The last week in 2011 is our anniversary, and this year my wife finally got me what I wanted. Cash to buy something at my LHS, Locomotion Hobby in Rome, NY.
What I ended up purchasing was an Atlas O Susquehanna Boxcar and a Lionel Merchant Dispatch steel-sided reefer.
Well, when I got home, I was more than pleased with the high level of details on both of these cars, and it blows nearly everything else I have out of the water (except the Lionel Die-Cast NYC Hopper).
I now see that Atlas calls their detailed line "Trainman" and/or "Steam Era Classic"... Is there a "series" name for the Lionel detailed cars, or is it hit & miss?
And Lionel's "scale" stuff is called standard-"O". Their non scale stuff is called "Traditional".
As for which of Lionel's std-O models are more detailed, really depends. Since about 2002 Lionel has been making more and more scale super-detailed cars. Here is a list of a few:
- Unibody Tanker (older car but still nice) - Cylindrical Hopper (same as atlast, all plastic, but very nice) - 44 Ton Stock Car (with cows) - PS1 Boxcar - PS2 Hopper (2 & 3 bay versions) - PS4 Flatcar - PS5 Gondola - Husky Stacks - Tank Train tankers - The die-cast hoppers you mentioned - Double Door box car with End-doors - Mechanical Reefer - Steel reefer - Some other wooden reefer - 40ft flat car - Ethanol Tankers - ACF 3 & 4 bay hoppers (the newer aluminum ones) - EV Caboose - Bay window caboose - A bunch of other cabeese - and many more
I think their latest catalogs only contain these super fine models in the Std-O section.
A few years ago Atlas bought the O Scale division of Intermountain. These were pretty much the most detailed mass produced kits at that time. Intermountain also produced ready to run versions of the kits with either 2 or 3 rail trucks. The kits contained both 2 and 3 rail trucks. Atlas "hardened" the kits with metal detail parts in place of the fragile Intermountain parts and eliminating a few of parts that were easily damaged. If you are looking for maximum detail the Intermountain cars are the ones. BTW in the early '90s K-Line offered a scale line using Intermountain cars minus some of the fragile detail.
Here is an Intermountain reefer made from a kit for comparison to your car:
Just my thoughts but, before you get too caught up in the Atlas "Master line" freight cars, please do NOT overlook the latest up-dated freight cars in the MTH Premier line. I have stopped purchasing the Atlas O Master line cars for three reasons:
1) They are simply too expensive for their latest announcements.
2) Much of the Atlas O "add-on" details are PLASTIC and break off too easily. The MTH cars are now comming with "add-on" details made of metal (brass?), and are MUCH more sturdy.
3) In order to body mount Kadee #805 couplers to avery single Atlas car I own, I had to re-drill the holes in their underframe so as not to have the Kadee coupler and box assembly sticking out past the car end sill by almost 1/4 inch (I'm not talking about cushioned underframe cars here, just simple "steam era" freight cars). Not only do the MTH cars come with the mounting holes in the correct location for Kadee couplers, MTH also includes the correct thickness shim pad for the Kadee coupler mounting.
When you start fixing pilots and replacing the Lobster-claw couplers with Kadees. It's a slippery slope from then. Your older cars won't be up to standards, so you will start replacing molded-on details, then you will notice that your locomotives don't have separate lift rings so you will replace those, and while your working on it you will extend the handrails. You will then replace the non-roadname specific details and buy multiple copies of one engine and change the numbers. By that point either you will be out of money or you will go to 2-rail.
It doesn't, but once you start focusing on things like "Highly-Detailed" cars and engines you've automatically limited what you buy.
Still there's enough out there that you can spend as much as you want. I have an Atlas O ARA 1932 boxcar painted for Seaboard Air Line and it is beautiful, clearly my favorite boxcar so far. Every time I put it on the track I stop for a second to admire it.
My favorite cars are tank cars. Right now I have only 6-7...I must get more
(I'm even thinking of getting one in G scale just to display it)
Refine, modify, scale wheels, fixed pilots, Kadee couplers... all of that... and you still have the center 3rd rail to accept mentally.
I started down that slope several years ago: When my 3 rail stuff started edging closer and closer to "scale"... I reached a point that I was no longer able to accept the 3rd rail. Frustrated, I switched to scale S (not S Hi Rail) and love its size and proportions... but not too crazy about having to "seriously" model in order to complete most projects. (i.e. Assemble kits, or modify models, adding details, installing DCC/Sound components, painting/decaling/weathering, etc.) I find my modeling "energy" doesn't sustain month after month for me for such modeling. I have to take looong breaks.
I've added 3 rail back to my reportoire of trains... BUT... I'm staying well within my 3 rail "comfort zone" and "playing trains" as opposed to making the attempt to make them as realistic as possible. Hopefully this approach works for me.
Agreed, this gives me 3 basic mediums that I indulge in when the mood strikes:
* V scale for my 1880's - 1900's kick.
* S scale for my scale itch.
* Traditional 3 rail for "playing".
BUT... I hope it works for me. We'll see.
Careful on how much you inch toward that slippery slope, your findings may be the same as mine!
Originally posted by Lucas Liska: ...and buy multiple copies of one engine and change the numbers. By that point either you will be out of money or you will go to 2-rail.
Uh ohh! I've already done this. **** Lionel, why couldn't they just make multiple road numbers of NYC ALCo RS11s? Then I wouldn't have 3! Or then again, maybe 4, like I have with their GP7s and 9s.
