Please bring me back in the loop...

Tudor Oct 23, 2011

  1. Tudor

    Tudor TrainBoard Member

    I have been an N scale modeler for about 30 years. I used to do HO as a kid, and haven't been in the HO circle for 40ish years. Sure, I can spend hours searching the site for HO info, but honestly, I just want a jump start. I have recently decided to move to HO due to failing eyesight and a recent property aquisition that allows me room to do whatever i want. A clean slate if you will. I have tons of N, but in the process of looking for HO stuff now to replace it. I know what I like in N. I like hobby quality stuff and reliability. I want to steer from the "train set" stuff the best I can, except for kit bash foder maybe. Most my N is MTL, Atherns, Intermountain, Spectrum, Kato, Atlas and Life-Like. I know what is reliable, and decent detail in N, but have no clue in HO. So what I need to know, now you knowing the type of stuff I like to work with, is N and HO paralle in this aspect? How are Spectrum HO stuff? Who do I need to be looking for for HO rolling stock, locos and equipment? A quick start list is what I am looking for.

  2. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    Welcome to HO!!

    Now, as for your questions, I guess I need to know what you're interested in as far as era, location, etc. For diesels, I like the Athearn RTR series, Atlas Classic, Bachmann Spectrum, & Walthers/LifeLike Proto series. You'll hear pros & cons from the other HO folks about each brand name- actually, even some of the others I haven't mentioned (IM, Kato, MTH). I even have a few of the so-called "blue-box" Athearns, Atlas/Rocos, and a few Front Range diesels in my fleet.

    As for rolling stock, the names that come to mind are (again) Athearn (both blue-box and the new RTR line, as well as their Genesis series), Walthers, Exactrail, and Atlas. Personally, I find a wider variety of locomotives & cars in HO over N, but that's mostly due to the larger number of HO modelers.

    As for "train set" quality, outside of the Walthers Trainline or Atlas Trainman offerings, the rest (say, early LifeLike, older Bachmann, AHM and Tyco) would best be avoided, or used as scrapyard fodder.

    Track- definitely Atlas, although Micro Engineering & Shinohara offer some good stuff, IMO.

    Couplers- Kadee, first, last & always. They're metal, and will last longer than their plastic imitators.

    I'm afraid that's not much of an answer, but your question calls for more than can be handled in a brief response. And of course these are my opinions, formed by 32 years off & on in HO scale. Others may agree or disagree, and that's OK, too.
  3. mikelhh

    mikelhh TrainBoard Member

    I think the quality in N is the same in H0.
    Can't really go wrong with Atlas locos - even their Trainman offerings have the same excellent drive. I like their rollingstock too. I also have some very good Proto 2000 locos, and the more recent Walthers and Walthers Proto 1000 perform very nicely indeed.

    My track is a mix of Atlas and GT [now marketed but not manufactured by Model Power] . All of my turnouts are Peco. I have no complaint with them.

  4. Tudor

    Tudor TrainBoard Member

    Those are the answers I am looking for. What I model is transition era, midwestern roads, specifically Rock Island. Love steam, and early diesel. Big "ALCOholic" and my favs being RS1,2 & 3. Love high nose diesels like GP7,9, SD9... Big fan of Consolidation and Mikados, Moguls. Also love the F series diesels, FTs, DL109s.

    Thanks for the quick replies. It will help me get started. Sounds like it is pretty much like N scale as far as what are the good runners..
  5. BRS Hobbies

    BRS Hobbies TrainBoard Member

    I find that it is better to get the track, power supply, locomotive and rolling stock as separate items that way you can create your own starter set with good quality products.

    As far as track - Atlas HO Code 83 nickel silver track and KATO HO UNITRACK is high quality and smooth running. The Atlas track is more suited for permanent layouts and the KATO track has a built-in roadbed which makes it good for both temporary and permanent track layouts.

    Locomotives & rolling stock - I tend to favor Atlas Master, Atlas TRAINMAN, Broadway Limited Blue Line, Broadway Limited Paragon, and KATO. If you are on a budget then the Atlas TRAINMAN line is very good with slightly less detail than the Atlas Master line but is more durable which is important to consider if kids are involved.

    Best regards,

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