Everything on model trains, model railroads, model railways, locomotives, model train layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC and more. Enjoy the world's best hobby... model railroading!

How The Car Types and Brands Compare

Steve is starting off with HO and writes:

“”How do you rate the car types and brands in terms of detailing and reliability? Which brands or models stand out, and which brands should I avoid? US 1960s and 1970s era interests me. I will be avoiding plastic wheels and knuckle couplers based on what I’ve read.”

Readers are welcome to contribute thoughts below.

4 Responses to How The Car Types and Brands Compare

  • Hervey Howe says:

    Price is a pretty good indication of potential quality. I say potential because unless they are RTR (ready to run) then the care put into building the model will ultimately determine the model quality. That being said if you are willing to spend some time you can take a cheap shake the box (think Athearn Blue Box) into a beautiful fine running model. If you are planning to weather your cars to reflect the real world then I suggest you start with a couple of very inexpensive (Athearn Blue Box or Accurail) and learn on those how to weather lightly.
    The other thing to bear in mind is the weight of the finished car. Use NMRA RP 20.1 as a starting point. Also length of the car in relation to the curves on your railroad. Long cars (>50′) on sharp curves (24″ or sharper in HO) apart from looking funny with the overhang are likely to cause derailment problems.
    Using metal wheels and Kadee couplers is a good start. Better yet is to use the same wheels (metal) and truck manufacturers on all your rolling stock and make sure they are free rolling. To ensure a wheel is free rolling I turn it by flicking it with my finger then to be free rolling it has to continue to turn for at least 10 seconds. Also verify gauge of every wheel set you put on your layout. A beautiful model with Kadee couplers and free wheeling wheel sets will cause you nothing but problems if the wheels are out of gauge. Buy a NMRA Standards Gage and keep it handy.

  • Gerald R Hyink says:

    You want knuckle couplers not hook and horn.

  • Steve Low says:

    yes I will have a go weathering them and opt for knuckle couplers as you suggest. Thx.

  • Frank B says:

    Knuckle couplers are based on the design of the real thing, and are therefore more realistic. Kadee are well recommended. Metal couplers are stronger than plastic and will not deform. 
    Vist model railroad shows and see for yourself what makes and types you like the look of. 
    Join a model railroad club and get enormous personal help, advice and support. 
    Google online reviews and watch Youtube videos on various manufacturer’s models.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a photo or image related to your comment (JPEG only)

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video

Download Your Free Catalog

Model Train DCC HELP


Model Train Help Ebook


FREE Tour Inside Club

Take a FREE tour inside the club.

Scenery Techniques Explained

Scenery & Layout Ideas

Model Railroading Blog Archive

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.