Is it daft to buy rolling stock nearly 20 years old?

Started by keiron99, December 03, 2023, 07:11:43 PM

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ntpntpntp

#15
As others have said, 20 years old is still a youngster :)  I have European N models going back to the mid to late 60s, yes they are a bit crude by they have a charm.  I have no hesitation buying models from the 80s and 90s which still stand up well to scrutiny and have perfectly good mechanisms with flywheels. Some predate DCC sockets but that's not a problem as I mostly run DC anyway. Arguably some of the older mechanisms of the "quality brands" and from the days before production was outshopped to the far east are better built than some current products, plus they are easy to maintain as long as spares can be found.

The earliest models I still run all the time at exhibitions are Arnold multiple units dating from the mid 70s.  Yeah there is a newer re-tooled model which is very good but these old sets with their deeper flanges and simple spring drive are still perfectly fine on my code 55 track.

This one's had a repaint but mechanically unchanged.



Rather than worrying about the age of the models, I think it's more important to build up some knowledge of the "quality brands" versus the cheap stuff, any well known poor models to be avoided etc. For example I would avoid old Grafar, Lima, Piko, Mehano stuff from the 70s but I know if I find an Arnold, Fleischmann, Minitrix loco of a similar age it may be an older design but still reliable.
Nick.   2021 celebrating the 25th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!
https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=50050.0

joe cassidy

Don't be tempted to buy any Lone Star stuff - for collectors only :)

Portpatrick

As other suggest there is little intrinsically unwise in  buying "old" models.  They are unlikely to be up to modern standards of detail.  You must decide if that matters to you.  If buying locos it is best if you can see it running, but, say, older Farish are like old Triang/Hornby in 00.  The mechanisms are simmple, robust, easy to get at and maintain though check you can source new brushes - these  may be badly worn.  But I have had some mechanisms going on for 30 years plus.  With rolling stock I would advise being ready to replace wheelsets with modern all metal ones.  Plastic wheels tend to pick up muck and deposit it on the track.  Metal runs better and with finer flanges looks better.  Older Farish wheels are easy to replace with current versions.  Peco are now producing replacement all metal wheels for their wagons, though NTrain axles fit Peco wagons well.
 As with remaining older coaches, I have over time made a full replacement.  AS others have said, Minitrix have proved very reliable and long lasting.  with the exception of the ex GWR Syphon G which is quite impressive, I would avoid Lima.

Hiawatha

keiron talks about Kato coaches from maybe 2004 in the first post. I assume these are American coaches? The first smoothside sets from Kato came about ten years earlier (mid-90s), and they run just as well as the modern releases. The only drawback of these early smoothside and corrugated streamliner sets are that not all coaches are prototypical for all the roadnames. For example, the dome cars from the Baltimore & Ohio, Santa Fe or Southern Pacific were different to the ones from Kato as they were built by other makers.

So it is your decision to accept some differences you may not even know about – or if you want it really prototypical, then you would have to choose the later Kato sets of named trains like the City of Los Angeles, Broadway Limited or Morning Daylight. In these newer sets each car is correctly modelled after its prototype.

Other than that, Kato's plastics are durable and I have not seen any problems with shells getting brittle or warping. Certainly not with just 20 year old models, and also the first Kato F-unit releases from 1988 still look good (but the newer runs do have some modifications like lighted numbers and improved printing though).

Maybe you want to link to the set you consider? If it's an ebay buy-it-now item and is still available, then it certainly isn't priced too cheap, so we won't snap it away from you. ;)
Peter

Firstone18

Quote from: Chris in Prague on December 04, 2023, 10:26:57 AM
Quote from: Firstone18 on December 03, 2023, 10:10:56 PMI've got Graham Farish and Hornby Minitrix from the 80s, Union Mills form 2005 to last year, and many items of rolling stock from the 80s through to the early 2000s; if you like it apply Rule 1 and enjoy it!!

Seconded! As have I and the locos. have all been successfully converted to DCC.
I've fitted decoders to all my locos, and also fitted coreless motors to those with failed armatures. My old Class 47 now has a B R Lines coreless conversion, and LED White/Red lights at both ends. It runs really well and not so noisy now even though it's the old brass gears in the bogies.
Finally, after waiting over 55 years I am building a permanent layout in a purpose built shed!

gc4946

I often buy models produced over 20 years ago.
It keeps costs down and some British liveries are no longer currently available.
As long as they're in good overall condition they're welcome, even if needing servicing or refurbishment.
"I believe in positive, timely solutions, not vague, future promises"

stevewalker

Older locos and rolling stock generally have fewer fiddly bits to damage or break and often have greater weigh for decent traction. If they run well, the decision is between cost, availability and looks. I consider the looks less important (unless very poor), as you don't see all the fine detail when running and viewed from a distance anyway.

