review reflects actual daily use in my Railroad operations. The reason I say may not be based on actual facts is that I don't take into consideration any other reviews by magazines or other online forums nor do I use facts by the manufacturer. I buy the product, take it out of the box and see what problems I have and how it performs on my railroad in my applications I give it. All track grades are level. Track used is Aristocraft brass track with 8ft diameter curves, USA knuckle couplers are used and NOT hook and loop.

    Now that I explained myself, on to my next review, the USA trains SD40-2. I actually bought three of these USA SD40-2 units to use as a triple header for my 20 car string of 50ft box cars and 50ft reefer cars. I bought these units 3 or 4 years ago when they first came out, they are 12 wheel drive with an articulated power truck system having 1 motor per truck. The amperage draw per locomotive is very high, especially when pulling a long train. They all have the constant lighting feature and yellow working strobe lights on top of the cabs. This model however is a hate or love model, either you hate it or love it due to many things. Due to the small drive wheels the track has to be perfect with hardly no dips, buckles, or slight drop in track height, especially in the curves or the front section of the articulated power truck will derail, I run indoors, so this is not a problem factor for me. I suggest running these locomotives on a code 332 track such as Aristocraft brass to help with the outside derail problem with hilmans rail clamps, running a code 250 track would not be recomended. Although there are traction tires on these locmotives, I'm always losing traction in the curves which are 8ft diameter on my layout, I don't have this problem with the USA SD-50 which has bigger drive wheels. I have already used 3 sets of traction tires on all 3 units so to help out this problem I converted all rolling stock on that train to Roller bearing wheels which helped out alot. Due to the massive amounts of amps these units require I suggest running a Bridgewerks Mag 1000DL 15 amp 24 volt controller just to run such a lash up and believe me that 1 transformer is dedicated to only those 3 locomotives and it eats just about all of the power that transformer has. The USA SD-50 uses way less amps per locomotive and has 1 more motor per truck. Since I run indoors I really have low track maintenance to perform before running these locomotives, but when running outside due to heat expansion and cold contraction, you have to chack and make sure all track sections are just about even. All in all even though I used 3 sets of traction tires and had to get a dedicated transformer, these locomotives have run pretty much flawless for me with low maintenance due to I run inside. I really think if these units had the SD-50 trucks under them they would be a more reliable unit outdoors. These locomotives also come with a 8ft diameter coupler feature you have to install, even with that feature installed I still had to loosen the srew on the knuckle coupler on the first car so it would swivel in the curve, this was so the trailing locomotive wouldn't throw off the 1st car it was hooked to in a curve.
     

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  4. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    My 3rd review - the F3-A and F3-B units

    Note: The reviews written here are soley based on my opinion on how a locomotive runs and performs on my layout on a daily operation right out of the box with no modifications made.

    Todays review is on the USA F3-A and F3-B, the F3-A is sold seperately or you can buy the F3-A and F3-B as a matched set. I decided to buy 2 F3-A / F3-B sets back in 2001 when they first came out. Yes, I run a F3 ABBA lash up in G scale and this is the star attraction and favorite train for all who come to visit. This train has ran 10 hours per weekend every week for the last 7 years and let me tell you, they are the most dependable locomotives I ever owned. They all still have the original rubber tires, pick up shoes and motors still in them which still run great. There is some slight axle bushing wear in the side truck frames cause there is a slight axle wobble to a couple of these locomotives, but count the hours up. All of the F3-A units have constant lighting systems and all have a working back up light. This is the one train I can actaully turn on and walk away from it and not have to worry about break downs. I have the Rio Grande units of course and USA captures the correct color and pin stripping on these units. Even though I run a ABBA lash up, amperage draw is really low and the pulling power is great. I pull 8 40ft box cars, 2 40ft Reefer cars and 10 USA ultimate series tank cars (not the 55ft ones). The train looks awesome especially rounding a corner. There are like with any model a couple of downfalls. There is no smoke generator protection device on these units, so if you run out of fluid while running, plan on buying another smoke generator. There is a warning sheet in the box you should pay attention to. You can't pick these locomotives up from the sides, they are way to fragile and must be lift from underneath. The fine mesh grille used on the F3-A and B units will break if you try and lift it any other way. All in All the USA F units are my 5 star pick of all locomotives that I currently own.
     
