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ICE: Kato or something else?


Kiran

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For anyone on the fence (like me), Amazon has the Arnold Ice3 NS for $254 right now. I admit I am tempted in spite of the model's flaws. 

I get the sense that this is the least popular of the Arnold Ice3 releases from last year.

https://www.amazon.com/ARNOLD-HN2417-8-Unit-Highspeed-Locomotive/dp/B07PGH6CN3

 

AmiAmi has the Renfe version for a bit more. 

https://www.amiami.com/eng/detail/?gcode=RAIL-26635

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It's a good price if the rail company doesn't matter to you. No reason it should. I'd prefer DB to match my other ICEs. I've really been on the fence about this model. While I'd rather not buy a mechanically flawed model, it would be nice to have the 1, 2, 3, 4 set. But the upcoming ICE T is close enough for me. 

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5 hours ago, 1954G said:

For anyone on the fence (like me), Amazon has the Arnold Ice3 NS for $254 right now. I admit I am tempted in spite of the model's flaws. 

I get the sense that this is the least popular of the Arnold Ice3 releases from last year.

https://www.amazon.com/ARNOLD-HN2417-8-Unit-Highspeed-Locomotive/dp/B07PGH6CN3

 

AmiAmi has the Renfe version for a bit more. 

https://www.amiami.com/eng/detail/?gcode=RAIL-26635

 

 

That is interesting.  Comes from Amazon's UK store and they are offering free shipping to the US.

 

I don't mind a non-correct technical model in terms of doors or whatever since I am not a rivet counter who knows any better 🙂   It looks good and evokes the emotions in my of rail travel in Europe.   (No criticism if it does matter to you -- each person has their own criteria and interests).

 

And having an NS version would be cool to run with the other stuff (does not preclude getting a DB version at some point in the future).

 

My only problem is I am on moratorium 😞    No new trains for me!

 

This is actually a good deal for a "local" purchase and it should mean your Chase Amazon card discount (kickback) would apply as well since you are buying from the US Amazon.  Buying the same set from MSL in Germany at the export non-VAT price is 264,63 Euro plus 27,50 Euro shipping.

 

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2 hours ago, chadbag said:

 

I don't mind a non-correct technical model in terms of doors or whatever since I am not a rivet counter who knows any better 🙂   It looks good and evokes the emotions in my of rail travel in Europe.   (No criticism if it does matter to you -- each person has their own criteria and interests).

 

 

I also don't really care about that stuff. I like quality details that "look real", but I don't care if they're exactly the same as the actual train. However.....as far as I know, the problems with this model per @Yavianice are regarding how it runs. It's apparently a crappy running model. That I very much do care about as I like to play with my trains as well as look at them. 

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Once it arrives, I will give my impressions of how the Arnold ICE 3 NS runs (temporary layout based on Kato V12 track with incline and V13).  It is unfortunate that Yavianice ended up with a bit of a lemon, but the Amazon reviews and Youtube comments for this model seemed positive. I am cautiously optimistic.

 

As an aside, I checked out the price of a new ICE 1 from official dealers in the US and EU. Now I understand the idea of buying a Fleischmann ICE secondhand from ebay.de and using a proxy service. Or maybe getting one of the "Amtrak" sets (937440).

 

Is the latest release (744002) a meaningful improvement over earlier ones like 7440?

 

 

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3 hours ago, 1954G said:

 It is unfortunate that Yavianice ended up with a bit of a lemon

3 lemons, in fact. Over different releases and paint variants. And the construction issues are something that has to do with the overall product, not that I rolled bad numbers on the "reliable model plz" gamble. E.g. the couplers from hell.

 

In my opinion reviews of european model trains in general are often quite biased, because most seem happy that someone is making these trains rather than not at all. I mean, most european modelers have no clue about japanese trains and how reliable those are, so that does not really make a fair comparison because european trains in all honesty are a ... bit crap and overpriced.

 

3 hours ago, 1954G said:

Is the latest release (744002) a meaningful improvement over earlier ones like 7440?

