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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I've been researching this for a few weeks but still haven't figured it out. I understand that the different scales are to a particular railroad, but my problem is I don't know anything about the different railroads. All I know is I want the biggest train I can afford. Which is roughly under $1000. None of the manufacturers put dimensions on their products, only scale, which depends on what it's trying to model. I tend to want a steam engine so I think I've figured out that the Bachmann Spectrum 1:20.3 4-4-0 or 2-6-0 is what I want. Is this about the largest I can get without scratchbuilding? I'm more concerned with the height and length than width. I don't care about scale for my purposes at this point (that may come later) just the largest I can get for display. Thanks for any advice.
 

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In terms of sheer size the 1:29 Big Boy from USAT is really big. But it's very expensive

A Bachmann K-27 is probably your best bet. Under $1000 and about as big as commercial 1:20 gets. The aristocraft Mallett is a great looking very big engine as well, costs less. It's longer I beliove and has the standard gage look
 

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If you want a 'BIG' look, 1:20.3 could be the choice.
A large 1:29 mainline engine may be longer but it still wont be as 'BIG' looking overall.
The Bachmann K-27 or the soon release of the Bachmann 2-6-6-2 Articulated will be much bigger looking than the Bachmann mogul or american.
the Bachmann consolidation is also fairly BIG and fat looking.

With 1:20.3 there is also an aspect of detail that is missed with mainline scales which is why it is called 'Fine Scale'.

Andrew
 

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one may determine over a course of time that bigger (even for display) is not always better.....1:20.3 is large for sure, and a fine running Fn3 loco is far better than a looker that may need work to get it to operate at it's finest.

that being said...for display purposes (and running thereon) I'd prob go for a Bachmann 3 Truck Shay...plenty to see, and a pretty good proven (for all intents) runner....and the fact that many can be found for under $600!


cale
 

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If I understand you correctly, you are looking for the "WOW! Factor". All of the above are good choices but what you really need to ask yourself first is "What do I want to model?" You want steam and that's great! Do you like standard gauge or narrow gauge? That will more than anything determine which way you are going to go! The standard gauge 2-8-2's are larger than the Bachmann narrow gauge K-27 but they both give off a great "WOW" Factor! Something to consider is the rest of the train! Do you want passenger equipment and/or freight cars? What era do you want to model? Most narrow gauge is from the 1880's to the 1940's. Standard gauge models can go all the way to the late 50's!
The other thing to look at is product reliability. A model can be the most beautiful one ever conceived but if it doesn't give good performance or is prone to unreliability then it is just a "shelf queen" and will probably sour you on the whole large scale bit! Keep asking questions and opinions like you are doing but take it a couple of steps further and really get down to the "nitty gritty!" As Barry Olson is fond of saying, "There are no dumb questions." Good luck!
 

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forgot to add, if you are interested in Standard Gauge, the Aristocraft Mallet would make a nice display piece:



cale
 

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Pardon me for suggesting this, but I think you may be approaching the question from the wrong direction. I can understand wanting something impressive for display, but bigger is NOT always better... When it comes time to dust off that shelf queen you'll find that big locos also like big layouts -- generous curves, long runs, long consists... yep, real impressive. Until you factor in the costs of maintaining all that shiyut. Every hour spent leveling and cross leveling track, polishing rail, pulling weeds -- and a zillion other maintenance chores -- is an hour you won't have for something else. Great, if you enjoy that sort of stuff, but a lot of people don't.

Since you are just starting NOW is the time to ask yourself the four questions: 1. When? IE What time period interests you? Early steam? late steam? transition? 1st generation diesel? modern? 2. Where #1? What region or even foreign country do you like enough to want to model? 3. Where #2? How much space can you reasonably spare for a railroad? =or= Will you be able to get it within a reasonable timeframe? 4. How much are you willing to invest? Not just money, but time.... There's no sense in trying to build a huge layout just to run out of money halfway - or worse yet, to build it then let it rot due to not enough time or interest to maintain it.

Instead, when you answer the questions above the choice of what loco to buy THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU will start to answer itself, or at least be narrowed down to 3 or 4 good choices.

Yust my 2c, you may want change
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the suggestions. I realize I’m coming at this from the wrong direction so I’ll post a picture of my whole reason for wanting to get a train. I just wanted something to put up here, and thought a train would fit well.