  5. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Comparing 1:29 scale ratio manufacturers

    Before I move on to my next review, I would like at this time to compare 2 different manufacturers of G scale trains. Since how I model in a 1:29 ratio G scale there are 2 major manufacturers of commercial ready to run G scale trains. They are USA Trains and Aristocraft and here I will shortly describe the differences, advantages and disadvantages.

    We will go thru the USA trains first
    All USA locomotives use a "shoe" multipickup system except for the EMD NW-2 and the Alco S-2, the biggest advantage is that you ever rarely loose contact if you are using track power. The disadvantage is the if you are a purist railroader this would not do since how real locomotives don't use pick up shoes. In my application, it's a perfect situation since I use track power and you never see them anyway since how the railroad is ground level. All USA locomotives use a power trac system with rubber tires except for the same locomtives listed above. The advantage is that you get more traction with less weight on the locomotive, again the disadvantage is seeing rubber tires on a locomotive in which ground level you never notice them. The switches are located underbody, this is good for and wiring issues but bad if you use track power and need to turn locomotives off, I have accustomed myself now and can turn off any loco without taking it off the track, it can be done. The USA EMD model locomotives use a articulated power truck system, the advantage is the the power trucks have more flexibilty of floating thru switches better, the disadvantage is that the curves have to be perfectly level and have no bumps.

    Now for the Aristocraft locomotives

    Aristocraft trains don't use shoe pickups, they soley rely on getting current from the drive wheels, the advantage is you don't see those sighlty pick up shoes at eye level,the disadvantage is that you have to constantly clean your track if running track power. The Aristocraft trains also don't use and traction tires, but they are heavily weighed down. The advantage is that you don't see rubber tires on a locomotive, the disadvantage is that due to the heavier weight, it limits to what you can pull in a sting of cars. The Aristocraft locomotives have the switches at the tp under a cover, this may make it easier to find, but after some time of taking the cover off and on, the paint eventually chips, battery power or DCC would eliminate that problem, but out of my budget. Speaking of DCC Aristocraft locomotives have a plug and play sound system feature and also a DCC hook up. The Aristocraft SD-45 don't have articulated trucks which makes it more realistic, but doesn't have alot of give in a switch.
     
  6. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Todays review - SD-45

    The opinion in this review is soley my own and is based upon taking a locomtive out of the box and running it on a dialy operation basis for a long term duration under my own conditions that I give it.

    Before we get started, magazines and forum reviews are usually based on a very short term use of a locomotive and I review them usually after 1 year of use or more.

    I bought 2 new Aristocraft SD-45 locomotives when they first came out, after many huge delays they finally showed up. The graphics are crisp and clear, the detailing is great, having switches at the top was a nice feature at first, but I noticed after some use, the paint started to chip in this area. The locomotives featured constant lighting and plug n play features for a easy install of DCC and a sound system. The first thing I noticed was how much heavier these locomotives were in comparison to my USA locomotives, but this was due to Aristocraft does not use a power trac system, rather they use weight. Even with the extra weight, amperage draw was pretty reasonable, but this kept me from running a long string of trains. I would say after about 2 months of running I started having durability problems with these locomotives, one or the other would just quit running, they would loose total track power, tearing each about at many times checking wires and such, the break downs were terrible. I took the motor blocks apart in desperation and applied dielectric grease to all of the pick up axles, this helped some. So I went to a forum for tech advice only to find out the earlier SD-45 models such as the Rio Grande locomotives that I bought were made with plastic worm gears, Aristocraft made the later road names with brass gears, but if I wanted mine to be converted, they would charge me. After running these units for 1 year, between the constant break downs and the plastic worm gear situation, these units just did not work out for me in my track powered layout situation, maybe perhaps they would have done better in a battery powered DCC situation, very disappointed in the performance and durability I decided to sell them both on ebay
     
  7. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Bad luck and Manufacturer preference