Expect better LEDs but otherwise the same construction (and brand new engines compared to used ones, not different, just new). The downside of the 744002, as I mentioned earlier, is that it is impossible to make a prototypical composition than with the older ICE 1's. The Minitrix in that aspect is better, but IMO the model looks worse and it is much more expensive.

 

Personally I would wait until someone releases the refurbished, reliveried, and shortened ICE 1's.

 

That or pick up an Amtrak model. I have that one because it is not too long, not too expensive (especially if you are lucky), and is a prototypical composition which you can get in one go rather than having to scour ebay for ages hoping you find A: the correct cars (and correctly labeled), B: for the right price, C; in real advertised honest good condition (because european modelers are not as careful with their stuff as japanese modelers are).

 

 

Edited by Yavianice
corrected here and there.
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38 minutes ago, Yavianice said:

because European trains in all honesty are a... bit crap and overpriced.


😄

You don't say. When did you last buy an European train/locomotive? is often what pops in my mind when we complain about a slightly noisy motor from Kato, Tomix, or MA.

And the focus on DCC and sound doesn't help on the overpriced side.

Edited by disturbman
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On 3/19/2021 at 4:58 AM, Yavianice said:

That or pick up an Amtrak model. I have that one because it is not too long, not too expensive (especially if you are lucky), and is a prototypical composition which you can get in one go rather than having to scour ebay for ages hoping you find A: the correct cars (and correctly labeled), B: for the right price, C; in real advertised honest good condition (because european modelers are not as careful with their stuff as japanese modelers are).

I ended up going with the Amtrak ICE 1 and am pleased with it. For being 25+ years old, it runs well enough. The non-powered locomotive is surprisingly quite heavy--if it was lighter or had lower rolling resistance (already applied lubricant, no change), I think the train would run even better. But as it is, the train can still make it up the incline on my Kato V12-based temporary layout without stalling or spinning its wheels. It does take a bit more voltage than a comparable Kato or Tomix train, though I suppose this makes sense since the box specifies DC 14V. The only other Fleischmann loco I have, a 20 year old BR110, exhibits similar behavior. 

 

Aesthetically the model is 10/10. The level of detail (printing and the tooling itself) is excellent by today's standards, let alone those of the early 90s. 

I'm trying to think of a shinkansen of comparable quality released at the same time. Perhaps the Tomix 400 series?

 

I paid under $270 for a train in very good condition; at that price I feel I got my money's worth. But I also think that buying a brand new Fleischmann ICE 1 isn't such a bad idea. Running the Amtrak with other European trains does require a bit of "suspension of disbelief"--this is probably why the Amtrak version costs less than the more-common version with Deutsche Bahn logos. 

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1 hour ago, 1954G said:

But I also think that buying a brand new Fleischmann ICE 1 isn't such a bad idea. 

Just remember:

  • The new Fleischmann ICE 1 cannot be purchased in a prototypical formation
  • They use the same mold now as they did for the old Amtrak version
  • ICE 1 is currently being refurbished to a new, shorter formation, which nobody has modeled yet.

 

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Having run both my secondhand Fleischmann ICE 1 "Amtrak" and my new Kato ICE 4, I would now like to share my impressions of Arnold's ICE 3.

I ended up purchasing the ICE 3 NS type 406, though my comments should hold true for its Arnold siblings (Deutsche Bahn and Renfe).

 

The good: Smooth motor, bright LEDs, adequate lubrication applied by the factory, good low-speed operation, climbs the incline (Kato V12) on my temporary layout without issue, unique coupling system functions as intended.

 

The bad: I was aware before purchase that the model does not have an interior to save costs. But my example had minor quality control issues too: one of the rooftop surge arresters was not installed correctly (will try reinstalling later), and the printed red line on one of the carriages was a bit scuffed. The packaging was sealed so I'm guessing this was a factory error.

