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Author Topic: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?  (Read 5011 times)

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Offline d-a-n

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Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« on: May 04, 2015, 05:42:17 pm »
I went to Gaugemaster this weekend as I was working nearby in Arundel and was quite taken with a Fleischmann  shunting loco which they had for 70. I didn't buy as I couldn't see any other DR wagons which would match it and I thought I'd leave it until I got home (and look on d-m toy's website....)

My question is how do Fleischmann, Arnold and all the other continental manufacturers stack up against each other - is there a clear market leader in terms of detailling, running quality and reliability or is it just a mixed bag as it is with GraFar and Dapol?

Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2015, 06:58:59 pm »
Fleischmann, Minitrix and Arnold are the market leaders - they beat most UK locos hands down in terms of finish, detail and reliability.

S/h locos are a good buy, and EBay has bargains occasionally

EU retailers such as DM-Toys, Modellbahn Kram. And Model Ann shop lope are good suppliers to UK and cheaper than UK purchases!


Look in the section for lots of pics of luscious locos
Show your Latest Loco and Rolling Stock Purchase - Continental N
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« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 07:07:05 pm by Railwaygun »
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Offline petercharlesfagg

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2015, 07:10:14 pm »
My experience is not great or detailed but I am very impressed with the level of detail in new locomotives and rolling stock from any of the manufacturers that railwaygun suggested.

I purchased a second hand but overhauled Fleischmann 0-10-0 and the running is superb and it is far better balanced (IMO) for pulling a lot of stock!

I only wish I wasn't spending my money on so many other things otherwise I would be into German stuff in a big way!

Regards Peter.
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Offline d-a-n

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2015, 07:34:09 pm »
After traveling around Germany in 2013 by rail, something must have stuck as I keep ignoring Hattons and the like and going straight for the German stuff! It's frustrating to be in a situation where it feels like we sit back and wait for nothing of interest to come out from UK suppliers, only to find when it is released, it's nearly 20 a wagon, 25 a carriage or 130 a loco and probably doesn't run smoothly.
There seems to be a great variety of German locos and also some bargains. No trains were bought on my holiday but it seems like the right time to redress this!!

Online Ditape

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2015, 09:11:34 pm »
From my past dabbling in continental rail there is little to choose between  Fleischmann and Arnold, only to say that on the quality front both leave UK models way,way behind.
Diane Tape



Offline GScaleBruce

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2015, 09:33:26 pm »
All the major manufacturers are competent. Sometimes, you'll find a particular prototype modelled by more than one manufacturer - worth looking out for a review under those circumstances, as some models may be an older moulding than others. FWIW, I'd just be a little careful with some of the Fleischmann locos... the "entry" level models and indeed a few others still have 3 pole motors and no flywheel and, as a consequence, aren't as smooth running as more recent models. My best loco is a Brawa v160 with a 5 pole motor. But Minitrix, Arnold, Fleischmann and Brawa are all good manufacturers. Minitrix seem to be going towards the DCC market; the majority of this year's releases are only available with a chip (and at a price to match), which is a bit disappointing as a straight DC modeller!
Bruce
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Offline dil

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2015, 07:32:00 pm »
Hi d-a-n
IMHO the way it works for me its Fleischmann, Trix, Kato/Lemke, Roco and Arnold.
I haven't had any new Arnold recently, but Fleischmann in terms of running, detail and overall handling are miles ahead of the Outline UK suppliers.
I have even dropped older Fleischmann engines... :thumbs down: only for them to run perfect well when tested. Typically Fleischmann design models to be handled and the detail is good, but detailing is provided by Trix models.
They are a little more delicate for me and they also only manage second radius curves, where as Fleischmann design to run on the tightest of profi track curves.

What ever continental models you go for, you will no be disappointed.

Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2015, 09:47:20 pm »
and don't forget Liliput N (Bachmann)) and Arnold ( Hornby) - both excellent rmodels ( though Liliput is limited so far in its range)

Browse DM-Toys, Modellbahnshop-Lippe and Modellbahn Kramm for bargains, as are the Company websites for info and online catalogues.

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Offline Gordon

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2015, 11:16:50 pm »
I've been collecting European N gauge since 1971 and I agree with most comments so far, but I'm not quite in agreement about Fleischmann. Some older models have frustrating mechanisms that do not like long term disuse and have fickle mechanical design, and some very recent models are so delicate  parts fall off easily with one extraction from their box! I've already lost a windscreen wiper from my 180 SBB Re4/4II.