    There are those who are die hard Dodge lovers, Chevy lovers and Ford lovers, then there are those who don't care what they drive as long as they are cheap. Well I"m a die hard Dodge lover and only because I had good luck with them and the same with USA train locomotives, they have been so dependable and reliable for me. Don't get me wrong, I tried other manufacturers, but then my luck seems to change for the worse. Today I want to compare my luck between USA train locomotives and Aristocraft locomotives without trying to bash any particular company, again we all have our choice and luck with the companies we have chosen and like. It seems like any time I tried an Aristocraft locomotives, I always seem to have the first out of the factory problem child. Like for example the Aristocraft SD-45 locomotives, The road name Rio Grande was one of the first production models and I had terrible problems with it, then Aristocraft used a inferior plastic worn gear drive and later switched on other roadnames to a brass worm gear, but then I heard people complain of gear noise I also kept losing track power to the locomotives. This wasn't my first Aristocraft problem child. I bought a new Mikado 2-8-2 also in the Rio grande name and also was the first production run. Again I had major running problems, the locomotive kept losing track power, I was seeing sparks fly out from under the locomotive, the motor block kept jamming up, it was a complete disaster. Then I went to a certain forum for help and posted my problems and the responses I got back were made at me like I was a complete idiot. I sold the locomotive on e-bay in disgust, the e-bayer ended up being a die hard Aristocraft guy. He e-mailed me back stating I was right and that particular locomotive should have went back to Aristocraft in exchange for a new one, he said the running gear in the motor blocks were never squared, there were wires chaffing inside which is why I saw sparks and the motor in the motor block, the windings tested out poorly. That was the last Aristocraft locomotive I ever bought and probably will buy ever again. I sold the Mikado at $100 at a whooping $350 loss. My first Aristocrafft locomotive were the FA units. They ran fine until they got hot and stopped dead in there tracks. Being a truck mechanic, I made 4 red lines on each wheel on each power truck, when in motion you should not see thses lines until the wheels stopped, one at a time as the units warmed up, the wheels stopped moving until the F ABA units stopped completely, I had to tear each locomotive down and found the power trucks were over shimed, I took one shim out of each axle for each truck per unit and my problems stopped. There was only one Aristocraft locomotive I ever owned I never had a problem with and thats my little ones 2-8-0 and it has the old style motor block that everyone complained about how it made the locomotive waddle like a duck going down the track. I don't know about the new 2-8-0 with the Mikados gear box in it, but this old version 2-8-0 has taken a big beating and keeps going. I'm not promoting or demoting, to each there own, I just wanted to share my experiences since getting into G scale back in 2000.
     
  8. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Hillmans railclamps being produced again

    Hi,
    I heard from some people that Hillmans rail clamps went out of buisness. Well, not to worry, Hillmans rail clamps just sold the company and all products will be continued to be produced. Hillmans rail clamps was sold. The hillmans rail clamp site is still up and runing for right now and soon will be transfered to the new owner.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2009
  9. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Rolling Stock USA VS Aristocraft

    You will see me make many comparisons to USA trains and Aristocraft only because I model in 1:29 scale. There are many other makes of G scale trains but I will mainly discuss USA Trains and Aristocraft who are the primary manufacturers or 1:29 scale. Lets start out with Aristocraft rolling stock, there are two different types of Aristocraft rolling stock, the Delton Series which is 1:24 scale and the regular Aristocraft freight cars at 1:29 scale. We will be discussing the regular Aristocraft series, the first thing you will notice is a price difference between USA Trains and Aristocraft. Aristocraft is cheaper due to they don't come with metal wheels. They did however for a short time in the past but switched back to plastic wheels. The main reason I believe is that it gives you the chance to buy the correct profile wheels to match the profile track you are using. This is due primarily to how deep the flanges are on your wheels. This is highly important since if you use a wheel that has very deep flanges on a code 250 track, the freight car could come off track and derail at a switch due to hitting the frog in the switch. So if you were to take a Aristocraft freight car that has metal wheels made for their track which is code 332 and try to run it on a code 250 track you may have problems in the switches or even hitting railroad ties. Another advantage Aristocraft rolling stock has is they use spring loaded trucks with simulated brake shoes. Some of the newer aristocraft rolling stock even has rotating wheel bearing caps. Some outside G scale modelers like the sprung loaded trucks due to they absorb more shock of uneven tracks due to ground changing situations. Since how I model inside, there is no real advantage for me. When you add the $12 to $15 for metal wheels, USA Trains and Aristocraft are about the same price. USA Trains also has two different series of rolling stock, the Ultimate series which is 1:29 scale and the American series which is 1:24 scale. All USA Ultimate series trains come standard with metal wheels for use on code 332 track. Some people who can't use these types of wheels will sell them on ebay to recover some of the money spent. The usa trains don't have sprung trucks which to me don't make a difference. The USA trains 55ft tank cars and 55ft centerfow cars use a metal diecast truck with rotating bearing caps. USA now offers diecast replacement trucks with rotating bearing caps for the older rolling stock, but I decided not to replace them all due to expense and you never really notice them when they are on the ground anyway. Rotating bearing cap trucks are great if you have an elevated railroad, other than that its a waste. The USA trains rolling stock is alot more detailed, but also alot more fragile. The centerflow hopper cars especially are fragile and catch any uneven track with the hoppers on the bottom, USA should have raised them up a little more. The USA 55ft tank cars are very durable but are made of aluminum so you will need some pulling power for a string of those. The USA double door box cars are very fragile, I had to repair mine a couple of times, so I don't open the doors any more. The single door box cars have held up well. The USA caboose has lighted interior with a rear flashing red light while my Aristocraft caboose has laterns instead. The older version Aristocraft box cars did not use realistic cat walks on top, but to compete with USA trains they finally came out with the more realistic cat walks. As discussed in a previous thread, Aristocraft didn't always use realistic road numbers until a couple of years ago. USA trains uses realistic road numbers, but are usually sequential numbers such as #3344, #3345, #3346 for example. Some people didn't like that because they said you never really saw sequential numbered cars together like that. So Aristocraft took it to the next step such as #3344, #3381, #3396 for example.