Still trying to find more TMCC H16-44s, and as long as Lionel still has dummmy shells in stock, there'll be 3 of those eventually, too. The other thing is why can't I sell the non-TMCC frames with left-over shells? Like that SP Kodachrome frame and shell? The trucks went to a Lionel GP7 #1997, TMCC and Railsounds went to a NYC 7420.
MARIO=BE CAREFULL PLACING YOUR ATLAS FREIGHT CARS BACK IN THEIR STROFOAM INSERTS ESPECIALLY ON THEIR MASTERLINE BOXCARS,INSERTS HAVE A NOTCH ONLY ON ONE SIDE FOR THE BRAKEWHEEL THAT STICKS OUT ON BACK OF THE CAR.YOU WILL FIND OUT FAST HOW DELICATE ATLAS DETAILS BREAK.I HAVE SEVERAL ATLAS FREIGHT CARS AND CUT A SMALL NOTCH IN THE STROFOAM FOR THE BRAKE WHEEL TO FIT IN THE BOX SO NO DAMAGE OCCURS.A RAZOR BKNIFE DOES A NICE AND EASY FIX. HOW DO YOU LIKE THE KLINE SCALE HUDSON?HAVE YOU LOOKED INTO PRE-LIONEL SCALE NYC FREIGHT CARS. MTH PREMIER FREIGHT CARS ARE NICELY DETAILED ALSO.LIONEL SWCALE PS1 BOXCARS ARE REAL WINNERS.JOE
I love the k-Line hudson... Its got plenty of detail, just wish it was tmcc, but hopefully I can add that later. I'm sure I'll be posting on instructions. Its Signalsounds now, so hopefully it'll just be a tmcc/r2lc board swap and add the railsounds. But, I bet its not. We'll see when I open her up. I can no way afford a VL Hudson, so the $290 for the 5344W was well worth it. I can't wait to see the 1838CC! I think my favorite wheel arrangements are Hudson, Mikado, Mohawk, Berkshire and Niagara... In that order. I'm keeping an ear to the rail for more detailed Mohawks, but they're not cheap. As for diesels, I'm a sucker for ALCos, RS11a, PAs, FAs and RS3s are on top, followed closely by EMD's FTs, F3s, GP7/9s and F7s, and E7/8s. Wait! Don't forget FM Trainmasters and H16-44s, oh, and Baldwin Sharks... Oh and... I'm just a very BIG KID in a NYC candy store.
I also just got my first Traiman cars. They were more detailed than I thought, but those grab irons left a lttle to be desired. Maybe if I'm careful, I'll be able to add separate ones over top of them.
What I ended up purchasing was an Atlas O Susquehanna Boxcar and a Lionel Merchant Dispatch steel-sided reefer.
Atlas makes a bunch of O scale box cars. Including all the Masterline (both steam era and modern) and Trainman box cars Atlas makes about 18 or 19 different box cars. If you are modeling the 1940s or 50s you will have plenty to chose from just from Atlas. All are well decorated and the master line cars are highly detailed.
The Lionel 40 foot steel sided ice reefer is also a highly detailed and well decorated car. I will second the comment above about the Standard O line freight cars introduced by Lionel since about 2002, they are all very nice.
And I will also second the comment above from hot water. MTH is making some of the best freight cars out there. Atlas, Lionel and MTH all make 40 foot steel sided reefers and double sheathed USRA box cars. I have at least one steel reefer from each manufacturer. Detail is close on all of them. Atlas is the heaviest and Lionel the lightest. MTH has the best price and I own the most of them. On USRA double sheathed box cars it isn't as close. MTH has the best model and the best price too.
The MTH freight cars introduced over the last decade including double and single sheathed USRA box cars, AAR box cars, steel sided reefers, hoppers, drop bottom gondolas and CA-1 caboose are among the best O scale late steam era freight cars out there. And some of the older steam era MTH freight cars like the flat cars, 52 foot gondola and the 50 foot automobile fox car have received detail upgrades.
We have three manufacturers that all offer some outstanding models. It has taken me a year or two of studying to begin to catch up on what is out there and I am hardly an expert. With dozens of basic models and hundreds of paint schemes collecting just the Atlas, Lionel or MTH scale box cars made in the last decade is a task that could overwhelm even the most fanatic 6464 box car aficionado. And then there are the reefers, tank cars, hoppers......
Glad to see you got the "scale" bug. I bought the Lionel 6464 type cars for years as that's all thet were available. When Atlas came out with their Master Line Steam Era rolling stock I was hooked. It also forced the MTH and Lionel to step up their game and come out with better detailed, scale proportioned cars of their own. Anyway, I ditched all my old stuff a while agao in favor of the scale cars and never looked back.
And there lies the rub... I don't want to get rid of all my older rolling stock, like the 8 Pacemaker boxcars. And I can't afford to build a whole train of MTH Pacemaker boxcars, right now. Someday, yes.
I've seen BluelineC4's video on "Reefer Madness", and can't fathom the number of Atlas reefers that they have. I mean there's 100 just in the train alone!
Someone very influential asked me once, "Why do engines outsell cars...?" I finally believe its because of the lack of road numbers.
Well, I'm on my way to Indy, sitting in O'Hare... I'll have to look up some hobby shops when I get there.
Thank you everyone! Seriously, this is a fun topic!
WHEN DOES IT END-WHEN YOU ATTEND A 12 STEP PROGRAM WITH THE rest of us. good news for you-nyc never had a trainmaster. keep your eyes out for lionel scale milk cars-nyc picked up a lot of these cars along their route.highly detailed especially inside with 2 huge milk tanks connected together.joe