Minitrix and Arnold have traditionally been equally detailed but more robust than Fleischmann.

BTW I was about to clarify that Railwaygun's 'Model Ann Shop Lope' was Modellbahn Shop Lippe, but he has given the correct version in his latest post. I sympathise hugely, my computer now does the same extremely irritating auto correct (Dear computer, we may actually be wanting to type another language ...)
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Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2015, 01:00:59 am »
Please excuse spilling and punctuality!
This has been a public service announcement
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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2015, 02:53:49 am »
How do they stack up? Well, since you asked...  :D



But seriously, I can't exactly call myself an expert, but on my last trip to Germany I enquired in a model shop as to the qualities of the various (German) brands and the guy recommended Brawa. The one and only motor failure I've had was a Fleischmann model (detailed elsewhere on this forum); OTOH I recently acquired an older Fleischman model (DB BR 212) which has brass gears on the axles, which runs like a champ, and an older (1990's?) pair of ICE1 end cars which is in excellent condition for its age.
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Offline msr

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2015, 08:33:20 am »
The main manufacturers have been listed above but there are some others that are newly emerging (or re-emerging in the case of Ibertren) that I have found to be excellent for European models:

Hobbytrain
Ibertren (new series, since about 2010)
Lemke
Mabar
Mehano
Piko
Startrain

Out of this world, if you can afford it:
Fulgurex
Lemaco/Lematec (formerly Lemaco)
Minitrix Fine Art

A good place to drool is eBay.de (Spur N)

Mike

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2015, 09:46:07 am »
The Fulgurex website is worth a visit, they make locos in various gauges and their products are
like the Rolex of model trains, with Rolex type prices. Other high quality makers, though not
necessarily in N gauge are Bemo and HAG, with expensive models. I've seen quite a few
continental models in hobby shops in Switzerland and Germany and some of them have a
jewel like appearance, though not sure about running qualities.
 
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Offline msr

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2015, 02:50:04 pm »
Running qualities of those high-end models is pretty good, on a par with contemporary Fleischmann. However, they are designed for show rather than day-to-day running and generally do not like tight curves (say less than 15" radius) or rough trackwork (having fine profile wheels). Most seem to be fitted with Faulhaber motors. Those fitted with DCC decoders are pretty basic, just offering lights and DCC speed control.

Mike

Offline Les1952

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Re: Continental model manufacturers - how do they stack up?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2015, 09:09:09 pm »
I've had very mixed success with continental manufacturers over the years (twenty-odd of them).

One bugbear is that a new release will come out, and when you get it home you find it has Pizza-Cutter wheels that ground on Peco track (new V200 release from Arnold) or it still hasn't got as far as NEM coupler pockets (a recent Brawa diesel).

Another problem I have is traction tyred wheels- putting one on each bogie at the inner end - a recipe for stalling.  eBay has had a couple which just won't run through my pointwork without stalling- not good for Bo-Bo diesels....  Similarly getting the right sized replacement traction tyres when they wear out is a nightmare as some manufacturers seem to think hiding part numbers altogether (or changing them randomly after the service sheet for the loco is five years old) to be good business practice.

Then there is the vexed question of Hobbytrain railcars and traction- my newish MAN railcar won't pull itself round a curve, much less its trailer, and an older railcar with one driven axle out of 6 is about to hit the eBay trail for pretty much the same reason.

Repairs?  Forget them- I had a Minitrix Class 44 2-10-0 with a valve gear pin come adrift from the wheel TEN YEARS ago.  The pin is not available separately, you have to buy a complete valve gear (both sides) - BUT Minitrix haven't made this spare - yet.   I'm also beginning to think every different pre-Hornby Arnold steamer had a different motor.  I have two locos needing motors, neither of which appears to be a current spare and both are different of course...

Other than that, running is high-class in most cases, though old Fleischmann mechanisms take longer to get to running temperature than old Farish. The new Arnold railcars are in a class of their own, and this mechanism looks to have been used for the Brighton Belle.

To round off, on my two N-gauge layouts I have four locos happily running with valve gear on one side only as follows-
An Arnold 4-6-4 tank of great antiquity
A Minitrix Glaskastern 0-4-0T where the received wisdom (at 4 years old) was "scrap it"
A Dapol Ivatt 2-6-2T with a lot of miles under its wheels where new valve gear would have cost more than the loco is worth
A 2-year old Farish WD where a pin failed and because it has a hard-wired sound chip nobody official will repair it.

The grass isn't greener at the other end of the Channel Tunnel, just a different shade....

Les


 

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