    Bottom line, in my opinion the USA trains rolling stock are better due to having more detail although some may be more fragile. I do buy Aristocraft trains when that particular freight car is not available from USA trains. USA trains has more road names available per freight car over Aristocraft per freight car in some applications. I just bought a Aristocraft 53ft double door evans box car, it's nice but not as detailed as my LGB America Railbox car and the doors on the Aristocraft don't open, which I didn't mind since how double doors seem to be more fragile.
     
  10. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    LGB going crazy at auction

    I am a usual visitor at ebay, mainly just to look for old discontinued USA trains items. I was shock just to see how riduculously high in price these LGB trains were going for. For example there was a Rio Grande 2 bay hopper in black with a coal load, I bought this item for $50 back in 2000, at the time I visited ebay that same item was at $150 and the auction still was not over. Before you go out spending that kind of money on a discontinued train, make sure no other manufacturer might make it. Aristocraft will be coming out with their own version of a 2 bay hopper car soon, I would wait and buy that one before spending that kind of money for the discontinued LGB version. Another train manufacturer who went out of buisness called MDC or Model Diecast Company also made G scale in 1:24 scale and they also made 2 bay hopper cars. You can still find them new at a train show once in a while but the price finally fell to what they were back in the day.
     
  11. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    USA Trains EMD SD-70 review revisted

    I wanted to try and put some pictures to my USA SD-70 locomotive review to try and clear up some confusion, so we are revisiting my USA SD-70 review in this thread.

    Picture #1 one of two of the USA SD-70 locomotives I own and run as a double header.

    Picture #2 As you can seethese USA SD-70 locomotives are huge, they are almost as long as the USA F3A and F3B put together which is why you better have at least 8ft diameter curves for these monters, but if you can swing it I would highly suggest bigger diameter curves such as 10ft which would eliminate alot of modifications you have to make to the locomotive to run on 8ft curves. When you buy these USA SD-70 locomotives they are set up for 10ft diameter and up curves. You have to install the 8ft diameter curve kit couplers which are included with the locomotive.

    Picture #3 is the USA SD-70 articulated power truck system, there are two pick ups, two wheels with rubber tires and two regular steel wheels. You will notice that the front of the truck is articulated and swings for ease into curves and switches. For those who are purist and say the trucks are realistic should visit EMD locomotive train site at www.emdiesels.com . EMD locomotive manufacturing is still around and they designed a full floating power truck for their locomotives, although it may not be fully articulated like the USA models, it's still the first in any locomotive design.

    Picture #4 is the switches I was was telling you about, they are a little more cramped to get to on the SD-70 but more easy to get to on the smaller locomotives believe it or not. There is a switch for the Motors, lights, smoke and sound. All USA locomotives switches are on the bottom except for the switchers.

