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Some USA Trains is 1:24, the nicer stuff is 1:29
Piko is supposedly 1:29 in some cases, but there is some 1:32, and some goofy scaled stuff.


LGB is all over the map, mostly closer to 1:26


Piko quality ok, but not LGB level, hard to compare to USAT




No one makes the wide variety of USA diesel models that USAT does, so it depends more on what you want to model, USA or European, Steam or Diesel or Electric.


Overall quality ok, but not bulletproof like LGB.


Greg
Having just bought my first ever G set, it went with the basic American passenger LGB set. I wanted USA trains avec diesel locomotive because it would have been a counterpart to my O gauge diesel and array of freight rolling stock, but I could not justify this economically.

Yes, I agree LGB is very high quality. However, I am baffled and mystified by the material used for the plastic wheels of the rolling stock. Of the huge array of plastics out there in the world, they chose to use a plastic which leaves a residue on the rails with basic speeds of operation. That is highly bizarre.
 

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Most plastic wheels do this, no matter what the manufacturer. What amazes me is that anyone still supplies plastic wheels.
I can reason that many plastics would leave a residue... I guess...

But I have never thought of plastic as being...... like a crayon. "Plastic" is a word used to describe a huge array of different polymers, acrylics and other substances. While I am not a chemist or plastics expert, I know enough to be sure that more than one or two of these different kinds of plastics would exist that do not leave a residue or smear on brass rail as it rolls down the track.

One substance I have in mind is a type of shiny acrylic, sold in the brand name "Lucite", which is sold at retail plastics dealers and comes in a wide array of translucent and bold colors. It is a tough plastic I can use as an example, and one which would probably not be leaving any smear on rail unless the train was travelling at 1000 inches per second or something.

It is clear to me based on my experience and your comment (many manufacturers) that the model trains industry has settled on using a type of plastic that is not ideal, and pricing might be part of this decision although that still doesn't make sense to me. These trains are not sold in super-high volumes. If they used the acrylic I had mentioned for these wheels, maybe it would be more expensive but not relevantly so because even with this, each axle might cost $1 or $2, and the wheels could consist of nifty appearance. This here comment of mine is a really long and elaborate way of saying... It's not hard to find a plastic which would be resistant to smearing at low speeds and low temperatures. Temperatures are not a factor in this because the G scale train leaves the residue while travelling at 25 inches per second at room temperature.

This is just odd to me that's all. Especially when considering the high quality of materials used in constructing the rest of the train parts..
 

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Most plastic wheels do this, no matter what the manufacturer. What amazes me is that anyone still supplies plastic wheels.
I likewise would overwhelmingly prefer metal wheels on all my trains. I found a brand of G scale named "Keystone" which seems to use metal for all the wheels in its sets, in spite of the fact that these are a lot cheaper than LGB brand.

When I got my LGB set I reasoned I could easily replace the plastic wheels on the rolling stock for cheap, no problem.

I was very wrong. When I searched for G scale metal wheels I quickly found out that I will be spending between $55 and $110 if I want to replace all the plastic wheels with metal ones for just two passenger cars. These metal wheels are sold in pairs of axles. I have seen listings selling 4 axles of metal wheels for $27 + tax... and for more expensive varieties I have seen listings selling 2 axles of metal wheels for $25 plus tax, so almost double the cheaper listings.

I had assumed there would be no trouble finding an inexpensive but still superior Aluminum wheel for a couple bucks per axle or something but I was wrong. Obviously, one could manufacture inexpensive metal wheels for that price but since the item in question is a specialty hobby item, I am not at all surprised at all that I am going to be paying real money if I want to replace my wheels. Based on what I have seen, I would almost be better off just buying used rolling stock which bears metal wheels. I don't think $55 is outrageous or anything, but it did dash my hopes that there would be an abundance of super cheap metal wheels floating around.
 

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I have had good results with Roll-Ez.com standard metal wheels that come in black or chrome color for $11 for 2 axles.

Some of the Bachmann metal wheels I have are not straight and tried tend to wobble. You can watch the flanges wobble from side to side as you spin the wheels. I am in the process of swapping them out with roll-ez wheels.

Kent
Thank you, that settles it, because this is the best deal and this is what I will order. Glad you clarified the $11 ones are metal because on the website it shows they come in Chrome or Black but it did not state what they're made of or if they're metal there. I don't care what metal it is either, as long as it's not radioactive :)

Looks like this site has some nice steam locomotives for a great price as well. They're bachmann, which might not be outdoorsy, but still cool looking nonetheless. At some point I will be getting a diesel USA TRAINS G locomotive because it will be a cool counterpart to my Lionel GP-whatever O gauge diesel.
 
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