 

Overall sentiment: Somewhat positive. It's a good runner, with smoother operation than my Fleischmann ICE 1 and brighter headlights. This is the difference between brand new parts and a model 25 years old. But Kato's ICE 4 outclasses both Arnold and Fleischmann in smoothness, noise, and pulling power. It's tough to compete with dual power cars (Kato should learn from this and offer dual power cars on its 16-car shinkansen).

The cost-cutting of the Arnold (no interior, QC nitpicks) was a bit of a let-down. At the same time, the Minitrix ICE 3 is apparently on another level of cost cutting (non-functional headlights).

So if you want to own an ICE 3, Arnold's offering wins by default.

 

But if you simply want an ICE, then Kato's ICE 4 is the best running option and a great value, and Fleischmann's ICE 1 is a very good runner with impeccable detailing (if my 25-year-old example runs well, I am assuming that newly-produced Fleischmann ICE 1 motors run even better).

Edited by 1954G
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Well, and as I mentioned before, the Arnold version is incorrect (the DB version is correct).

 

As for upcoming models, the Europe version is correct, while the eco livery is incorrect. Seems someone made a whoopsie and accidentally switched the Eco and NS version.

 

glad however that you don’t have a problem with the engine like I have had on 2 of them. There seem to be many more QC issues on this thing.

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Thank you for the warning. The Europa was the one I was interested in anyway, if I can find it for a good price through Amazon again.

If a bargain does not materialize I'll just enjoy what I have for the next couple of years and await a Velaro D / Velaro e320.

 

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Unfortunately I spoke too soon in declaring the Arnold ICE 3 a good runner. Last week it suddenly lost power and runs only sporadically with a nasty grinding sound. :sad1:

Removing the power car's body ("shell") is not so simple. I'll probably end up creating a separate topic for that once I have more time to troubleshoot. 

One can't order spares without first diagnosing the issue.

 

I think I'll stick to Fleischmann and Kato for my European trains from now on. 

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2 hours ago, 1954G said:

Removing the power car's body ("shell") is not so simple.

Be careful not breaking the harmonica and most of all the 'tabs' that hold the shell together to the chassis. Those are very fragile and can't be replaced without exchanging the chassis plastic. I have almost broken one when opening it super carefully.

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I have to say that most of my Arnold by Hornby trains and locomotives are rather cheap feeling and running compared to my Fleischmann and Minitrix and any Japanese ones, and compared against my old used Arnold pre-Hornby trains as well.  I guess their quest to cut costs by offloading to bottom dweller Chinese manufacturers has consequences.

 

I have a few Hornby era Arnold locomotives and they all are rather cheap feeling and not without problems.  My Hornby era Arnold rolling stock is fine, for the smaller amount I have seen and own.

 

I'd buy the Arnold by Hornby only if they offered something no one else did that I really wanted.

 

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The ICE Arnold is quite a different beast than their usual offerings. It has not changed since the first iteration, so it is still a flawed design (couplers, inaccessibility of the motor car, no interior, sub-par lighting effects).

 

Fleischmann on the other hand really decreased in quality over the last few years, which makes me more hesitant to buy them. In that aspect I am happier with Arnold, except for their outdated ICE design.

Minitrix is just too expensive for what you get, and obviously they fired their CAD designers since they re-release the same model in different liveries mostly.

Edited by Yavianice
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Glad they've worked out for you.  My Arnold by Hornby locomotives are far inferior in build quality and design compared to my Minitrix and Fleischmann (bought new, not my older used ones).  Cheap pot metal castings that look like dog dung (vs cheap pot metal castings that look finished), faulty wiring, non-solid feeling, and parts that easily come off and get lost when trying take it apart (weird ways of holding the shell on etc).  (To be fair, the last point also applied to some MInitrix I have where buffers etc were easily lost and come off easy, but were never used to hold the shell on).

 

(Also to be fair, I only have a few of the Arnold Hornby locomotives -- most of my Arnold are older German, pre Hornby, bought used)

 

Edited by chadbag
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