    Picture #5 Is the fuel tank of the SD-70, as you can see you can put a nice size sound unit inside the fuel tank area with no problem. The Phoenix sound system has the better bang for your buck. They have a P5 2K2 sound system the you can program with any sound you like off the internet or you can buy it pre-programed. The Phoenix sound systems can actually run two 6 watt speakers which means you can buy one unit and install it into the front locomotive of your double header and then just run wires then buy just a speaker kit for the second locomotive reducing the cost of having to put complete sound units in every locomotive.
     

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  12. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Is G scale getting closer to standard scale ratios?

    As I first discussed in starting my thread is that there are many different scale ratios of G scale. There has been many arguements for many years as to what scale ratio would be used if G scale was to be actually standardized like HO, N etc. Today we have come a little closer to answering that question but there may be still more discussions in the future, so there may not be a "real" standardized scale ratio any time soon. In the same token train museums have taken matters into their own hands a few years ago stating that 1/32" is a "true" scale ratio for G scale and when scaled out, it comes out just about perfect to the real thing. The only problem is that they were stuck bying expensive brass products from custom model train manuffacturers. Today 1/32 scale ratio seems to growing some popularity as more manfacturers seem to be making 1/32 scale ratio products. Some commercial manfacturers such as Marklin makes a more reasonable priced 1/32 scale trains. Accucraft is now producing a "mailine series" in 1/32 scale, also MTH trains is 1/32 scale. The scale ratio 1/32 scale does make sense to be a standard scale ratio for G scale as diecast vehicles are readily available in 1/32 scale ratio.

    On the other hand 1/32 scale is still trying to grow as 1/29 scale ratio seems to be the most popular scale ratio out there although it is not a "true" scale. It's like when the public is told that records will no longer be produced which records played in different speeds and now they have to buy standard CDs and the players. This action took alot of time and years once that decission was made, some people even fought that change. Accucraft recognizes this also and is planning on coming out with 1/29 scale ratio Locomotives and rolling stock.

    Now for the G scale Narrow gauge there does seem to be more of a standardized scale ratio for that era. The most popular G scale Narrow gauge seems to be a 1:20.3 scale ratio. Even Bachmman recoginized this and came out with a 1:20.3 series narrow gauge railroad. There is also a 1:22.5 but is not as popular for narrow gauge. Train Museums also use 1:20.3 ratio for Narrow gauge train models.

    How about the 1:24 scale ratio Narrow gauge G scale modelers, USA trains has the American series woodside box cars, reefers, etc, Aristocraft has the Delton series woodside rolling stock and Hartland Locomotives works has woodside rolling stock for the narrow gauge era.

    Well 1/32 scale ratio otherwise known as "true" scale may be a standard "Mainline" scale for museums and the 1:20.3 may be the standard "Narrow gauge" for museums. I personally don't think we are any closer to coming up with the standard scale ratio for all G scale trains due to 1:29 scale for mainlines and 1:24 scale for Narrow gauge is just way too popular mainly due to the manufacturers that make these scales have very reasonably priced ready made commercial products.
     
  13. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    USA Trains 55ft Centerflow Hoppers reviewed

    Hi, today I'm going to review the USA Ultimate series 55ft Centerflow hopper cars. The first thing you will need to know is that these montsers will need at least a 8ft diamter curve, especially if you plan on running a string of them and of course a 10ft curve would even be better if you were outside. The cars are very high in detail and actually more detailed than I thought. There are 2 types of 55ft Center Flows, one type with oval hatches and the other with round hatches. The hatches do open and close which may be important to put sand in them to weigh them down a little or to model them in a silo getting load. The bottom hatches also work and open but care has to be taken when doing so. Just like the real thing you actually have to unlock the bottom door before you can slide it open. The Centerflow hoppers are equiped with diecast trucks, metal wheels and have rotating bearing caps. Each railroad name available has 4 road numbers if you wanted to run more than 1 of the same road name. The only downfall I see to these Centerflows is the bottom hatches are very close to the bottom f the track and any slight dip or bump, especially in a switch area, the hatches catch on that area. Another words you track has to be almost 100% perfectly level. I model inside and even my basement floor has dips in it due to back in the day the floor was poured after the house was built thru a window. There was one dip that a switch was in put never really bothered any of my trains until I bought these Centerflows. I had to take the switch out of the dip area and then shime the straight track I replaced it with so the doors wouldn't catch. All in all though, they run great and are very realistic. Try to open a door on the Aristocraft covered hopper, you won't.

