Friends, always thought of the LGB shay as the "top dog" of LGB, at least for me yet I've never seen one or heard if they're actually good machines. Any comments/thoughts? What is a reasonable price for one these days?
From all accounts, most of the Aster/LGB stuff is trouble free. To me, they are best of both worlds: the detail of a brass model with the durability of LGB. A member of the club I belong to has a white pass 2-8-2 and it seems to run pretty well. I have seen the shay run once, but that was probably 12 years ago. As for prices, I would expect to pay in the neighborhood of $4000-$5000 for one.
I saw them in the hobby shop when they first came out. I would have expected a bit more detail on them for the price, especially given Aster's reputation for detail. Side-by-side with the Bachmann Shay, it really looked a bit unpolished. Seemed to run well enough (which certainly couldn't be said of the first B'mann units.) If you're after a brass Shay, I'd opt for the Accucraft one. It's highly detailed, super smooth in operation, and will pull stumps out of your yard. It is, however, 1:20.3, and the LGB version 1:22.5, so if you've got lots of LGB and other 1:22/1:24 equipment, the smaller loco may be a better fit.
In Response to EBT's post, the Bachmann shay has much more detail and for the price of one Aster unit, you have an entire fleet of Bachmann shays, both 2 and 3 truck. The Accucraft WSLCo #15 is gorgeuos and really does run well. However, the one I have run takes quite a bit of juice to get it rolling, about 15 volts. Even then, it still looks great.
If any of you gentlemen are interested I have one of these LGB Aster Shay's available for sale. The one I have is the #12 West Side Lumber Co. It has never been run, it has been on display only. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Dustin dzahn215 at hotmail .com or 818 807 5456