Curious how others feel about this. I actually really prefer plastic passenger cars to aluminum. I have plastic and aluminum cars from Lionel, Golden Gate Depot, and K-Line plus plastic cars from Atlas and MTH and in all cases think the detail and overall look of the plastic cars is better. To me the detail is a lot crisper and the contours look more accurate. The cost is also a nice benefit of plastic cars. 

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I agree, I think the aluminum cars with their plastic cap ends just don't look right. It's kind of a throwback to the first aluminum cars from American Model Toys. They forced Lionel to come out with their longer aluminum cars. It never stopped after that. DonAMT_SFlakeUnknown

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As much as they try to get plastic to look like metal, they can't do it. For streamliners, I like metal. I also like the passenger cars with silhouettes. Not as much as the ones with interior detail, but I still think they're nice.

Gerry

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For the heavyweight passenger cars, I prefer "plastic", as all my scale length Golden Gate Depot heavyweights are "plastic" (ABS). For the streamline passenger sets, I prefer aluminum, as my K-Line ESE train, as well as my SP Daylight set from Sunset/3rd Rail/GGD, are aluminum and are extremely nice for detail and tracking ability.

I prefer the highly detailed versions of aluminum cars. And with cars that were prototypically unpainted metal, like Santa Fe, CZ, Southern, and others, it's no contest. Aluminum construction wins hands down. The only way to imitate metal is with metal.

I have Aluminum passenger cars from Lionel from the 80's to the early 2000. There is just something about Aluminum I really like. 

As breezinup said: metal is the only way imitate metal.

Dave

Last edited by david1

I love passenger equipment, so I like both aluminum and plastic.  But I prefer aluminum for streamliners.

For me it mostly depends on what road name I'm after.  Sometimes they may only be available in one or the other material.  I have some road names in both aluminum and plastic.  If I were to wait until I could have all aluminum, it may be years before I'd see a particular road name if ever!

That's not an insult, that is just a fact of life!

Brian

President, Chief Executive Officer

Penn American Railroad

"Serving the Basement"

 

Northern Central High Railers (Western Division)

 

Eat, Sleep, Run Trains, Repeat !

Hot Water posted:

For the heavyweight passenger cars, I prefer "plastic", as all my scale length Golden Gate Depot heavyweights are "plastic" (ABS). For the streamline passenger sets, I prefer aluminum, as my K-Line ESE train, as well as my SP Daylight set from Sunset/3rd Rail/GGD, are aluminum and are extremely nice for detail and tracking ability.

I pretty much agree.  I don't own any streamlined cars, but I've looked at a lot of them and handled a lot of them, and I find that only smooth metal actually looks like smooth metal. 

On the other hand, the detail on my Atlas heavyweight cars is great, and I don't see how any metal cars could match them for fine fidelity.

The prewar metal passenger cars are nice along with the more modern plastic ones like them both.

 

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Once again, "different strokes for different folks" applies here. I do agree that the very fine scale plastic heavyweights look good!

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

This is an interesting discussion.  I do like aluminum passenger cars a lot, but the reality of the manufacturing process is that detail in plastic is far superior when the tooling is done correctly.  

Having said that, 80% of my scale passenger cars are aluminum.  However, if more viable scale cars were to come out in plastic, I'd certainly consider them. 

Jonathan

 

I have to admit - the plastic GGD heavyweights have better and crisper detail than my PSC brass.  Still, my hobby is not plastic.

I bet it is the same reason my spouse does not buy plastic lamps.

What its made of doesn't matter to me, its how prototypically accurate it is. There are many examples of plastic cars being closer to prototype than metal ones.

As for finish, the process to plate actual metal on plastic has been around for well over half a century. MTH has done that on a few of their streamliners. Not to mention metalized paints.

Pete

Just echoing what has been stated. I prefer aluminum for streamliners, especially this K-Line Milwaukee Road Skytop Lounge car. Plastic Heavyweights are fine.

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Jim R. 

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Jim R. posted:

Just echoing what has been stated. I prefer aluminum for streamliners, especially this K-Line Milwaukee Road Skytop Lounge car. Plastic Heavyweights are fine.