Then I got the idea of cutting holes in the end and running it through. I have 17" of height to work with, hence my want for a large train to fill in that space.



In my impatience I picked this stuff up yesterday and today.

 

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Some thoughts, now that I see the situation. 1. Mr Murphy has decreed that a train will always derail at the least accessible spot. Will you be able to reach the hidden sections or have to fish with a broom? 2. what is the maximum diameter curves you can fit in the space you have? (If less than say 8 or 10 feet it will put paid to many bigger locos on the market).

My suggestion(s). Go with stainless track so you won't have to clean it as often, and rail clamps at least on the outside rail for good connection and to make sure it stays together. ... Since you stated a preference for early steam, consider an LGB Mogul (based on a Brooks C&S loco of 1880's vintage) for durability, and the fact that it will stay on even with sharper curves. Bachmann's Jackson & Sharp passenger cars (with metal wheels) are MUCH cheaper than LGB and almost as nice, at least from a few feet away. Then again the Aristocraft old time passenger cars are fairly nice too, almost as reasonably priced, and shorter..... Consider using, building, or painting "flats" (2 dimensional buildings or rock cliffs) behind the track to use up the extra height, and tunnel portals to hide the holes in the wall. Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry for the formatting, I don't know why it came out like that. That helps greatly. I'm definitely looking for that WOW factor. Both ends of that section go into the attic so it will stay dry and there is plenty of room up there. If there's a derailment I just have to go into the garage and climb up the ladder, not too big of a deal but it will be at least 45 seconds or a minute before I can get to it. Overall it looks pretty good for curves but there is one section I wonder about where it comes out and the AC ducting is there so I need to go back and measure it. The tunnels are an issue I've been thinking on but haven't figured out yet, I want to keep it sealed off so the heat/cool doesn't come in and out. Some options are a rubber flap that the train pushes through like a dog door, a proximity sensor that opens a door, or I can manually remove the doors when I want to run it. I still haven't decided on a train tunnel look or a square trim look that blends in with the house.

I was really leaning towards the Spectrum 2-6-0 Mogul, and the Jackson and Sharp Passenger cars. Tworld has a good deal on them but I haven't been able to see one in person. I'll check out the LGBs now. I hadn't paid much attention to them because the ones I've seen looked kind of toyish to me but I hear lots of good things about them. I was planning on eventually painting a sky and putting some building facades of a western town up there. I've been reading through the forums for ideas.
 

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All my equipment is narrow gauge steam. I have five engines and they are all Bachman spectrum quality. For the money you can't go wrong with Bachmann if you want old time steam equipment. Unless you can handle 8' minimum radius curves you should stay away from the bigger engines like the K27 and the newly released Mallet. You can get a lot of Bachmann equipment for $1000. Since you are keeping the train in your house you could also use inexpensive Bachmann track. This track is not usable outside as it rusts very quickly so you can find it on E-bay at low prices from people who purchase sets and sell the track.

By the way, i have the 2-6-0 ETWNC Bachmann spectrum locomotive and it is beautiful. The engine is a light blue color and everyone who visits my layout seems to gravitate to it.

Good luck.

Big John
 

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Posted By Mik on 03/01/2009 4:39 PM
Pardon me for suggesting this, but I think you may be approaching the question from the wrong direction. I can understand wanting something impressive for display, but bigger is NOT always better... When it comes time to dust off that shelf queen you'll find that big locos also like big layouts -- generous curves, long runs, long consists... yep, real impressive. Until you factor in the costs of maintaining all that shiyut. Every hour spent leveling and cross leveling track, polishing rail, pulling weeds -- and a zillion other maintenance chores -- is an hour you won't have for something else. Great, if you enjoy that sort of stuff, but a lot of people don't.

Since you are just starting NOW is the time to ask yourself the four questions: 1. When? IE What time period interests you? Early steam? late steam? transition? 1st generation diesel? modern? 2. Where #1? What region or even foreign country do you like enough to want to model? 3. Where #2? How much space can you reasonably spare for a railroad? =or= Will you be able to get it within a reasonable timeframe? 4. How much are you willing to invest? Not just money, but time.... There's no sense in trying to build a huge layout just to run out of money halfway - or worse yet, to build it then let it rot due to not enough time or interest to maintain it.