    Picture #1 I have 4 of these in Rio Grande multiple road numbers

    Picture #2 Rio grande has oval hatches and as you can see they really open

    Picture #3 Is a Dupoint center flow

    Picture #4 The Dupoint center flow has round hatches, they also work

    Picture #5 Is the Rio Grande centerflow with the bottom hatches open

    I run a total of 9 USA 55ft Centerflow Hoppers with 9 USA 55ft Tank cars to make a string of 18 freight cars for my SD-70s to pull and what a awesome site it is.
     

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  14. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    LGB update

    I now understand why LGB is in such turmoil. It seems as though Marklin trains bought LGB out but only wanted the LGB Lehman Germany division and not LGB America for some reason which is why the company is in such turmoil. Although the future of LGB is unknown, especially here in America, this gives the competitors like USA, Aristocraft the upper hand of digging even deeper in the American market of G scale. I do like the LGB American box cars, modern tank cars and centerflow hoppers, they were trying to make more American like trains. There are many rumors flying around and of course the LGB reps say everything will be fine they just need to re-organize, but time will tell.
     
  15. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    USA 55ft Tank cars reviewed

    Hi, this week we are going to review the USA Ultimate series 55ft tank cars. There are 2 versions of the USA tank car, the 55ft tank car and the 10,000 gal tank car both of which are the Ultimate Series 1/29 scale. The USA 55ft tank car is made from extruded aluminum just like the real thing. The trucks are actual tank car type diecast trucks which are not sprung. The trucks do have rotating bearing caps, the knuckle couplers are also diecast. The trucks come with free rolling metal wheels. There are htaches on the top of these tanks that are spring loaded and actually open. These cars are water tight and you can actually haul real liquid in them such as water if so desired. These cars are highly detailed and they even have the railraod numbers on the top just like the real thing so they can be spotted easy from the air. The only downfall I see to these cars is the weight, they are very heavy since how they are made from all aluminum and have diecast trucks. You will need big curves for these monsters, 8ft diameter minumum but if you can swing it they would look and run nicer on 10ft diamter curves. I personally own 9 of these 55ft tank cars and run them together with my 9 55ft center flow hoppers being pulled by 2 USA SD-70 locomotives and what a sight it is.

    All in all these are great tank cars which would look great on a large railroad that has large curves. If you are running in close small areas and only have 5ft diameter curves, these aren't for you.

    Picture 1) You will notice that USA used real rail names on these tank cars. I have many food processing plants in my town, so these Cargil foods tank cars are common here.

    Picture 2) Is the number on top of the tank. You will also notice the dust on these cars as I use to clean them weekkly due to being inside, but now I cut way back to simulate road dirt.

    Picture 3) Is a Dupoint tank car, my Uncle retired from Dupiont so he was glad I bought this tank car unbelievable what kind of chmeicals they get in there.

    Picture 4) Is a Safety Kleen tank car, we have a safety kleen facilty near my town.

    Picture 5) Is a ADM tank car, another common one here in my town.

    Tank cars are big in my town so I get to see a big varety of them. I bought tank cars that were most familiar to me, so when I seem them running on my track, it reminds me of the real thing.

    Another note, for those who want to run up to 4 tank cars of the same road name can do so, each road name has 4 different road numbers.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2008
  16. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Another scale to confuse us?

    As I read magazines, there seems to be more manufacturers trying to take matters in their own hands about what scale ratio G scale should be. For example Llagas Creek, a custom track and switch manufactuer only advertises track for 1:20.3 narrow gauge G scale and 1/32 mainline G scale. I can see in the future the G scale world getting split into 2 sections, those who think 1:20.3 should be narrow gauge and 1/32 should be mainline, then on the other side those who think 1/24 should be narrow gauge and 1/29 should be mainline. This scale ratio arguement has been going on for years in the G scale world.