2E86350B-2975-4508-BFEF-C0430C46007A

K-LINE made some BEAUTIFUL Passenger Cars. I'm sure all of us miss them. I have a full set of their 21" AMTRAK SurfLiner Cars.  I think were the best ones they ever made (in Plastic)!  I wouldn't part with them for the any price.!!!!

Fred

Last edited by Fredstrains

I have both plastic and metal passenger cars. I don't do "passenger" very much, so my selection is modest. Plastic is wonderful stuff, but metal? Yeah. Wins every time. Cool to the touch. More mechanical.

Strictly a personal idiosyncratic thing, really.

You know, though - if we really want someone to offer a real set of "Heavyweights", we need to demand die-casting those babies. Zowie. May need to lay on more motive power.

Jim R. posted:

Just echoing what has been stated. I prefer aluminum for streamliners, especially this K-Line Milwaukee Road Skytop Lounge car. Plastic Heavyweights are fine.

2E86350B-2975-4508-BFEF-C0430C46007A

I have that set at the club and it really gets some nice comments at Trainstock or when other clubs come over.

I'm not a rivet counter guy. When we talk prototypical, I WASN'T AROUND TO SEE THESE THINGS WHEN THEY RAN, so being prototypical is less important to me than "do I like it". And I like these puppies. I also like the K-Line black Santa Fe aluminum cars that I have. I don't think Santa Fe ever ran them. And I like my pink GG1, which I'm pretty sure the PRR never ran.

It's a short life. Get what you like and don't dis the other guy.

Gerry

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I have the MTH RK Daylight cars.  Plastic.  Because of the livery I have no issues in looks.

But for ATSF and SP Sunset and SSS, metal would look better.

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

I have the 5 postwar Lionel Lines 2500 aluminum streamliners (baggage, 2 pullman, vista dome, and observation) plus the modern era combine, diner, full vista and duplex roomette that I have added Lionel Lines plates to. All with silhouettes. Running a 6464 boxcar of a matching roadname with the ABA F3 engines and a milk car or horse car or merchandise car makes for one prototypicaly long train and a dream come true for this baby boomer. Plastic just doesn't do the same for me.

Well, unless it's the 2400 027 cars and the 2600 Madison cars. 

Postwar rules!

 

"You have to grow old. You don't have to grow up". Ray Bradbury

Plastic vs Aluminum ?

If it were just that simple.  IMHO the perfect passenger car would contain the following:

Plastic body by Atlas - CZ cars are the absolute BEST for exterior and undercarriage detail.  In  addition, the light package is excellent.

Interior, I would have to give GGD the "Best in Show" - the inside appointments are multi-colored and arm rest on the seating is matched by nobody.

People - From what I have seen MTH wins in this category but I haven't seen any recent Lionel.

The above works for me, your milage may vary. 

 

 

As always... Counting the days till Christmas.



As long as they look good it makes no difference to me.

Wild Mary (AKA Nick) Retired & "Riding The Wild Mary"

 

 

Forum Member Since 24 Sept. 2004

 

I just want the couplers to work and the lights stay on. Engineered to be the best  I  would like to see remote control of individual cars lights on/lights off, maybe even by section in a particular car. Wishful thinking I suppose.

           OPKKS RR

The Transcontinental RR 

     "Tryin ta git it rite"

part of the D Reg U Latd Co

SantaFeJim posted:

Plastic vs Aluminum ?

If it were just that simple.  IMHO the perfect passenger car would contain the following:

Plastic body by Atlas - CZ cars are the absolute BEST for exterior and undercarriage detail.  In  addition, the light package is excellent.

Interior, I would have to give GGD the "Best in Show" - the inside appointments are multi-colored and arm rest on the seating is matched by nobody.

People - From what I have seen MTH wins in this category but I haven't seen any recent Lionel.

The above works for me, your milage may vary. 

 

 

That sounds perfect to me. 

Well all the passenger cars I have are aluminum. So those win on my layout. 

20180310_140945

Santa Fe, All the Way

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