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HI everybody. Given the global conditions, I hope everybody is OK. I would like to ask for your opinion to all those who have or have seen both engines. The Aster S2 green version and the Aster Berkshire. If you were to choose only one of them, in RTR version, which one would you have? Consider looks, functionality, price is more less the same, etc. Which one would you choose and why?

Thank you all for your opinions.
 

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John:

Thank you for your answer, but it is a little more complicated for me, since I have both engines and I might sell one of them. Which would you keep? Or if both were available, which one would you choose?
 

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I like both. The Berk looks (and is) huge. The S-2 is nearly as long, or maybe even longer, but doesn't have the same sense of mass. I think if you need to sell one, why dont you put both up for sale and keep the one that doesn't sell first? I can't see how you would not be happy with either.

Did you sell your Western Maryland Shay too?
 

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If, as it would appear, you're torn, I'd decide on a purely economic analysis. Because the Berkshire is out of production - and because it has a strong following - I suspect the Berk would stimulate more demand than the currently-in-production S-2. The Aster market is, as markets go, pretty tiny, but I cannot imagine you'd have any difficulty moving a Berkshire, even at a premium.
 

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Yes, John, unfortunately I did sell it to a guy in Italy. The engine was beautifull. Hopefully I can come across again with an engine like that. It will take patince.
 

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You have a tough choice to make. Both are fine looking and running engines. I own neither but both are run at Steve Speck's track so I see them on a regular basis.

Years ago I had John Shawe convert a Flying Scotsman and a Makido to coal as both were getting rare and I did not know for sure which I liked the best. My thought was to sell one, whichever I liked least. Well my answer was sell the Mikado. However, I guess I have not tried real hard to sell her as I still have her (for salle) and run her at regular intervals at Steve's place.

As for my choice between the S2 and the Berkshire, I would keep the Berkshire. However, the choice is going to be up to you. I feel certain that there are folks that will give you an opinion on both engines being thier favoriate.
 

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I'd go for the Berk...

Reason: Uh...??

I like Freight more than Passenger.

I like a 2 wheel leading truck more than a 4 wheel.

It has the air pumps on the side (Where they belong! Not on the front where they look like a clown's nose!)

It is 1.1Kg heavier.

It is 1 inch longer.

It has 1mm longer stroke.

It has smaller drive wheels... (Tiny steam motors run smoother if they run faster, so the Berk's "motor" can run faster, yet the "train" will run slower.)
 

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While the S2 is still available on the market as "new" and used there are production factors that could make it the better buy/sell: mainly the improvements over the Berk production...
As per Ross' review
The S-2 model has all the latest Aster improvements and more. It does have drain cocks that work well without eating up boiler pressure. It's axle pump is so efficient it can overfill the boiler if you don't pay attention. It's new innovation -- that admittedly should have been on Asters' past, is the gauge glass blowdowns. I know that some British Aster models have that appliance, but none of the recent US prototypes have until the S-2. The boiler too is very efficient and the engine goes from light-off of the burners to pop-off in less than five minutes.
 

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Good review of the S2 Charles so when are you getting one....
Not that I want to jinx a meet with bad weather but any chance I will see you Saturday, it's going to be a balmy 39 degrees out?

IMO although the Berk is a great engine and aesthetically more pleasing to me than the S2, the S2 is an even better runner. I often comment that it is the most "boring" engines I own; meaning there are no issues, it just runs; fast or slow it pulls whatever I put behind it until I get tired of watching it. Not that I would ever want to get rid of the Berk, but she has been a bit of a shelf queen since the S2.
 

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Dan
Let me know when there is a fire sale.... BTW 38 degrees with a 14 mph wind gives one a freezing wind chill factor, so NO GO! (got to save my hot chocolate for next weeks T-Day at PLS).
 

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The decision is based a lot on personal preference for asthetics and the railroad that you choose to model. None of the westcoast railroads ran Berkshires, so there would seem to be greater interest for the S2 that ran from Chicago to and from Seattle out west. Pennsy, New York Central and the GN were the only U.S. Railroads that made the departure from the standard black steam locomotive and added color to their locomotives. Thanks to Hans, they decided to do the S2 in the passenger scheme because of its unique paint scheme. With a limited budget for mainline steam locomotives, my decision was obvious.
 

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You could not go wrong with either. In NFL football terminology, the berk would be a linebacker while the S2 a fleet footed wide receiver.
 

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Just a short 2 cents..
I just recently purchased a RTR Berk from a person in Ohio that had it as a Mantle Queen,
at a fairly reasonable price as well. She definetly has a 'Major Presence' on any railroad.
Mine has transitioned to the Pere Marquette 1225, a local fallen flag Locomotive, that has been restored and was the 'model' for the recent movie 'Polar Express' .
She may just visit Train Fest 2009 and form a 'menage e troi'....you know what I mean...
 

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I think the Berk looks a finer engine being very 'busy' but have heard the boiler is not too good for steaming unlike the S2, but the S2 in Green for me looks awful and plain I have not seen one in black which personally I think would look nicer. On another note I have noticed already here in the UK that the credit crunch is biting some Aster dealers have been selling some very hard to find Asters so people must be cashing in.
 

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Posted By tony23 on 11/22/2008 3:56 AM
I think the Berk looks a finer engine being very 'busy' but have heard the boiler is not too good for steaming unlike the S2, but the S2 in Green for me looks awful and plain I have not seen one in black which personally I think would look nicer. On another note I have noticed already here in the UK that the credit crunch is biting some Aster dealers have been selling some very hard to find Asters so people must be cashing in.


I don't see any evidence that "the boiler is not too good for steaming unlike the S2". I rate the Berkshire as the best Aster in terms of pulling power and controllability - I've posted this video before, but the first couple of minutes show just how controllable the Berkshire is with radio control. The latest generation of Asters such as the 9F and the S2 are really excellent to the point of being almost boring in the way they just run and run!

http://www.youtube.com/v/YpZCK4o1dYs&hl=en&fs=1"> name="allowFullScreen" value="true">

Who is selling the hard to find Asters? I found a Chapelon Nord a few weeks ago - what else is on the market?
 

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While I would love to have either, as they are both beautiful in their own way, I prefer the S2, especially in all black. As far as performance, I would hardly categorize the S2 as "boring" to run due to its extreme efficiency and performance. It gives great satisfaction knowing it performs like a Swiss watch every time. Love that authoritative chuff and its extreme pulling power!
 

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If anyone wants something different then I have an Aster Swiss Compound for sale at GBPounds 2750 which equates to US Dollars 4100 at current exchange rates. Contact me off board if you think it might like a home on your track. I also have an Aster NYC Hudson at the same price. looks like bargain basement time with the GBPound /Dollar the way it is!
 
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