Instead, when you answer the questions above the choice of what loco to buy THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU will start to answer itself, or at least be narrowed down to 3 or 4 good choices.

Yust my 2c, you may want change








Mik:

Rarely have I read such a cogent post.

Les
 

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Posted By TrainHigh on 03/01/2009 8:34 PM
I just wanted something to put up here, and thought a train would fit well.

Then I got the idea of cutting holes in the end and running it through. I have 17" of height to work with, hence my want for a large train to fill in that space.

I just want it to sit up there and run through in a loop when I turn it on. (kind of like that trolley on Mr. Rodgers) I had seen big Christmas trains and that’s where my research started.


But now the more I learn the more interested I am in it.

//// Uh-huh. This is how the hobby so often gets a new member, "The more I learn...." (In no way casting aspersions!). I've been involved in several hobbies: competion shooting, hobby blacksmithing (except I made a fair amount of money doing it), Ham radio--and the one that leaves room for the most expansion, mentally and in real life, is model RRing. I started with a 1948 Lionel. And I never quite forgot it.

There are so many different aspects connected to this hobby, I doubt if one can ever master all aspects of it. But you can have one heckuva lot of fun trying!

By all means, if you want to start with a 'big 'un', do it. If you reflect a bit and decide you'd rather try Mr. Roger's trolley, by all means, do that. Just recognize up front that, the more you learn, the more your aspirations might or will change. In other words, the larger your horizons will grow.

But, go for it!



Les
 

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A rubber flap could get hooked up with the consist and will be a problem if you want to reverse halfway through.
Could be the cause of derailments.
After many run throughs it could scratch the front and top of the train. Goodby mogul whistle.
A better but not perfect solution would be a curtain made with many overlapping thin streamers like on refridgerated shop doors.
The strips would have to be heavy enough to resist the rising heat blowing them partialy open.
You could make actuated barn doors triggered by gravity, reed switches or the like but it would not be a fail proof solution and could be more of a problem than it's worth.
I wonder if you could stop heat rising through the portals by a very small fan at the end of short tunnels behind the portals to create a small amount of pressure to the room and restrict the passive flow of warm air - Hmmm ... Would have to fiddle with this to get balanced but it would be simple and not get caught up or damage the important bit.

A sheet of glass will fish tank the recess, keep the dust off and heat from escaping but who likes trains behind glass?

Andrew
 

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Cool idea!

Did you mention the radius of the curves you will have? Generally the bigger the loco, the bigger the curves it needs. 8 feet is the minimum for a lot of big engines. Mik's argument for an LGB engine is a good one--they are very durable and engineeered for tight curves. I'd also go for stainless track since it will be hard to clean up there.


I think the Bachmann Annie is the best deal in large scale. It's not expensive, it has great detail, it can be bought in a set with cars, and it has big, showy proportions. Not as big as a K27, and not as detailed, but it would work as "proof of concept" and then you could decide if you want to get something bigger. The newest versions are robust and well designed, they take tight curves (down to 4 feet) well, and if you decide you really love it there are lots of upgrade paths.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the ideas. I've had several hobbies in my life and this one so far seems a little more addicting than the others. I already have so many plans, but one thing at a time. I didn't think about having to reverse halfway through the rubber flap or damaging the engine. I suppose the easiest thing is to just put a sliding cover up there and remove it to run. But the glass or plexiglass is an interesting idea, it would turn it more into a display. I ended up buying some Bachmann track and power unit on ebay, and I'm still shopping and deciding on a locomotive. I think I can get by with some decently sized curves, but I'll know more once I get the track and lay it out. I think it came out of a white and yukon set.

I did alot of research on the Annie today. I really like that setup and think it's the best looking style for me, but I want a Spectrum since they are larger. Still looking at the 2-6-0 and 4-4-0. I'm still trying to research the cars too. I have seen some Spectrum Jackson Sharp cars in ads but I can't find them in my 2009 Bachmann catalog. I want the setup with 4 passenger cars, baggage, etc with track lighting. The green ones but I'm not sure which railroad yet.
 

