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Japanese vs US Build Quality


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On 1/5/2019 at 2:36 AM, nscaler711 said:

Gah! Who ever has that Dash 8 junk it! It's white gears are bound to split anytime now and no amount of grease will fix it...


As a US modeler though, I am quite fond of our equipment. Love the EMD SD70s all versions are unique but strong looking. And honestly that 710G just screams POWAH! 😈


As far as reliability goes for US manufactures (most are made in China) like anything, things need upkeep. 


Kato is definitely top tier for reliability. Details however is starting to lack...

I mean come on the P42 has been in production for over 15 years and look the same! I mean for $&+# sake they give us Ph. Vb and anniversary units but no BOLT ON NOSE?!? *eye twitches*



Atlas is also great, slow speed is top notch (we like seeing our trains creep) again details are starting to lack, like Kato, existing models are just reproductions from 15+years 

Only difference is better mechanisms. 


FVM... Uh knock off Kato and Atlas. But they have details you can add!! It's kind of a pain to drill out 40+ #80 holes pray to a sentient being that the bit doesn't break then go back and install grab irons that may or may not disappear into the abyss because you used too much pressure on your tweezers.

They also run like Atlas. Maybe slower. Look better than Katos.

There I said it. *Dies inside*


Intermountain has it's issues... I won't let them forget about the Zinc rot that the SD45s got... But they are good runners and look great.


Athearn... It's all over the board, my favorite from them by far are the SD70s. The 75ms I own keep up with Kato C44-9Ws so that makes me happy... 

Had a Challenger once. Puked it's driverods all over the layout. Out the door it went. 

Bachmann... Eh... You pay for what you get in some cases... Some times trainset steamers are great... Others are junk, like their diesels.

Bachmann Spectrum... Yeah still a Bachmann... 

Broadway Limited/Precision Craft Models, look amazing but have some of the worst wiring issues... Run well, well when they don't fry their boards (DCC/Sound) 



Ok this is honestly tough, as I am biased to my first N scale Locomotive... Which was a F40PH.

The life-like trains (not P2k) 

Are actually really smooth runners but are filled with lead (Pb) and look terrible next to Atlas or Kato of similar models. 

LL/Walthers P2k/Proto

Look good run well have some minor issues, and was sold to Atlas last year, (2018) everything besides structures anyway.

Well N scale for that matter.


Micro Trains Line, they borrow other brands locos and throw their stuff on it. (Yes I'm talking about the B. child that is the SW1500.)


Scale trains, Rapido and currentish line of Arnold is too new... 

Though Rapido and Scale Trains beat out all other manufactures in terms of details. 



Finally got my Athearn F59PHI to run around the layout well, with a 4-car Bombardier Bi-Level consist.  Phew.  That's a valuable trainset right there.


I like my Spectrum Dash 8.  Was the only one that would run on a greased track up the grade.  But the prototypical flywheel'd speed is irritating.


My Spectrum Doodlebug will likely need to be rebuilt with the main chassis I bought.  I tried it again but the tiny trucks and long body are causing it to short out my powerpack constantly.

Speaking of shorting out - that F40 LifeLike you mentioned?  I have one of those, too.  It's actually a good runner, but I had to thin a LOT of the Lithium grease in the gears.  It will also get a hefty dose of Never Stall when I get it in the mail.  But really - a solid steel weight just micromillimeters off the track?  Doesn't take much of a grade for it to short out on the track.  Yes, a strip of black duct tape will insulate it, but who does stuff like that?  Honestly, it's the super lightweight trailing loco that is causing derailments.  No stability!


My Atlas/Kato squeals around the track.  No amount of lube seems to quiet it.  I can't pinpoint what needs to be cleaned.


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Doed Athearn produce N scale on theur Genesis line? In HO, Genesis has been the only line I have veen able to swear by for 100% reliability.

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2 hours ago, GDorsett said:

Doed Athearn produce N scale on theur Genesis line? In HO, Genesis has been the only line I have veen able to swear by for 100% reliability.

Yes.  I believe my F59PHI is Genesis.

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If it is, it's not 100%.  1 of 2 F59PHI from the most recent run was a bad runner then died less than an hour in.  No pickup from the front truck ever.  Just got it back, haven't tested it.  The second ran fine, then 5-6 hours of use same thing, except the rear truck stopped delivering electricity and it went completely dead motor.  Sound and light stayed working.

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Had several dead locomotives from the factory, but most of my issues were DCC decoder related. Had a card randomly start shorting on me in a Broadway E8B, sent it back, they sent it back to me with a non-functional card.


At least they replaced it...


So far, I have had one issue with JP locos. I've got a Tomix ED61 that is giving odd issues.

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