    There is a advertisement in a magazine I saw of someone who supposely is putting a end to all of these G scale arguements. According to what I read on their web site info is that there is way too many scale ratios in G scale and all of these ratios are actually wrong to be accurate to scale. Thy made up a new scale called "F" scale and according to the web site the NMRA says that this new F scale is more accurate for garden railroads, especially in 3ft narrow gauge model railroading. The reason why they say G scale ratios are truely NOT accurate is due to G scale mailine models run on the same size 45 mm track as the narrow gauge G scale, they just change the scale ratio of the model. So what did people of this new "F" scale do differently? They made only 2 scale ratio F scale model designations, the 3ft narrow gauge is a 1:20.32 scale ratio which operates on 45mm G scale track. Notice how this scale comes close to our G scale ratio 1:20.3 for our narrow gauge. Now for the mainline, they use 70.64mm track which they say the NMRA best represents the standard gauge railroad in a garden railway. The narrow gauge is called a "Fn3" and the standard gauge is just "F" scale. They say by having 2 different width tracks in "F" scale you can more accurately model both standard and narrow gauge trains together in your garden railway becase in G scale you are using the same size 45mm track for both narrow gauge and mainline. So I guess supposely this new "F" scale is suppose to end all arguements in the G scale world and I guess everyone is suppose to give up on G scale and buy this new "F" scale for their garden railways since how it's suppose to be more accurate. Excuse me while I stick to what I have and like, my 1/29 scale.

    Anyone who wants to take a look at this article on this new "F" scale can do so at www.crofutandironcreek.com
    www.cumberlandmodelengineering.com
     
  17. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Aristocraft can thank competition for better trains

    Hi, you see me sometimes in many of my threads talk down about Aristocraft trains. You just have to remember back in the day around 1999 when I first started G scale modeling Aristocraft trains were not as good as they are today. I will admit Aristocraft trains have come along way since 1999 and thats only because of the fierce competition with USA trains. With that fierce competition, Aristocraft was forced to make better designed motor blocks, they totally redesigned the FA unit and lowered it to better match the prototype, they developed a easy plug and play sound and DCC system. They also came out with see thru cat walks on top of their box cars, then they finally came out with real road numbers for their rolling stock. They redesigned the motor block in the C-16 steam locomotive, updated the motor block in the SD-45. Now they are finally using a great motor, the Mabuchi 550 with built in cooling fan in their new GP-40. This motor should last a very long time.

    I feel competition always makes a better product from the companies in competition with each other. So Aristocraft lovers can thank USA trains for making Aristocraft trains design better products to compete in the market with.
     
  18. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    USA Trains 50ft Mechanical reefer car reviewed

    Hi, this weekend I will review the USA Ultimate series (1:29 scale) Mechanical refrigerator car. The USA 50ft refrigerator car, also knick named "reefer" car is very high in detail and has very nice crisp graphics. They come standard with USA black metal wheels and with hook and loop couplers. There are knuckle couplers included with each car for those who rather have that type of coupler. The first thing you notice is the level of detail, these cars feature a full detailed underbody, fuel tanks with simulated fuel level gauges, actual working doors which open. You can even slide the compartment door open to view the mechanical engine which drives the refrigeration unit. For those who don't know, these 50ft reefer cars used Detroit series 71 4 cylinder diesel engines.

    If you need to know my qualifications on how I know so much about diesel engine I have 20 years experience this year in the repairs and rebuilding of diesel engines. My first engine I rebuilt was a detroit 71 series 8 cylinder engine. Today many modern refrigeration cars use pretty much the same units to cool them such as a Thermo King or carrier unit that you would see on a tractor trailer, only you see a unit on each end of the car. Such example cars would be the famous Tropicana train which delivers oranges uses these types of modern reefer cars with the newer style units on each end.

    Now bach to the review, the cars rolled well enough, but pulling a long string of these heavy cars proved they did not roll well enough. I own 9 of these cars in which I also have 6 box cars hooked up to them and this string was very heavy. I own 3 USA Sd40-2 locomotives which use alot of amps pulling these. I eventually switched all of these cars on this particular train to roll E-Z metal ball bearing wheels and what a difference that made. I sold the USA metal wheels on ebay to make up some money spent on roll E-Z wheels.

