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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, has anyone reviewed the keystone line of g scale trains? There is the army set coming to Tuesday morning soon. I am wondering if is good quality? Also who is the original manufacturer?
 

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Master of Disaster
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I hate to be a downer. I purchased a Keystone Circus set,took 3 sets to get one that had gears that worked correctly. They stood by the sets and now I have 2 extra engines that do not work and an extra tender.

I was excited to get it as it was a Christmas gift from my wife, I was very dissappointed to say the least.

As far as quality it looks like a Bachmann knock off, so not sure who makes it but the motor block and other parts look to have less quality then Bachmann, so what is that saying?
But you can judge for yourself..that part is always subjective.
I have not run it much, it is a shelf queen..will it run? It did when I recieved it as stated above it was the 3rd engine, but it is not one I will routinely run. I would not think it would be a good daily runner with the quality it obviously shows...up to you.

For me I am happy to look at it as it is, (and I know Marty will hate this), but it is very pretty and a shelf queen! No other Circus engine and tender has this much color, Bachmann and LGB do not look this colorful. Were real Circus trains this colorful..no but it is what I like and it is a very colorful engine! Nice static display.

IMHO
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info.

How is the track? And are the cars decent enough to match Bachman big hauler stuff?

JP
 

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Is the exact same thing as the the "Buddy-L" set from a few years back:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51viHwWr6pL._SS500_.jpg

I dont think anyone ever really figured out who makes it..
probably just a chinese clone/copy of Bachmann..
I think the cars are identical to Bachmann..
but most reports I recall said the loco is not up to the same standards as Bachmann..

I saw the Buddy-L engine in person several times at Ridge Road station..personally, I would pass..
looks pretty cheap to me.. (cheap referring to quality, not price)
you can buy a Bachmann Big Hauler for $150..much better deal IMO..

Scot
 

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Maybe the engine is "not worth it", but would the other cars (Boxcar, Flat, and Bobber Caboose, (everything, engine and caboose included, is painted in khaki/green camouflage) and track ("22 piece combination snap-fit track", it says) be worth the price that "Tuesday Morning" is selling it at -- $99.99. The advert flyer says the original price was $250.
 

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Master of Disaster
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Track is cheap, unloaded it pronto. The cars are like stated Bachmann knock off so they are ok. The caboose well looks like a cheap bachmann knock off BUT mine was painted like I said in very pretty colors so I liked the cars. But as far as a daily runner no way. If you like the cars go for it BUT do not expect much. $100...not sure I payed like $ 169 for mine, alot of cash for a shelf queen, but like I said it is very colorful!
Kids would love it at a train show.
 

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Posted By Semper Vaporo on 27 Oct 2010 09:49 PM
Maybe the engine is "not worth it", but would the other cars (Boxcar, Flat, and Bobber Caboose, (everything, engine and caboose included, is painted in khaki/green camouflage) and track ("22 piece combination snap-fit track", it says) be worth the price that "Tuesday Morning" is selling it at -- $99.99. The advert flyer says the original price was $250.


IMHO - no, they are not worth $99. If it's the same as the set I saw last time it was offered [there have been at least 3 iterations of this - I have a 5-yr-old webpage somewhere of John Narval's 'brass train'] the wheels are plastic, so swapping them will cost you another $15-20. The cars are all light and unweighted but metal wheels help. The track is plastic - B'mann put a tin strip folded into an inverted U on it, so I imagine this stuff is the same, so it is pretty useless other than once-a-year around the tree.

I got two original Big Hauler sets when they first came out (1993?), and they were similar quality (the loco was battery powered.) I paid $45 for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you all very much. I'll save that 99, maybe add a bit and use it for a box of accucraft al 332 flex track. Or some decent cars.
 

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I have purchased several of the Bachmann kits. The J&S passenger and gondola cars from Ridge Road Station. They painted well and are in service on my layout. Price at the time was $35.
Regards, Dennis.
 

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I have purchased several of the Bachmann kits
That was going to be my next comment. At the ECLSTS, I often see vendors selling ancient Bachmann cars, complete with plastic wheels, for $10-20 each. I've even seen a couple of original Big Hauler sets with the same gondola & bobber caboose for around $99.
 

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Personaly, I Like my Keystone circus train certainly better then my Bighauler sets.
cars stay on track well and look good, track it the same as the bighauler sets
except the coupling is backwards. it is cheap tin track but it works good around the tree
etc. at anyrate I would most certainly buy another before I brought another bachman
bighauler that I have nothing good I can say about, and lots bad.

Doc...
 

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I saw the Army version of the Keystone set this past Friday purchased by a friend, who had to visit a second Tuesday Morning store to get it. It is advertised as having a "diecast engine" but it all looked and felt like plastic to me, thus false adverstising. The tender was designed to hold six "C" size batteries, but electrical connections were not installed and were replaced by wheel pickups. It did include metal wheels with the rolling stock cars, which may be worth its price. It ran nicely once around Longwood Gardens Railway and then went back into the box.
 

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Well, I think Keystone makes good "budget" trains, for depending on what set you get, you actually get more for your money than most large scale sets I've had a look at, and the price is definitely more affordable. I bought a Sante Fe set out of Sportsman's Guide a few years ago for $180, and I still run both the engine and all the cars today, so I think I got my money's worth there.

Admittedly, the track is a bit cheap, so it's only really good for indoor running, usually around the christmas tree or on a track hanging from the ceiling, but for what it is, it isn't too bad. The power pack is a little basic, and although mine still works fine, If I wasn't going to convert the engine I have over to battery, I'd switch to using a beefier/better made pack to ensure reliability long term.

Speaking of the engine, all things considered it's not too shabby, for it has a lovely copper finish to the die-cast boiler, and although most of the other parts are plastic, it's still a nice looking engine, and has little touches like coupler cut-bars on the pilot and flag-irons that I like. The fact that it has puffing smoke as well as a working light and sounds (housed in the tender, with a volume knob and on/off switch for when the noises get too much) earns it a few points, and provided you put a little plastic compatible grease and oil in the gear-train every so often and keep it lubed, it's a decent runner as well, my Prairie is still going strong.

The cars are what I really like though (and why I'd gladly buy another set just to get some more of them), for although they're plastic, they're built tough and have knuckle couplers and metal wheels which roll quite freely, as well as a nice amount of detailing. The knuckles link up with Kadees and most other knuckle couplers I've tried, so you can just hitch them up and go whenever you're at a meet or a show, and the metal wheels give a nice solid clickety clack noise over the rail joints.

Overall, the Keystone line makes a good beginner's electric train for getting into Large Scale trains at an affordable price, and a good source of rolling stock if you're on a bit of budget but want something that'll last (these cars'd be good for repainting and re-naming into your own road names too).
 

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Never to late to add info, Keystones are 1/20 scale. I have couple of sets of Keystone and Bachmann Big Hauler (1/22.5 scale) and from a distance the cars look the same but they are not. The Keystone comes with a loud and decent sound generator. It whistles, chugs, and steams and does so according to throttle settings. It also has puffing smoke! All of my Bachmann engines are pre current gen 5 and their drive trains suck compared to the Keystone. Technically even the Gen 5 sucks unless you pin the axle.
Keystone has metal couplers and wheels. The details are better than the Big Haulers. To me the Keystone looks, sounds and runs better than Bachmann (non Spectrum)

Overall if you need a good inexpensive train go with the Keystone. IMHO better bang for the buck and no stupid rubber gears.
 
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