SD70M vs SD75M???

BNSFtheLeader Apr 5, 2007

  1. BNSFtheLeader

    BNSFtheLeader E-Mail Bounces

    Kato vs Athearn???

    I was wondering what the report is on the Athearn SD75M's?

    I remember a post on here about Motor contact problems but if I remember correctly it was a relatively easy fix. I noticed on ebay they go for practically nothing compared to Kato's, is this because of the contact problem? I'm trying to find out before I go out spend a bunch of money and time on them and find out there junk. as of now I have none and would love to add them to my roster but in a sense if there a bad seller on ebay that's some what of a tell-tail sign of quality but at the same time I don't want to disclued them without some insight.

    Pro's and Con's
    2 of my favorite engines are the Kato C44-9W in the $100.00 range for the H2 scheme Which I find kind of repulsive ( the orange bleeds through the yellow) and the Lifelike GP18 First run it requires some help but it's an absolute puller and with a little help in detail it's actually a great engine for the $20.00 range.

    Just wondering.

  2. Kevin Stevens

    Kevin Stevens TrainBoard Supporter

    One of the main reasons for the price difference is current availability. The Kato's have been out of production for a while now and are no longer available from Kato or suppliers, while many of the Athearn units are still in stock from Horizon Hobby. Since the supply of Kato SD70M's is limited, they bring more of a premium price while the Athearn units are in stock and pretty widely available and they are still at fully discounted prices. I still have Athearn SD70/75's in stock, and I also still have more coming. As for the quality of them, I try to avoid those discussions. The details of these discussions are mainly personal feelings and opinion similar to the Ford vs. Chevy opinions in the car world (or for those with a "higher" taste, BMW vs. Mercedes). As far as I am concerned, the Athearn models are good models...if they weren't, I wouldn't sell them. Feel free to check my inventory if you want to avoid Ebay. As noted, I have more that should be arriving toward the end of this week.
  3. cprnorth

    cprnorth TrainBoard Member

    Kato is number one

    I would say that there is lots of Katos out there and they are far better . I purchased the CN units from Athearn and have since sold them . As for the dealers they are trying to sell whats in there stores but as you see tons on Ebay and for 50 bucks you can have them . They look great but do not run like a Kato. I have purchased lots of Kato engines from 45 to 60 dollars, watch ebay and due the buy it now I got Two UP katos from a store in Carolina last week on ebay 112.00 with shipping .One each SD70 and AC4400 UP
  4. BNSFtheLeader

    BNSFtheLeader E-Mail Bounces

    ???????????? Wow!!!!!! I know every manufacture will differ in performance and personal liking but at the price as low as $40.00 a unit (sometimes) can I actually go wrong ? I recently lost an auction for a SF-BNSF Combo for $90.00 should I have jumped on that?
  5. sillystringtheory

    sillystringtheory TrainBoard Member

    My 2 Athearn SD75Ms are very good. When they were new they ran a bit rough but since I have put a few hours on them and have the decoders in them "tuned" properly, I consider them only a half step down from Kato and definately better than any of my Atlas locos.
    Only down side to the Athearns is the cab glazing and the fact that they are glued together.

  6. jagged ben

    jagged ben TrainBoard Member

    In my opinion the Kato is a better model, due to a few fairly objective factors.

    -The Kato units have operating ditchlights.
    -The Kato window glass is more realistic.
    -The Athearn glue that people have mentioned. Especially not good if you want to paint them.
    -Some of the earlier Athearn models had a 3-pole motor and were not exactly DCC friendly. (The most recent Athearns do not have this problem.)

    More in the subjective, eye of the beholder area...

    -The radiator fans on the Athearn are too round on top.
    -The Athearn shell and trucks aren't as "crisp" as the Kato.
    -Kato has a long track record of producing reliable modern diesels in N scale. Athearn doesn't, though from what I've seen and heard, the the SD70s run well enough. They are not junk.

    On the plus side for Athearn, they paint a few more details the correct color at the factory. Also, they've produced more variations of the SD70/75 than Kato.

    I wouldn't buy the Athearn in SP or CSX dark future because the Kato comes in the those paint schemes. I've held off getting some of the other Athearns that come in prototypes/paint schemes I want, only because at the same prices (new) as the Kato, I feel I'm not getting the fairest deal. If I had a little more money, I'd probably just buy them. If I could get them for $60 or under, I'd probably do it. Under $50, definitely.

    You can still get the Katos (SP and CSX) at e-tailers for under $75, so don't overpay on eBay.
  7. dave n

    dave n TrainBoard Supporter

    I would have to agree with the comments above. I bought Athearns when they first came out, and was happy with them, but was ecstatic when Kato announced them in SP. I like the Kato's better also, for all of the same reasons above.

    The Athearns aren't BAD, they just aren't Katos....

    I've still got my Santa Fe Athearns, but I'm holding out hope that Kato will do the SD75M in Warbonnet soon :) :). They seem to like Santa Fe, which is great for us Chico modellers!!!

    ATSFCLIFF TrainBoard Member

    The Athearn models are no comparison to the Kato's but they are not junk! They are very,very much better than the diesels made by Bachmann. They are comparitively new to the N scale market and I am optimistic (hopefully) that they will improve.
  9. BNSFtheLeader

    BNSFtheLeader E-Mail Bounces

    Humm???? Quite interesting responses. Maybe I'll buy a pair and test run them and see what I think there worth.

    now I kind of wish I bid on that set of 2 on Ebay recently that sold for 1 bid of $90.00 :-( Oh well you snooze you loose right.
  10. Ilovesd90macs

    Ilovesd90macs TrainBoard Member

    I have also benifited from this. I have a Kato SD70M in Norfolk Southern, which is totally awesome. Zero complaints about it. Zero complaints about any of the Katos I have actually. I really want an Ontario Northland SD75I, but only Athearn makes them. Anybody know if it would be better to custom paint an Kato, or buy the Athearn. The lack of ditchligts makes me upset. Also, somebody mentioned that some of the older SD70/75's from Athearn had a 3 pole motor, and they were not DCC friendly. Are the Ontario Northland ones DCC friendly?
  11. digisnaps01

    digisnaps01 TrainBoard Member

    I bought the Athearn SP SD70M's prior to the Kato announcment but also bought one of those to mix in with my other Kato SP locos as I don't run on DCC.
    I have since added another 7 Athearn's in the EMD demo paint scheme and the UP flared versions with the Ph1 Cab because I can't be sure that Kato will do these.
    I would have bought the ATSF SD75I's if Athearn hadn't changed the handrail/walkway mold paint to red from silver. I could have faced painting the walkways but not all those stanchions!

    My main complaint about the Athearn version is the variablity in motor speeds - several have had to be exchanged.
    Another "minus" is the poor glazing along with the glued construction as this makes them unsuitable custom paint candidates.

    I can live without the ditchlights as I end up having to designate a lead loco and black out the ditchlights on the trailing units with those that are so fitted. I will drill out the Athearn "pretend" ditchlight housings and install jewel headlights.

    For some reason they have more "wheel noise", especially when on a grade but pull reasonably well and are quiet running after a few hours.

    I am very pleased with the Athearn offering but will agree that they are not as good as Kato. Despite Kato's shortomings they are still the best runners around.
    Nevertheless, I wouldn't hesitate in getting the Athearn's if they do them in a scheme you want.

Share This Page