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Posted By TrainHigh on 03/03/2009 11:54 PM
Thanks for the ideas. I've had several hobbies in my life and this one so far seems a little more addicting than the others. I already have so many plans, but one thing at a time. I didn't think about having to reverse halfway through the rubber flap or damaging the engine. I suppose the easiest thing is to just put a sliding cover up there and remove it to run. But the glass or plexiglass is an interesting idea, it would turn it more into a display. I ended up buying some Bachmann track and power unit on ebay, and I'm still shopping and deciding on a locomotive. I think I can get by with some decently sized curves, but I'll know more once I get the track and lay it out. I think it came out of a white and yukon set.

I did alot of research on the Annie today. I really like that setup and think it's the best looking style for me, but I want a Spectrum since they are larger. Still looking at the 2-6-0 and 4-4-0. I'm still trying to research the cars too. I have seen some Spectrum Jackson Sharp cars in ads but I can't find them in my 2009 Bachmann catalog. I want the setup with 4 passenger cars, baggage, etc with track lighting. The green ones but I'm not sure which railroad yet.


Uh, not sure if we are on the same page here, but perhaps it's something that you should know afore ye go spending lot of $$$$...

The 'Annie' is a fine-looking and good-running model, and will easily handle the matching[/i] J&S cars - mine does it all day at exhibitions, with six or seven in tow. It is scaled at around 1/22.5, but looks good - a couple of hundred thousand of us can't all be wrong!


However, Bachmann's 'Spectrum' models are to a scale of 1/20.3. Now, I don't know about any Bachmann Jackson & Sharp 'Spectrum' standard passenger cars, but I DO know about the AccuCraft models. In the plastic version, they are around 30 inches long - each- and weigh in at around six pounds - each - and you are hoping to have a train of five of them hauled by a Bachmann 2-6-0 or 4-4-0 loco somewhere up in mid-air, as far as I can make out. With the greatest of respect, Sir, that ain't going to happen.

The only 'Spectrum' loco that has a chance of hauling THIS consist is the K-27, and for that you are going to need some pretty large sweeping curves, too. THAT loco alone weighs around 18 pounds.

IMO, you need to do some thinking here, Sir.

Best

tac
http://www.ovgrs.org/
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok that is something I didn't know! I didn't think these engines would have a problem pulling that so I'm glad you told me. I have seen advertised at least three places Bachmann Spectrum cars, the model numbers are 89091, 89092, 89093, 89094. I would post the links to the online stores but don't know if that's allowed here. I thought they came in 4s Coach, Combine, Full Baggage, and Observation and they modeled the shorter 34' or 36' cars. If I end up getting a larger loco that would be okay, I don't care how the curves look since it will be in the attic and I won't see them but when I get some track laid down I'll let you guys know how wide they are.

I'm trying to do all the thinking I can because this is a big chunk of change for me, but I'm having to hit a million websites here and there for specific questions I have (the more I learn) and I'm relying on people here to help. Thank you. I'm going to a brick and mortar store this weekend and if I can't figure out a larger loco solution by then I may end up getting an Annie to start out with.
 

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Posted By TrainHigh on 03/04/2009 6:52 AM Ok that is something I didn't know! I didn't think these engines would have a problem pulling that so I'm glad you told me. I have seen advertised at least three places Bachmann Spectrum cars, the model numbers are 89091, 89092, 89093, 89094. I would post the links to the online stores but don't know if that's allowed here. I thought they came in 4s Coach, Combine, Full Baggage, and Observation and they modeled the shorter 34' or 36' cars. If I end up getting a larger loco that would be okay, I don't care how the curves look since it will be in the attic and I won't see them but when I get some track laid down I'll let you guys know how wide they are.

I'm trying to do all the thinking I can because this is a big chunk of change for me, but I'm having to hit a million websites here and there for specific questions I have (the more I learn) and I'm relying on people here to help. Thank you. I'm going to a brick and mortar store this weekend and if I can't figure out a larger loco solution by then I may end up getting an Annie to start out with.


Ahah!!!!!! I have just had a look at the passenger cars you note, and have found that they are NOT 'Spectrum' - the name given to Bachmann's 1/20.3 Large Scale models. For some reason, this title has been put on the ordinary standard Bachmann large-scale cars that match the 'Annie' in scale. I have twelve of them to haul behind my two 'Annies' - six each for White Pass and D&RGS. They'll still look good behind the 'Spectrum' Mogul and American though, as these are pretty small locos in real life.


It really would help here if somebody could post comparative shots of an AMS Fn3 and the Bachmann J&S car to help our friend out.

tac http://www.ovgrs.org/
 
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