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Author Topic: Best brand for model trains?  (Read 339 times)

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Offline MrsChooChoo

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Best brand for model trains?
« on: July 24, 2020, 08:15:45 AM »
Hi!

Does Hornby make anything other than OO? Mainly I am of course interested in N Gauge. I tried browsing but having found anything I am thinking no. Do you know if they have plans for the future to manufacture that?
Also for someone just starting their adventure with model trains what brand is the best, most reliable?
As you can probably tell I am not a very knowledgeable person. I want to surprise my husband with a few gifts as he just discovered that model trains are something he loved and got into it. I want to support his hobby  :)

Online Bealman

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Re: Best brand for model trains?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2020, 08:39:37 AM »
G'day from Australia, MrsChooChoo, and welcome to the NGF!  :thumbsup:

You've certainly opened the flood gates there! Be prepared for lots of replies and opinions!

It's great you want to support your husband in this venture - it's not really common.

Welcome to the forum!  :thumbsup:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Steven B

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Re: Best brand for model trains?
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2020, 09:08:05 AM »
Hornby make N Gauge models under the Arnold brand. Their current range is mostly based on locos and stock from mainland Europe. They have made the 5-BEL third rail Pullman unit for the British market but haven't followed it up with further models.

There are two main suppliers of RTR models for British N - Graham Farish and Dapol. Both have their pro's and con's. Fotunately there's not much duplication between the two ranges so you'll likely end up with stock from both. You'll find horror stories from both brands. In my experience, Farish have problems with split gears whilst Dapol are more likely to have electrical prblems. Dapol also sometimes struggle to get paint colours correct or maintain consistancy between batches.

There are a number of smaler suppliers of British N including Revolution Trains, Union Mills and Sonic Models. Union Mills make basic but bomb proof steam locos.

Revolution Trains's models are mostly crowd funded (i.e. you pay up front and wait a year or three for the model to arrive) but have generally been very well recieved.

Sonic are newcomers as a brand but is run by two very experienced design engineers with lots of N Gauge experience. So far they've only produced wagons but their first loco is due this year.

Finally, Kato have produced the original Euro-star in N, although to 1:160 scale. They're expected to do an Azuma in the near future although which of the family they will do is still unclear. Kato models are about the best you can get in my opinion.


Steven B.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2020, 12:37:32 PM by Steven B »

Offline Philip.

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Re: Best brand for model trains?
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2020, 09:08:31 AM »
What country/era is he modelling? That should gives us a starting point, welcome to the forum btw  :)
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Offline woodbury22uk

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Re: Best brand for model trains?
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2020, 09:49:23 AM »
There is one large manufacturer who makes a couple of modern UK trains. Kato is  a Japanese manufacturer which produces the Eurostar in two different colour schemes. The base train comes as an 8 coach set, and is very reliable. There are also sets including more coaches to expand the train up to 16 coaches or even 20. These are available from several UK retailers such as Hattons, Train Trax, Osborns, Gaugemaster and many more. Train Trax are specialists in Kato and can supply track and all the other bits and pieces. Gaugemaster repackage them into their own sets which are also sold through other retailers. There are new sets coming shortly. The link is to the Hattons site but all of the retailers that offer the same trains are good sellers in my experience.

https://www.hattons.co.uk/newsdetail.aspx?id=557

Mike

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Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Best brand for model trains?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2020, 10:10:13 AM »
Hello Mrs ChooChoo, and welcome to the forum

Apart from what folks say about locos, the two main types of track in use are Peco and Kato Unitrack. Peco also make extremely good wagons at a competitive price. My advice would be not to buy second hand locos unless you can 'fettle' them if needs be and avoid buying second hand track. Second hand prices can also be quite ridiculous so if you have any doubt, ask this 'collectives's' advice


Revolution Trains's models are mostly crowd funded (i.e. you pay up front and wait a year or three for the model to arrive) but have generally been very well recieved.


I would just quantify that by saying so far I've only ever paid 50% up front and the balance on despatch of the item to me by RevolutioN. It's an option.

Online ntpntpntp

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Re: Best brand for model trains?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2020, 10:22:22 AM »
@MrsChooChoo   Hello and welcome!   

I think as @philip mentioned earlier it would help to have some idea where your husband's interests lie in terms of maybe British, European, American or Japanese trains for example? Is your profile picture of the BR logo a clue?

The question of "best brand" is very subjective and based on people's own interests and experience.  For example, as a modeller of European railways I would say the best brand(s) are Minitrix, Fleischmann, Arnold, and Hobbytrain with a whole host of other smaller companies also making excellent models.  I moved away from British models back in the 80s because the European stuff was simply better quality.  To be fair, the quality of British N has improved in leaps and bounds, though personally I still think the brands I buy have the edge.
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!
https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=50050.0

Online Bealman

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Re: Best brand for model trains?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2020, 10:24:56 AM »
Revolution delivers quality models too, but you may have to wait a while. They are not 'off the shelf', so to speak.

Plus as ntp3 asks, are you worried about nationality of the trains?
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Best brand for model trains?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2020, 11:12:05 AM »
Revolution delivers quality models too, but you may have to wait a while.

But not as long as Farish or Dapol from announcement to delivery :no:

Offline acko22

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Re: Best brand for model trains?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2020, 01:31:46 AM »
Revolution delivers quality models too, but you may have to wait a while.

But not as long as Farish or Dapol from announcement to delivery :no:

Now now, lets play nice not like any of us had to wait years for a 142 or still waiting a 319... still  :laugh:

@MrsChooChoo as others say depends what country you are modelling and how accurate you want to be! But also depends on your criteria for the "best brand"

1) Pricing
2) Detailing
3) Mechanical Performance
4) Range of products

Personally it's a split for me between Revolution, Dapol and Graham Farish!

Revolution - Well they model the modern stuff I want (always a bonus), and I know how fastidious they are about detailing and fair to say up and coming company who are offering more and more as time goes on, but been crowdfunded you literally are paying to have yours made so patience is required while they get the models made, but saying that if you get on board early you say yourself money instead of waiting till it arrives in the shop!

Dapol - Price hard to beat for a good number of their range, and when they get detailing right they do a nice job but are prone to making an error in liveries and electrical issues but some of the newer stuff seems to suffer less with that issue!

Farish - Mechanically speaking the chassis on locos in my experience are generally bullet proof the only issues is split gears and well the price these days, they have jumped some what even on re-runs.

I don't have any worth while experience with the others (Kato, Union Mills, European brands) so wouldn't want to hazard a guess

That's just my thoughts on UK manufacturers, I would say I hope this aids but with others experience I will probably just add to the debate and confusion as we all have our own opinion....

 

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