Railwaygun

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Firstone18

Quote from: Railwaygun on December 06, 2023, 06:36:26 AMYou can't go wrong with Kato!,
I don't have any Kato, but have worked on one of the class 800 power cars for a friend. he dropped it and thought he'd wrecked it, but handed me a bag of bits and asked if I could try and put it back together! I was impressed with the quality of the Kato and the way it all fitted together without screws. Very easy to see how things were arranged and fitted it all back together, amazingly no missing bits! It runs as good as new again.
Having seen some of the new Bachfar and Dapol offerings when fitting decoders for various club members, I doubt they would have survived a drop like the Kato 880 did.
Bachfar and Dapol need to up their mechanical quality and QC considerably to match Kato IMO.
Finally, after waiting over 55 years I am building a permanent layout in a purpose built shed!

Firstone18

Quote from: Portpatrick on December 04, 2023, 02:17:17 PMAs other suggest there is little intrinsically unwise in  buying "old" models.  They are unlikely to be up to modern standards of detail.  You must decide if that matters to you.  If buying locos it is best if you can see it running, but, say, older Farish are like old Triang/Hornby in 00.  The mechanisms are simmple, robust, easy to get at and maintain though check you can source new brushes - these  may be badly worn.  But I have had some mechanisms going on for 30 years plus.  With rolling stock I would advise being ready to replace wheelsets with modern all metal ones.  Plastic wheels tend to pick up muck and deposit it on the track.  Metal runs better and with finer flanges looks better.  Older Farish wheels are easy to replace with current versions.  Peco are now producing replacement all metal wheels for their wagons, though NTrain axles fit Peco wagons well.
 As with remaining older coaches, I have over time made a full replacement.  AS others have said, Minitrix have proved very reliable and long lasting.  with the exception of the ex GWR Syphon G which is quite impressive, I would avoid Lima.
Is N Train a UK or European company? I found a N Train.net site but couldn't see any wheelsets?
Finally, after waiting over 55 years I am building a permanent layout in a purpose built shed!

ntpntpntp

@Firstone18 https://n-train.net/ (your link is not correct) says  on the banner "UK designed 3D kits".  I'm sure the owner is/was a member of this forum.

Doesn't seem to be showing wheelsets on sale at the moment - could be they are batch produced and out of stock at the moment?
Nick.   2021 celebrating the 25th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!
https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=50050.0

GlenEglise

Quote from: ntpntpntp on December 06, 2023, 07:09:38 PM@Firstone18 https://n-train.net/ (your link is not correct) says  on the banner "UK designed 3D kits".  I'm sure the owner is/was a member of this forum.

Doesn't seem to be showing wheelsets on sale at the moment - could be they are batch produced and out of stock at the moment?

Contact person    Bob Davies
Email    bob@n-train.co.uk

keiron99

Thanks for all the replies and apologies for my own late response; been away in cold, snowy and beautiful Riga.

What I was looking at specifically was a set of California Zephyr coaches (they are just so cool  8).

When I messaged the seller, I didn't like the tone of his response but as it happens, since then, a couple more sets have turned up albeit a mighty 11 coaches

So that leads to another question, if I may: how long is too long?

I haven't started my layout yet, but it will be about 320cm long and 70cm deep. Is a train with 11 coaches too long? I had assumed it would be rather ridiculous...I don't plan on building a station to accommodate that, for example. 

PLD

Quote from: keiron99 on December 08, 2023, 01:31:39 PMSo that leads to another question, if I may: how long is too long?

I haven't started my layout yet, but it will be about 320cm long and 70cm deep. Is a train with 11 coaches too long? I had assumed it would be rather ridiculous...I don't plan on building a station to accommodate that, for example.

It probably does look silly running an 11 coach train into a terminal station with platforms only 3 or 4 coaches long, but there are plenty of examples where trains much longer than the platforms stop at through stations...

From a practical point of view, the limit is more about curve radii. If you are trying to pull a long train around a tight curve, performance will be affected. As a general rule, it is ideal to have the back end of the train at no more than 90o from the front as beyond that you are effectively pulling in two directions at once and can lead to lighter vehicles toppling over.

dannyboy

I have quite a few 'Kato' California Zephyr coaches. Unfortunately, I can not get to my layout at the moment, or most of my stock. I did get to an add-on set and each coach measures about 6.5 inches. If your layout is 320cm, that is about 10.5 feet, so a train of 11 coaches would be in the region of 6.5 to 7 feet, including the locomotive. It would not look silly running over a 10.5 feet length of layout, especially if some of it was hidden in tunnels or behind scenery etc. However, what you have to bear in mind is the fact that it is your layout, so you do what you are happy with.  :). Just one observation if I may - can the depth of the layout be increased a bit, say another 4 to 6 inches? As long as your nickname is not 'short arms', the extra few inches would give you a lot more to play with.  :beers:
David.
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