    These reefer cars should be run on no less than a 8ft diameter curve especially in a string of freight cars. Of course if you are outside they would look and run much better on a 10ft or larger diameter. Remember, the tighter the curve, the more friction and drag you cause on the train which is why you should always go with the biggest diameter curve you can fit into your layout. The door latches are plastic and are very fragile, you must take car when opening these doors and be patient. For those Pacific Fruit Express fans such as myself, there are 5 different paint schemes of them, each having 4 different road numbers, so you could actually run 20 different Pacific Fruit Express Reefer cars if you wanted to. All in all these are great cars to add to any large railroad. I would not recommend these for any railroad operating on less than 8ft diametere curves

    Picture 1) Example of a USA 50ft Mechnical Reefer Car
    Picture2) Is the door and latches which you have to take care with
    Picture 3) Here is the door now opened
    Picture 4) This is the engine compartment, the door slides open to view this.
    Picture 5) This is my string of Reefer cars all together and what a great sight it is.

    Note: You will notice that I like to run dedicated trains such as a reefer train or a tank train, I very rarely run a mixed freight like shortlines do. I like to run my trains like a big railroad mainline.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2008
  19. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    USA 50ft Box Cars reviewed

    Hi this week we are going to review the USA 50ft Ultimate series (1:29 scale) box cars. The USA Ultimate series 50ft box cars are 1:29 scale ratio and they come standard with USA black metal wheels. The graphics are crisp and clear, the are also very accurately detailed. There are 3 different types of 50ft box cars available from USA. There is the Single slide door, the double slide door and the double door, one side is a slide door and the other door is a plug type door. There is much underside detail unlike aristocraft who has airlines that go no where. You get these rolling stock with hook and loop couplers mounted on them but there is a knuckle coupler kit bag included. These box cars are pretty light and free rolling for the size of them. The single door box cars seem to be the better pick as they hold up alot better if you are going to slide the doors quite often. The double door box cars are real fragile. Whe I got mine shipped, the double doors on one side were broken in shipping. The doors themselves don't actually break, its the plastic door slide that retains the door and the door slides in. It seems USA did not put enough plastic tab anchors on this sill and just the weight of the two doors break the little tabs out. I finally remedied this by disassembling my double door box cars and I actually hot glued the plastic door retainers on, but the trick is you have to install the doors at the same time without permantly glueing your doors in along with the door retainer. I do own a plug door / slide door combo box car but never opened and closed the doors, I just keep them shut so I don't know how well these will hold up to open and closing. Although these cars are 50ft, I still would recomend running these on no less than a 8ft minimum diameter curve, they would look and run much better on a 10ft or more diameter curve, especially running in a string. These box cars would make a great addition to a large railroad.

    Picture 1) My Rio Grande 50ft double door box car
    Picture 2) Another Rio Grande 50ft double door box car
    Picture 3) Rio Grande 50ft single door box car
    Picture 4) Southern Pacific plug door /slide door combo 50ft box car
     

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  20. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Accucraft moving foward with the mainline products

    You see my forum threads which focus alot on USA and Aristocraft trains. I must admit I have great repsect and like Accucraft model trains alot. The only thing that has kept me from buying Accucraft trains is the big expense. Accucraft makes both live and electric powered locomotives which are primarily made of brass. They are indeed very nicely detailed as I see them in action a G scale train shows. If I had the money I definately would buy a Accucraft K37 with a few box cars, reefer cars and a couple of cattle cars. The K37 is $3,700 for the electric version, the box cars run about $80 each which in reality isn't bad, the reefer cars, tank cars are $70 are $90 and the stock cars are $88 each. The prices on the rolling stock is Accucraft AMS division. So I guess you could say the most expensive part getting into Accucraft is the locomotive although a caboose could set you back $420.00. To keep everything straight, Accucraft models are brass, the AMS models are primarily plastic with alot of high detail. Both Locomotives and cabooses are Accucraft made from brass, the rolling stock such as the box car, reefer car, tank car, etc are AMS made from plastic. Accucraft owns AMS and is basiclly the same company.

    Now on to Accucraft news, Accucraft is moving full force onto 1:29 scale ratio mainline products. They have a 0-6-0 switcher coming out very soon and are coming out with a series of PS-1 box cars also in 1:29 scale ratio. They also have a EMD
    GP-9 and a EMD GP-60 due out this winter also in 1:29 scale.

    As for Accucraft in 1:32 scale ratio it seems right now they only offer a Ice reefer car, the Southern Pacific 2-20-2 locomotive and some Box cars with various door sizes.
     

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